NBC's Law and Order veered from its usual woke direction last night with an episode in which a leftist is terrified of the cancel culture mob after privately uttering an anti-gay word. The episode also shows a defense attorney manipulating race issues to try and save his client.
In the episode, "12 Seconds," on Thursday, a student at a prominent fictional law school is found dead.
A black law professor named Ezra Nichols (Charles Parnell) becomes a prime suspect for the murder after the NYPD discovers evidence that the professor was being blackmailed by the victim.
Professor Nichols had whispered a derogatory slur about a gay man during a private conversation with his wife, Michele (Hilary Ward).
After an openly homosexual man was chosen over Nichols to be a Supreme Court Justice, Nichols told his wife, "I guess even I'm not diverse enough to be on the Supreme Court these days. Not enough to be black, gotta be a f-----."
The law student, James Pell, caught the slur on tape.
Nichols is a celebrated liberal lawyer who had "argued against the voter suppression laws in Arizona" in front of the Supreme Court. Of course, most Americans recognize those are voter integrity laws, not suppression ones, but moving on.
Evidence leads to Michele Nichols as the likely killer. At his wife's trial, Ezra Nichols explains why he caved to the student's blackmailing.
Nichols: Because I'm ashamed of what I said, deeply. It's not who I am. If I'd heard another man say that, I'd be the first person to speak up, denounce his homophobia. So I was terrified. I knew the significance of the tape and the greed and ambition of the man in possession of it.
Defense Attorney: Can you elaborate on that? Tell us why you were so terrified?
Nichols: Because we live in a society where people-- the press--want to crucify public figures for making a mistake. There are no second chances. One bad moment, one wrong word, and your career is over, no matter who you are or what you've accomplished. It's become a sport, a game. Who can we cancel next? So I gave James Pell everything he asked for to protect myself and my family.
Admitting that cancel culture has gone too far in destroying lives and that celebrated liberals may harbor biases or say things they regret is a surprise on a show like Law and Order.
More surprising is a scene in which Nichols' defense engages in a failed attempt at race-baiting against Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan), one of the detectives who investigated Pell's murder.
Defense Attorney: How many years have you been with the New York City Police Department, Detective?
Defense Attorney: And in those years, how many times have you been called as a witness in a criminal case?
Cosgrove: I--I wouldn't know the exact number.
Defense Attorney: Public records show that you were called to testify in 208 cases.
Cosgrove: Really? That many?
Defense Attorney: In how many of those cases was the defendant African-American?
ADA Price: Objection, relevance.
Defense Attorney: It goes to bias.
Judge: Overruled, but be careful, Mr. Seaver. [Suspenseful music]
Cosgrove: I don't keep track.
Defense Attorney: Maybe you should-- over half, and 85% of those cases resulted in convictions. That is well above the statistical average. Did you know that?
Cosgrove: Like I said, I don't know the exact numbers.
Defense Attorney: You should. It's in the public record. It seems whenever a person of color is on trial, you always seem to bring in some extra evidence to the equation.
Cosgrove: Are you trying to say I make things up? Because that's not how it works.
Defense Attorney: Quite the contrary-- it's simple math. And it adds up to you having a racially-motivated axe to grind. There's no other way to explain it.
Cosgrove: I'm pretty sure there is, but I'm not a sociologist. I'm a homicide detective. I follow the evidence, and I arrest bad guys regardless of their race. That's what I do. And in this case, the evidence points at Michelle Nichols.
Defense Attorney: A black woman.
Cosgrove: No. A murderer.
Defense Attorney: Says the man who only arrests black people.
ADA Price: Objection. The defense is out of line.
Defense Attorney: No further questions.
A year or two ago, this court scene would have been scripted very differently, with Cosgrove confessing to being insufficiently "anti-racist" and begging forgiveness from the defense.
On Law and Order, Detective Cosgrove is a decent and straight-shooting officer who has a positive working relationship with his black partner. The defense's attacks against him come across as manipulative and desperate.
In the end, it's discovered that the Nichols' teenaged son killed Pell to protect his parents and the parents were covering up for him, but Cosgrove and his partner did solid work.
As violent crime has exploded across the country, television's anti-cop hysteria - like the money BLM ran off with - has mostly run its course.
Hating on white men in general is still du jour on television, but cops of all colors are good again on crime shows.
The fact that a reliably left-wing show like Law and Order portrayed a false accusation of racism against an honest police officer is a sign that the democratic-fueled BLM psy-ops has burned itself out. Even Hollywood writers are no longer playing along.
Whether Law and Order again offers fresh story angles like this one in the future or returns to its predictable left-wing pablum is yet to be determined.