The tide is turning in America on issues of crime and policing and Hollywood has gotten the memo. NBC's Law & Order premiered another episode rejecting anti-police and soft-on-crime attitudes.
In Thursday's episode, "Vicious Cycle," a prominent fashion designer is found dead on the night he opened a new New York boutique. Evidence soon leads NYPD to a robber who's part of a larger larceny operation.
The robber has a 15-page rap sheet, but has remained on the streets without consequences. Throughout the episode, small business owners tell NYPD Detectives Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks) and Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) that rampant thievery is destroying their livelihoods.
Store Owner: People just steal stuff, and we're supposed to just stand there and do nothing, pretend they're actually not committing a crime.
Detective Shaw: That must have been really frustrating.
Store Owner: Yeah, it's a joke, and you people just sit back and watch.
Detective Cosgrove: Uh, no, we make the arrests. And then, the judges, politicians, and DAs, they don't want to incarcerate anyone anymore.
Another business owner tells the cops that customers are afraid to come in because robbery has gotten so bad.
During their hunt for the killer thief, police arrest a black man who runs a warehouse that traffics in low-end stolen merchandise. His attorney tries to play the race card in a conversation with Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi) and police lieutenant Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim), but he's quickly shot down:
Maroun: Criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree. Maximum sentence: 15 years.
Attorney: You can rattle those sabers all you want, but it ain't gonna happen. Now, kindly let the man go.
Dixon: Yeah, that ain't gonna happen either.
Attorney: See, that right there is the attitude that the people are rebelling against-- white cops punishing Black men... -
Dixon: Okay, okay.
Attorney: For nothing.
Dixon: Get the hell out of my precinct, or I'll arrest your ass, too.
Last week's episode of Law & Order also included a scene in which attempts at using the race card against police come across as desperate.
"Vicious Cycle" also captures the farcical nature of a city where a good portion of crimes are no longer prosecuted. In one scene, police have to explain to a robber named Gwynn (Garrett Richmond) that stealing is still technically illegal:
Gwynn: 'Cause I ain't doing anything illegal.
Detective Cosgrove: Oh, I hate to break it to you, pal, but stealing, it's still illegal. Even though there is no bail doesn't mean it's not a crime.
Gwynn: I don't know about all that, but I do know I can walk into any store I want, fill my bags up with whatever I want, and every employee in the damn place will just look the other way. Last month, the manager opened the door for me 'cause my hands was too full from all the stuff I was taking. [Laughs] It's a true story.
Gwynn is genuinely surprised when he is arrested:
Gwynn: Can I go?
Cosgrove: No. We're arresting you for larceny and unlawful fleeing from a police officer. But don't worry, you'll be out on bail real soon. That guy, Gwynn, literally thinks stealing is legal now. Was surprised we actually arrested him.
Shaw: Yeah, I mean, criminals pay attention to society. They act accordingly, they adjust their business plans.
Cosgrove: Yeah, and right now, it's a good time to be a thief, which is a problem, because people aren't gonna stand for that forever. They're gonna fight back, and that's-- that's a real problem for us.
Shaw: I mean, I suppose so, but...
Cosgrove: Don't tell me it's more complicated.
Shaw: It's more complicated.
Cosgrove: Yeah, I think I've heard that before.
Shaw: 'Cause it is!
It's not that complicated, but even Shaw admits to Cosgrove in a later scene that the bail reform crowd "overcorrected."
The episode touches upon the reality that immigrants and minorities, groups the left claims to care about, are being hit by New York's crime surge.
Looking through old case files, detectives discover that an African immigrant was previously robbed at gun point by the killer, but the case was never prosecuted due to translation issues and indifference by Maroun. The failure to prosecute enabled the criminal to escalate and eventually kill.
Seeing the reality of left-wing policies accurately portrayed on screen is quite the television turnaround. Prior to 2022, the only cop show with the courage to consistently refute the BLM narrative was CBS' Blue Bloods.
I am glad television writers are changing their tune, but will there ever be any apologies from Hollywood for how they contributed to BLM propaganda in the first place? Network television spent a year or more relentlessly creating vicious caricatures about police officers and helping to fuel the propaganda that led to the breakdown of law and order.
As television shows move into a new pro-law enforcement era, are audiences just supposed to forget what the networks previously did?