Warning: This post contains spoilers!
I watched "Law and Order" last night. Now, I'm a semi-regular "Law and Order" viewer because Wednesday's usually a bad night for sports on TV, so I'm familiar with the show. But last night I especially wanted to see it because the case they "ripped from the headlines" was "The Brawl". You remember "The Brawl," right? The one where some fan threw a beer at Ron Artest and he went crazy (though in Artest's case it could be "went normal") and went after the wrong guy in the stands? The one where all hell broke loose? Yeah, that was the basis for last night's episode
Here's how the episode went: (highlight it if you want to find out)
Story opens with two residents of an apartment shoot the breeze in an apartment's laundry facilities. One of them discovers the victim's laundry still in the dryer, so he takes it up to his apartment, where he discovers the victim. Cops show up, Detective Green assesses the situation, Detective Fontana cracks wise.
Apparenly Dennis Farina(Fontana) is getting all of Jerry Orbach's lines this week. Usually it's Jesse Martin(Green)
Anyway, The Victim is named Ira, he's a lawyer, a know-it-all hoops junkie (apparently the only one without a blog in the year 2005), and not very social around the office.
After talking to other residents, Fontana and Green discover that his Ira's landlord was trying to get rid of Ira to clear his apartment for reasons only New Yorkers would understand. They bring in the landlord, who mentions Ira has a pending lawsuit against him. They go down to the court, find out that Ira is not only suing his landlord, but also the "New York Empires", the "Philadelphia Cannons" and a player for a phantom injury he suffered in a big fan-player brawl at MSG.
The Cannons? That's the best you can do for a Philadelphia team with all the history in that city? I understand "Empires"; New York is the "Empire State", but the "Cannons"?
So Fonana and Green talk to the Empires' owner. No comment. They find some of the other season ticket holders. Season ticket holder says that Ira and The Player have a history, much like Spike Lee and Reggie Miller, except Miller only killed Spike in a figurative sense with all those clutch shots. The Player, rather than react the way Reggie Miller did, let him know who was #1 (i.e. he flipped him off) and got suspended. So now Ira always gets on him whenever The Player comes to New York. Season ticket holder also says that Ira went to a sports bar after the game. The Player was also promoting a video game at the same bar.
F & G go to the bar, find out Ira ran smack on The Player, The Player's Posse, The Player's Kid, and The Player's Baby Mama before The Player's Agent, a huge dude who used to be a player, asked him to leave. So they go to Philly and confront The Player and The Player's Agent. Both are about as cooperative as you might expect from a pro basketball player. The Player does offer that he went to visit his old college coach in New York City before flying.
Now, there's a Catholic university in New York called St. Johns, which is in Queens, whose colors are red and white, which has a big time Big East hoops program, and which has recently come under fire for its basketball players generally behaving in illegal and immoral ways.
In the episode, The Player went to a Catholic university called "St. James" which is located in Queens, whose colors are red and white, and from the description, has a big time basketball program in a major conference. Oh, by the way, while The Player was in college, he got arrested for a bar fight.
If I'm the real life St. John's University, I'm calling my lawyer.
Anyway, because some St. John's ...errrrrr... St. James boosters paid for decent legal counsel, the charges were dropped. So nothing they get can be used legally. The cops get The Player's prints anyway, which are still on file in the computer, and match them to the crime scene, then arrest The Player, but they can't use the prints they got from the system, so the charges were dismissed. For the moment.
McCoy and the new Assistant D.A., who looks like a cross between Angie Harmon and Jill Hennessey, dig a little deeper, get more evidence and charge him again. They go to trial where it is revealed that The Player was a discipline problem who once choked out his coach, that The Player got threatening phone calls from Ira (who had once taken a train to Philly and confronted The Player at his house), and that The Player got upset when Ira ran smack at The Player's Kid at the sports bar. The defense lawyer tries to argue self-defense and it doesn't work. The Player gets Murder One and his jersey flies off the rack. End Spoiler.
Did it seem to anyone else that they were trying to indict the whole NBA in this one episode? (Not that I mind, I think the NBA is populated by overpaid thugs anyway.) In addition to The Brawl they threw in elements of the Kobe Bryant case and Latrell Sprewell choking incident. I'm surprised that they didn't have basketball players physically abusing girlfriends. They showed everything that was wrong with the NBA except for the clear-outs and generally bad, selfish basketball.
Also, Law and Order really misses the late Jerry Orbach. It's clearly jumped the shark since he left. Dennis Farina's OK at times, but Orbach made you feel that Lennie Briscoe was a veteran cop who had seen just about everything and was trying to cope. Farina's Detective Fontana seems like a charmer, which would be better suited for a lawyer than a cop.
Legendary Non-Sports Venue Closing
CBGB's, a New York night spot that is famous for launching punk music in general and legendary rock acts like Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Ramones, and The Police in particular, is suffering from the effects of the gentrification of some areas of Manhattan. The club, located in the Bowery, has seen it's rent skyrocket to $40K a month. It may be forced to relocate.
Can't we make this a national historic place or something so it doesn't have to move?
(Note: If you live in NYC, know what's causing this and can elaborate, please leave a comment.)
More Lockout Fallout.
Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw thinks that all-star Mike Modano may leave Dallas once the lockout ends
Meanwhile the AHL has made changes to increase scoring this year. The NHL is taking notice.
On a personal note, even if you are upset at the NHL, please continue to support your local minor league, college hockey team, or youth hockey league. Hockey is still a good sport, and one of the most exciting sports to watch. It's just run by stupid people at the top level.
Go Austin Ice Bats!
Tomorrow: Four to Watch