Law & Order
Boy on Fire
Original Air Date: Mar 1, 2010
Brittany Frederick – Staff Writer
Oh my God it’s a new episode of Law & Order! Finally. At a time when most shows are full steam ahead or have finished their summer runs, ours finally rears its head again and not a moment too soon. It’s a great way to come down off my 24 high without going braindead.
The general plot seems simple enough: the Official Dead Body is a teenage boy found dead in a parking lot. Except the simple always leads to complicated on this show. Expect it.
Everything seems a little off: the kid seems to be fine and well-adjusted, his parents don’t know of any trouble he’s in, and nobody knows who would do this, yet he’s been found dead somewhere he shouldn’t have been. Oh, and Lupo finally shaved. For that matter, so did Bernard. The trail leads to the principal of a public school who is so not thrilled that so much attention is being paid to a private school kid. She does lead them to a witness whose boyfriend allegedly had words with the victim, but the witness says she has no idea what the guy was on because he wasn’t really her boyfriend. You have to love teenage romance.
The fake boyfriend is allegedly sick, but he’s heard way too much about the murder, like the fact that it’s on video. The cops have no choice but to confiscate every single cell phone to look for it, which goes over so well with the 14-18 year old set. However, the video does turn up and it’s pretty graphic. Including the fact that the victim was lit on fire. More research finds out that the dead guy and the witness did know each other pretty well, at least they were on campus together on the same nights and he died not too far from her house. But things get more complicated when the principal’s pet has the dead guy’s cell phone. So really, it could be anyone on this entire campus. Talk about rivalry. Lupo and Bernard begin to suspect some serious administrative evil, and it only gets worse when they find out their witness has been raped.
Jack is not impressed by all this. Connie is not impressed by the idea that they have to cast their witness as an accomplice to get the leverage they need on the guys that raped her and killed the dead guy. Mike is just playing with his baseball. He and Connie do some legwork of their own, to find out that Moses’ brother’s alibi doesn’t hold up – his failing grade mysteriously and inexplicably changed to passing under the guidance of his principal. Connie does more digging to find out the principal’s been fixing grades, including for the murder suspects. Mike has her arrested for grand larceny. Jack is not impressed by Mike. (I have a feeling Jack is not impressed by Mike a lot.) As Connie says, “It doesn’t even make sense anymore.”
As she points out, the principal didn’t know the same kids were suspects in the rape, but may have accidentally tipped them off when she heard it from the cops and told them about the witness, and is now trying to cover her own ass again. Mike convenes a grand jury to try and compel information out of her (and starts doing a very Tim Cowlishaw thing with his hand while doing it). He smooth-talks her into shooting her mouth off again. Big Dramatic Music Swell rears its head as she goes into her spiel about how sad their world is. She runs into the rape victim in the hallway, and is not impressed by Mike either.
Unsurprisingly, this moment makes the rape victim crumble in her resolve and she claims that she saw nothing and knows nothing. The dramatic reversals in Law & Order used to have effect, but I fear now they’re becoming rote: there’s always some last moment that gets the bad guys off the hook and leaves the episode on a down note. It’s becoming pretty predictable.
However, we still have five minutes to play with and Connie and Mike go to prod the principal into busting the one kid that they can actually nail for the murder. They bring her to witness the kid’s interrogation at the hands of Lupo and Bernard. Mike teases her that the kid is worth sacrificing, that she can take the reward money and give it to the kid’s brother to make his life better. In other words, forcing her to play her own game. And because she’s just that obsessed with these kids having their perfect future, she does it, getting the kid to tell his brother his confession, so his brother gets the money and he goes down.
Jack is still unimpressed with everyone.