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Is 'Trophy' The Perfect Episode Of Law & Order?

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Naturally, there are certain episodes I hold most dear. Like "Mad Dog," where McCoy hounds a supposedly penitent creep played by Burt Young until he reveals himself as an unreformed rapist-murderer. Or "Thrill," where two punk teenagers shoot a delivery man just to see how it feels, then get forgiven in court by their victim's mother.


It's kind of amazing that you chose to spotlight these two as favorites. Coincidentally, these are the two episodes that I will always skip when they come up in reruns, which happened just recently. I don't know if I can quite put my finger on why they bother me so much, but if I see either episode description come up, I keep on moving.  (I do love "Trophy", though.) Edited by pbutler111
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"Trophy" is definitely up there as far as favorite "Law & Order" episodes.

I was also reminded about a semi-similar episode involving Van Buren where it turned out that her friend and fingerprint expert (played by Diana Scarwid) had been fudging fingerprint results and basically playing God and VB was gutted because it was her testimony that helped her close her first major case and get promoted.

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"Sanctuary" is always my go-to episode. Despite the fact that he was going crazy, Moriarty's performance remained terrific through the end.

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"Trophy" is definitely up there as far as favorite "Law & Order" episodes.

I was also reminded about a semi-similar episode involving Van Buren where it turned out that her friend and fingerprint expert (played by Diana Scarwid) had been fudging fingerprint results and basically playing God and VB was gutted because it was her testimony that helped her close her first major case and get promoted.

This ep is titled The Myth of Fingerprints.

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I was never quite sure if Claire and Jack were Doin' It or if that was just Diana being a Mean Girl, but I don't object either way. And it works with Claire's performance no matter which is true--she's either getting a glimpse of where her affair is leading, or where it could lead if she has one. We know she's got a thing for her authority figures--that ep where it's revealed she slept with a judge she clerked for--and so it makes sense that she'd be down for it with Jack (besides, you know, hello); but I had the feeling that after this episode she either broke off the actual relationship or smothered any thoughts she had about going ahead with one.

My very favorite part is when she's cross-examining Diana, who's all smooth and bebunned and dark-lipsticked and superior, and Diana says that her actions got Jack his promotion. You can see the bulb go on in Claire's head, and she smooth as silk turns to her and asks "Was that on your mind?"

It was all over from there. Claire is brilliant in how she points out, without using the actual words, that Diana lied to assist her man. "And like all good gifts--it was a surprise."

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I was never quite sure if Claire and Jack were Doin' It or if that was just Diana being a Mean Girl, but I don't object either way.

 

I feel like Jack's reaction to her death was well beyond what it should be if they were just colleagues/friends.  I mean, if I remember the episode where they try to convict the drunk driver correctly, Jack is basically willing to get himself disbarred and engages in some pretty shady behavior in an effort to convict the guy.  It gets to the point where Jamie makes a comment to the extent that he can't make the case all about Claire.   

Edited by txhorns79
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"Trophy" as a touchstone for the faithful? Absolutely. But I would argue not the best place to start for new converts. The Bombshell works so well because we've been conditioned that L&O rarely dips into its main characters' personal lives and because we've been watching Claire and Jack's dynamic for so long (and if you're like me, flip flopping between "are they?" and "no way"), so it really packs a punch. I wouldn't want to spoil that for any newbies.

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I was never quite sure if Claire and Jack were Doin' It or if that was just Diana being a Mean Girl, but I don't object either way.  

I feel like Jack's reaction to her death was well beyond what it should be if they were just colleagues/friends.  I mean, if I remember the episode where they try to convict the drunk driver correctly, Jack is basically willing to get himself disbarred and engages in some pretty shady behavior in an effort to convict the guy.  It gets to the point where Jamie makes a comment to the extent that he can't make the case all about Claire.

Plus, Jack & Claire's relationship was explicitly confirmed a few years later in the final Homicide crossover ("Sideshow"), when Evil Not Ken Starr was questioning McCoy.

Edited by alynch

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It was mentioned a couple of times that Jack sleeps with almost all his assistants. I always thought that Serena's infamous departing non sequitur was meant to imply that he'd slept with all of them previous to her.

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It was mentioned a couple of times that Jack sleeps with almost all his assistants. I always thought that Serena's infamous departing non sequitur was meant to imply that he'd slept with all of them previous to her.

After Claire he swore off sleeping with his assistants. He never slept with Abby or Jamie before Serena. I thought the Serena comment had something to do with how conservative Arthur Branch was supposed to be. 

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It's a great episode. When Simon Brooks says "I killed them.....all of them....." in such a "what's wrong with you people?" tone, it's pretty amazing.

Also, "You didn't have to take the deal, Claire. You could have won the case."

"I know. But I thought that's what you wanted."

And her hair is PERFECT.

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This really is a great episode. One of my favourites too. As much as Abbie Carmichael was my favourite ADA, a lot of the best episodes (IMO) were during the Jack/Claire years.

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Also, "You didn't have to take the deal, Claire. You could have won the case."

"I know. But I thought that's what you wanted."

That scene encapsulates why this episode always bugged me, I mean, obviously I watch it when it comes up in the rotation, but the Diana Hawthorne stuff was such a misfire. We're supposed to be entirely on Jack's side even though the show makes him look pretty incompetent. The show can't have Jack even suspect that Diana is lying, so he has to be completely oblivious, which, honestly makes him look kind of stupid. And takes away from that whole rakish bad boy thing they tried to sell so very hard. And it makes you wonder about Jack that he would have a serious relationship with a woman so obviously nuts. And then how the show tries to have it both ways where we're supposed to believe Diana is a formidable attorney but also a bunny boiler who puts an innocent man in jail so a boy will like her.

 

It was so fanfic-y. The point is Claire would never do something like that for Jack because she isn't a dewy-eyed cheerleader like Diana, she's strong and tough. And the audience ALREADY thinks Claire is able to hold her own with McCoy, We don't need such an absurd setup to prove it. Not to mention how sexist it is to act like Claire is anything special, and therefore worth of McCoy, because she didn't behave like Diana.

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Yeah, I really like this episode, but I never liked that final exchange. It was basically the show's way of saying "Wow, what a crazy chick AMIRITE? No need to think about Jack's possible complicity or any other issues raised in this episode. Later!" Granted, ending on an overly pithy one-liner is kind of the show's thing, but that one just didn't sit well.

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I don't think we are supposed to be entirely on Jack's side. I think he's supposed to be seen as arrogant and overly confident. And that he behaves without thinking of consequences. None of which is new information.

And I don't think it's implausible to think he would trust Diana to prep the witnesses, mostly because she's supposed to be a great attorney, not because they are involved. Adam Schiff says as much. "These were my best people." etc

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I liked Trophy.  I always liked how Jack and Claire played in the background.  (And I loved hearing about the little things that Sam W and Jill H would throw in even if the camera didn't always catch them...like a butt slap or a leg rub.) I didn't need them in the foreground.  In fact, this is why I find L&O Original Recipe so rewatchable but SVU like nails on chalkboard.  Every case is always so personal on that show.  Still, it was nice to get semi-confirmation before it went back into the background.

 

Still, I'm not sure if I'd choose it as my fave. 

 

I miss this show.

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I feel like Jack's reaction to her death was well beyond what it should be if they were just colleagues/friends.  I mean, if I remember the episode where they try to convict the drunk driver correctly, Jack is basically willing to get himself disbarred and engages in some pretty shady behavior in an effort to convict the guy.  It gets to the point where Jamie makes a comment to the extent that he can't make the case all about Claire.   

 

I also thought that Jack and Claire were an item, which is why he was so insistent about convicting that drunk driver. Then again, wasn't Claire the one who told Jack that he already had a tendency to cut corners in order to win a case? Or was that Jamie? I tried looking up the quote and couldn't find it, but there was an episode where there was an inquiry as to McCoy's way of doing business, and one of the ladies said something to the effect that they couldn't say entirely honestly that Jack didn't occasionally withhold exculpatory evidence when he was trying a case.

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I also thought that Jack and Claire were an item, which is why he was so insistent about convicting that drunk driver. Then again, wasn't Claire the one who told Jack that he already had a tendency to cut corners in order to win a case? Or was that Jamie? I tried looking up the quote and couldn't find it, but there was an episode where there was an inquiry as to McCoy's way of doing business, and one of the ladies said something to the effect that they couldn't say entirely honestly that Jack didn't occasionally withhold exculpatory evidence when he was trying a case.

 

 

That was Jamie who told Jack that he had a tendency to cut corners; that people do it all the time.  He scoffed at her and then she had a line about the person who worked on his motorcycle, that maybe he might have cut corners, right as he got on it. Which shut him up and the episode ended. I'm blanking on the episode, but it was in the seventh season.

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I also thought that Jack and Claire were an item, which is why he was so insistent about convicting that drunk driver. Then again, wasn't Claire the one who told Jack that he already had a tendency to cut corners in order to win a case? Or was that Jamie? I tried looking up the quote and couldn't find it, but there was an episode where there was an inquiry as to McCoy's way of doing business, and one of the ladies said something to the effect that they couldn't say entirely honestly that Jack didn't occasionally withhold exculpatory evidence when he was trying a case.

Yes, Jack and Claire were an item. It was explicitly confirmed in the Homicide crossover when that Ken Starr (God I'm old) knockoff asked Jack directly. And yes, it was heavily implied, but not stated outright, that the reason Jack was trying so hard to convict the drunk driver in "Under the Influence" was revenge for Claire. 

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"Sanctuary" is always my go-to episode. Despite the fact that he was going crazy, Moriarty's performance remained terrific through the end.

Couldn't agree more - not only is MM frigging fantastic, but that episode is the sort of explosive, divisive issue that the show didn't shy away from and would examine in-depth and from all sides.  That's what made it so great in my opinion, and I think nowadays in particular it would stand out to a first-time viewer.  When I saw some of those early episodes for the first time I just thought, "I can't believe that aired on network television."  Abortion, race, religion, homosexuality - this show didn't back down from anything.

 

Sure, Trophy has some great acting and some neat guest stars, but at its foundation mostly it's this person slept with that person, conflict between this lover and that one...the same thing you see everywhere, and Law and Order for me was always (well, mostly) above that sort of thing.  We all have our own personal lives, I don't need to see Jack McCoy's.  Show me something outside the realm of my own experience - homicide investigation, legal proceedings, people grappling with life-or-death issues and struggling with their ethics and morals.  There is the ethical quandry at the heart of Trophy, but I mostly feel like they just wanted to use the Jack's Two Lovers angle.

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He scoffed at her and then she had a line about the person who worked on his motorcycle, that maybe he might have cut corners, right as he got on it. Which shut him up and the episode ended. I'm blanking on the episode, but it was in the seventh season.

 

Episode 6 - Double Blind,  a schizophrenic student murders a janitor. However, the actual villain of the story  is a doctor who is conducting a medical research study.

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Episode 6 - Double Blind,  a schizophrenic student murders a janitor. However, the actual villain of the story  is a doctor who is conducting a medical research study.

 

Thank you, dustylil! That is, by far, one of my favorite episodes!  

 

Someone explain to me again why Trophy was chosen as the perfect episode? Because we learned that Jack got promoted to EDA from this case, and it was based on his underling/lover covering exculpatory evidence? To show that he didn't deserve it? And I did some major eye rolling when Adam referred to Diane and Jack as "two of his best" because, no ADAM, Ben should have been referenced, as he was with the DA's office back then.

 

Or was it to sort of "tell" the viewers who didn't know that Jack and Claire, were indeed an item? 

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I think that's it. People like it because it was the only one that was about Jack and Claire's relationship, and people shipped them. 

 

That's probably why I don't like it much. I prefer the dynamic where they're friends and colleagues rather than lovers. The "Jack is a sexy stud all the girls want" annoyed me when the show laid it on too thick. "Ooohhh, he rides a motorcycle! He might have a drinking problem! Don't you want Claire to save him?" That's probably why my favourite Jack/ADA relationship was him and Jamie, They were presented more as equals. Second would be Connie, where they finally acknowledged the age difference and let him simply be a smart older man whose experience she could learn from. Like Schiff was, in the earlier episodes. 

 

I just don't (a) care about the relationship (I would have been fine if it had stayed subtext) and (b) don't like what this episode says about the gender dynamics. The normal state of women, even if they're intelligent, beautiful, and good at their jobs, is to be a crazy bunny boiler chasing after a man. The man has no idea this is happening and is powerless to do anything about it (yet somehow, this doesn't make the man stupid). Then the good girl comes along. She's just as good as her job. In fact, she's just like a man herself! You can tell because she doesn't chase after the boy but treats him like a buddy. This is SUCH a rare quality in a woman, that it marks her as worthy. 

 

The one time they actually show the Jack/Claire romantic relationship and this is what they show. Claire is worthy of the wonderful prize that is Jack McCoy, because she's sassy and tough and not a crazy bitch. You know, like most women. 

 

For what it's worth, "Trophy" wasn't the only time the show did a "Main character got promoted to their present position on the strength of winning one case, which turns out to have been tainted because other people be crazy and it's totally, totally, not the fault of said main character." "Myth of Fingerprints" in season 12 did the same with Van Buren. And season 2's "Silence" did a similar thing when we learn that one of Schiff's many, many old friends who are evil and corrupt first sponsored Schiff to be DA - and now it turns out he's railroading the DA's office and covered up a murder. (I didn't have to look any of that up. I might have a problem).  

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For me, "Trophy" is one of the worst episodes because what I watched L&O for is the police work and the legal maneuvering, not the personal relationships. I could have gotten through the entire series without any more detailed information about any of the characters than an occasional comment that was relevant to the case of the week. I definitely didn't care who was sleeping with whom and resented having to think about it to process the episode.

 

At least it isn't "Aftershock," my least favorite of them all. At the time it appeared to be opening the door to making the next season more about the characters than before. Anticipating that change -- which thankfully didn't happen -- I was less interested in the show for a couple of seasons from that point on.

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I think that's it. People like it because it was the only one that was about Jack and Claire's relationship, and people shipped them. 

 

That's probably why I don't like it much. I prefer the dynamic where they're friends and colleagues rather than lovers. The "Jack is a sexy stud all the girls want" annoyed me when the show laid it on too thick. "Ooohhh, he rides a motorcycle! He might have a drinking problem! Don't you want Claire to save him?" That's probably why my favourite Jack/ADA relationship was him and Jamie, They were presented more as equals. Second would be Connie, where they finally acknowledged the age difference and let him simply be a smart older man whose experience she could learn from. Like Schiff was, in the earlier episodes. 

 

I just don't (a) care about the relationship (I would have been fine if it had stayed subtext) and (b) don't like what this episode says about the gender dynamics. The normal state of women, even if they're intelligent, beautiful, and good at their jobs, is to be a crazy bunny boiler chasing after a man. The man has no idea this is happening and is powerless to do anything about it (yet somehow, this doesn't make the man stupid). Then the good girl comes along. She's just as good as her job. In fact, she's just like a man herself! You can tell because she doesn't chase after the boy but treats him like a buddy. This is SUCH a rare quality in a woman, that it marks her as worthy. 

 

The one time they actually show the Jack/Claire romantic relationship and this is what they show. Claire is worthy of the wonderful prize that is Jack McCoy, because she's sassy and tough and not a crazy bitch. You know, like most women. 

 

For what it's worth, "Trophy" wasn't the only time the show did a "Main character got promoted to their present position on the strength of winning one case, which turns out to have been tainted because other people be crazy and it's totally, totally, not the fault of said main character." "Myth of Fingerprints" in season 12 did the same with Van Buren. And season 2's "Silence" did a similar thing when we learn that one of Schiff's many, many old friends who are evil and corrupt first sponsored Schiff to be DA - and now it turns out he's railroading the DA's office and covered up a murder. (I didn't have to look any of that up. I might have a problem).  

 

 

For me, "Trophy" is one of the worst episodes because what I watched L&O for is the police work and the legal maneuvering, not the personal relationships. I could have gotten through the entire series without any more detailed information about any of the characters than an occasional comment that was relevant to the case of the week. I definitely didn't care who was sleeping with whom and resented having to think about it to process the episode.

 

At least it isn't "Aftershock," my least favorite of them all. At the time it appeared to be opening the door to making the next season more about the characters than before. Anticipating that change -- which thankfully didn't happen -- I was less interested in the show for a couple of seasons from that point on.

 

 

Could not agree more with both of these statements. What made me cringe the most was Diane's did it "for mah MAAAAN!" rationalization to Claire. It was so gross. So she lied, covered up evidence so her lover would get accolades for prosecuting an innocent man? mmmokayfine. Blech.

 

It's why I'm not ashamed to admit or say that I much preferred the first three seasons of the prosecution team. Ben Stone and Paul Robinette for the WIN!

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Could not agree more with both of these statements. What made me cringe the most was Diane's did it "for mah MAAAAN!" rationalization to Claire. It was so gross. So she lied, covered up evidence so her lover would get accolades for prosecuting an innocent man? mmmokayfine. Blech.

 

It's why I'm not ashamed to admit or say that I much preferred the first three seasons of the prosecution team. Ben Stone and Paul Robinette for the WIN!

 

Eh. I loved the first iteration of Paul, not that body-snatched replicant they replaced him with. Talk about PC. At least they didn't bring Ben back the same way.

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At least they didn't bring Ben back the same way.

 

True, but I think Mr. Moriarty having some issues, shall we say, is the only reason that never happened. Had he left the series on a better note, I could see TPTB going with a Pod Ben later on. "Fixed" from S15 would have been an optimal time, too, given it was sort of a sequel to "Indifference" from S1 and one of his cases.

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Eh. I loved the first iteration of Paul, not that body-snatched replicant they replaced him with. Talk about PC. At least they didn't bring Ben back the same way.

 

 

Sorry, in case I wasn't clear, I meant the real Paul Robinette[/i]--he was the one teamed up with Ben Stone,  And not to toot me own horn, but I dubbed that thing that said he was Paul as Pod!Paul over on TWoP, hee.  

True, but I think Mr. Moriarty having some issues, shall we say, is the only reason that never happened. Had he left the series on a better note, I could see TPTB going with a Pod Ben later on. "Fixed" from S15 would have been an optimal time, too, given it was sort of a sequel to "Indifference" from S1 and one of his cases.

 

The reason why Moriarty left was because of his crazy for Cuckoo Puffs. But the writers did him a solid, not making Ben go all cuckoo.  So count me as thankful that Moriarty didn't come back.  

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That's probably why I don't like [Trophy] much. I prefer the dynamic where they're friends and colleagues rather than lovers. The "Jack is a sexy stud all the girls want" annoyed me when the show laid it on too thick. "Ooohhh, he rides a motorcycle! He might have a drinking problem! Don't you want Claire to save him?" That's probably why my favourite Jack/ADA relationship was him and Jamie, They were presented more as equals. Second would be Connie, where they finally acknowledged the age difference and let him simply be a smart older man whose experience she could learn from. Like Schiff was, in the earlier episodes. 

 

A couple of things, though:

 

Up until Trophy, did they really trot out the stuff about Jack being a sexy stud all that often? Rey? Sure. Jack? Not so much, at least not that I can immediately recall. And I will now wait patiently for various and sundry instances of it to be provided. ;-)

 

As for Diana, while I suppose that the 'Mah man' thing is irritating, I don't believe she did what she did entirely for Jack. If she had, why did she wait after their relationship ended to reveal the truth? When it turned out that Simon Brooks had actually committed the murders, five years had passed since the conviction of the wrong defendant, so if the intention was for us to see her solely as the bitter ex-lover, she could have come forward at any point during those five years and said, "You know what? There's a possibility that the wrong man is in jail, and I helped Jack put him away." If revenge was all she wanted, she could have made a stink long before those other two boys were murdered, and instead she kept quiet, IMO to protect her own career, not to mention her freedom. She may well have done it partly for Jack, but by the time the truth came out she had moved on to the private sector. Why didn't she blare what she knew to anyone who would listen if she was only looking to ruin his career for breaking up with her? Hell, even Claire pointed out that Jack already had a tendency to skirt the rules, and later Jamie would do the same. It seems like people would have believed it coming from Diana.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer

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Once she did it, though, Dianna had a fair amount to lose by it coming out.  I'm sure she was disbarred for suborning perjury, and if by some miracle she wasn't, I'm sure her elite law firm kicked her to the curb.  Can't have a lawyer who has admitted to subornation of perjury, Brady violations, and falsely convicting an innocent man of being a serial killer of boys at a top firm!

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It was mentioned a couple of times that Jack sleeps with almost all his assistants. I always thought that Serena's infamous departing non sequitur was meant to imply that he'd slept with all of them previous to her.

 

In the first episode when Jamie moved over to replace Claire, she made a comment about rumors of him sleeping with all of his assistants, and he said he had only slept with two, one of whom he married.  Later in the episode, she says to him "...you only ever had two female assistants."

Edited by Moose135

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Three previous female assistants. His ex-wife, Sally Bell, and Diana Hawthorne. And he didn't sleep with any of them after Claire because the show realized the audience doesn't want to see that.

A couple of things, though:

 

Up until Trophy, did they really trot out the stuff about Jack being a sexy stud all that often? Rey? Sure. Jack? Not so much, at least not that I can immediately recall. And I will now wait patiently for various and sundry instances of it to be provided

When Jack replaced Ben, they made sure to underline how different he was than his straight-arrow predecessor. It wasn't like with Rey, where random witnesses and suspects would flirt with him for no reason, but they really wanted the audience to think Jack was such a bad boy. That's why there was always stuff with his motorcycle.

As for Why Diana did it, I think people are overthinking the motivations of a character we only see for one episode. She did it for her man because the show said she did. Or rather, Claire said it and Diana didn't contradict her and that's enough for me.

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In the first episode when Jamie moved over to replace Claire, she made a comment about rumors of him sleeping with all of his assistants, and he said he had only slept with two, one of whom he married.  Later in the episode, she says to him "...you only ever had two female assistants."

 

No, it was Claire who said that Jack had a habit of sleeping with his assistants. She had walked to introduce herself in the Season Five opener, where Jack was changing into his pants or something, and Jack said he only slept with two, and by the episode's end, Claire said she discovered he only had two.  Jack and Jaime never talked about Jack's history of sleeping with assistants, and Claire was only brought up during that case with the drunk driver. In fact, Jamie had set Jack up on a blind date with a friend/colleague.

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As for Why Diana did it, I think people are overthinking the motivations of a character we only see for one episode. She did it for her man because the show said she did. Or rather, Claire said it and Diana didn't contradict her and that's enough for me.

 

One-shot character or not, Diana's actions illuminated Jack's own tendency to try getting a conviction any way he could, and that does matter because he was part of the main cast. Charm City, the episode after Trophy, has Jack getting on Frank Pembleton's case for eliciting a confession from a suspect that was later ruled inadmissible by a judge because neither he nor Bayliss had jurisdiction, and this was after Claire pointed out that he did occasionally withhold exculpatory evidence, out of the belief that he "didn't think it was necessary to disclose." So either Jack was an incompetent nitwit who didn't know what went on in his office, or he did know what went on but was okay with it.

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No, it was Claire who said that Jack had a habit of sleeping with his assistants.

 

Thank you! I remembered the exchange, but obviously I forgot who he had it with...

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Three previous female assistants. His ex-wife, Sally Bell, and Diana Hawthorne. And he didn't sleep with any of them after Claire because the show realized the audience doesn't want to see that.

When Jack replaced Ben, they made sure to underline how different he was than his straight-arrow predecessor. It wasn't like with Rey, where random witnesses and suspects would flirt with him for no reason, but they really wanted the audience to think Jack was such a bad boy. That's why there was always stuff with his motorcycle.

As for Why Diana did it, I think people are overthinking the motivations of a character we only see for one episode. She did it for her man because the show said she did. Or rather, Claire said it and Diana didn't contradict her and that's enough for me.

I'd just amplify this by pointing out that in Jack's first two seasons on the job we have not just mention of, but actual appearances by, two of the three former assistants in question -  Sally Bell (Season 5, Ep. 9 Scoundrels) and Diana Hawthorne in Season 6's Trophy.

 

In addition we also have Shelly Cates in Season 6, Episode 6, only half-a-dozen episodes prior to Trophy, who if you ask me is heavily implied to have been a lover of Jack's.  They banter like lovers with a very unusual degree of smiling from Jack, they kiss twice in their first scene together (first on the cheek, then on the lips) and when Shelly meets Claire she asks (about Jack), "is he still bedding the redhead?"  In addition they agree behind the scenes to do some fast lawyering and rope-a-dope Shelly's client, something requiring a high degree of trust between two people.

 

Considering we got absolutely nothing on Stone's personal daliances in four seasons I'd say the writers went out of their way to feed us "Jack is a ladies' man."

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One-shot character or not, Diana's actions illuminated Jack's own tendency to try getting a conviction any way he could, and that does matter because he was part of the main cast. Charm City, the episode after Trophy, has Jack getting on Frank Pembleton's case for eliciting a confession from a suspect that was later ruled inadmissible by a judge because neither he nor Bayliss had jurisdiction, and this was after Claire pointed out that he did occasionally withhold exculpatory evidence, out of the belief that he "didn't think it was necessary to disclose." So either Jack was an incompetent nitwit who didn't know what went on in his office, or he did know what went on but was okay with it.

Yes, but because Jack's a main character (and this is a conventional 90s network procedural, not an artistic cable show) every time we see Jack try to skirt the rules, we the audience SEE that he's in the right, it's the only way he'll convict the bad guy and he's up against incompetent or evil opposition. We've never seen Jack come close to convicting the wrong guy due to one of his stunts. Jack's always on the side of right. In "Trophy" Diane was 100% unambiguously wrong, and it wasn't even a case of "go against the law so the bad guy goes to jail instead of going free through a legal loophole" like it frequently is with Jack. Nothing good happened and everything bad happened as a result of what Diana did. In 16 years on the show, Jack NEVER had something like that happen to him. 

 

So that's my problem with the episode. They want to believe Jack is a hero and a brilliant lawyer, but is such a poor judge of character he dates Diana and somehow incompetent enough that he allows the whole mess to happen. We are somehow supposed to think that Jack had no idea what was going on (so not incompetent) and would have been horrified if he had (so not evil) . . . but it still happened. It makes no sense, and in the service of trying to sell something (Jack and Claire are perfect for each other!) that didn't need selling.

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Considering we got absolutely nothing on Stone's personal daliances in four seasons I'd say the writers went out of their way to feed us "Jack is a ladies' man."

 

 

I think all we knew about Ben was that he was divorced; had a daughter and was Catholic.  I remember this one line he said to opposing counsel: "I'm a Catholic; I can feel guilty about anything."

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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I think all we knew about Ben was that he was divorced; had a daughter and was Catholic.  I remember this one line he said to opposing counsel: "I'm Catholic; I can feel guilty about anything."

Sigh....Ben was awesome.

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So that's my problem with the episode. They want to believe Jack is a hero and a brilliant lawyer, but is such a poor judge of character he dates Diana and somehow incompetent enough that he allows the whole mess to happen. We are somehow supposed to think that Jack had no idea what was going on (so not incompetent) and would have been horrified if he had (so not evil) . . . but it still happened.

 

But being a good guy and a brilliant lawyer doesn't have anything to do with being a good judge of character.  Lots of good people are bad judges of character; lots of extremely smart and competent people are bad judges of character.  He trusted her (and we never saw their old relationship so never have a chance to observe whether he was foolish for trusting her, based on what he knew then), and he trusted her to handle her parts of the case.  When a complex case goes to trial, and there's a legal team it's a waste of time for one of the lawyers to run around duplicating the work, or checking up on the work, however you want to look at it, that another lawyer has done.  And she clearly took steps to prevent people from telling Jack, as we saw with the handwriting expert.

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But being a good guy and a brilliant lawyer doesn't have anything to do with being a good judge of character.  Lots of good people are bad judges of character; lots of extremely smart and competent people are bad judges of character.  He trusted her (and we never saw their old relationship so never have a chance to observe whether he was foolish for trusting her, based on what he knew then), and he trusted her to handle her parts of the case.  When a complex case goes to trial, and there's a legal team it's a waste of time for one of the lawyers to run around duplicating the work, or checking up on the work, however you want to look at it, that another lawyer has done.  And she clearly took steps to prevent people from telling Jack, as we saw with the handwriting expert.

You know, for whatever this is worth I have dated some girls who at the time seemed like quality people due to both the blinders I eagerly put on and their talent for putting up a facade, and it was only later that I came to realize how wrong I was.  Granted, I am no Jack McCoy, there are two sides to every story, yadda yadda...but I think I'm normally a reasonable judge of character who becomes a complete idiot when confronted with a cute face and a charming personality.  Diana seems like a talented charmer and liar.

 

It's possible that Jack was just drunk on love/sex, which initially mitigated his eyebrows' special ability to ascertain, judge, and condemn Diana's character.  It happens to the best of us.

 

I guess the odd part for me is that I've just never been able to buy this angle from Waterston's acting.  I never have sensed actual charisma, charm or sexual chemistry with the ladies from the way he plays that part, and it always seems forced or stilted to me.  They had Noth play that role and it was much more believable (though obnoxious...which is often kind of true to life with that kind of dude) and a number of the women on the show pulled it off effortlessly.  It's not a looks thing, just a vibe I guess.  Maybe it's just the writing and the fact that sex is such a small part of the show in general.  Maybe it's just me.

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I think that was the problem: Diana was in love with Jack, as well as ambitious, but Jack just cared for her, and wasn't in love with her.  I think he assumed she was just as much after justice as he was, and trusted her to find the evidence, and wasn't thinking what this case coud do for his career.

 

Sure, Jack liked to cut corners, and edge real close to the edge-to win, because he thought the defendant was guilty, or that the suspect was guilty, and not for political reasons.

 

I think Diana even said that--or something along lines, in addition to the "mah man" line, she did it as proof of her love or something.

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I'd just amplify this by pointing out that in Jack's first two seasons on the job we have not just mention of, but actual appearances by, two of the three former assistants in question -  Sally Bell (Season 5, Ep. 9 Scoundrels) and Diana Hawthorne in Season 6's Trophy.

 

In addition we also have Shelly Cates in Season 6, Episode 6, only half-a-dozen episodes prior to Trophy, who if you ask me is heavily implied to have been a lover of Jack's.  They banter like lovers with a very unusual degree of smiling from Jack, they kiss twice in their first scene together (first on the cheek, then on the lips) and when Shelly meets Claire she asks (about Jack), "is he still bedding the redhead?"  In addition they agree behind the scenes to do some fast lawyering and rope-a-dope Shelly's client, something requiring a high degree of trust between two people.

 

Considering we got absolutely nothing on Stone's personal daliances in four seasons I'd say the writers went out of their way to feed us "Jack is a ladies' man."

 

Aaaand today just happened to put on Season 8, Episode 16 "Divorce" and we get both a scene where Jack is reading a motorcycle magazine, shows Jamie a picture and tells her, "I'm thinking of buying it." AND a scene where Jamie mentions Jack being a hardass to a fellow female attorney who immediately inquires, "He seeing anyone?" to which Jamie replies, "You want an introduction?" and her friend replies, "Sure!"

 

Definitely hammering home the Bad Boy thing.

 

When did this start happening on this show?  Was it with Jamie, Jack and Rey?  Instead of Show, Don't Tell they went with the opposite - we're going to constantly tell you that these characters are hot.  Was there a change in writer or producer that led to this?

 

Also started watching Season 10, which I'd never seen before, and wow, they really, REALLY hammer home this "Ed Green is a genius interrogator" point.  Like two episodes right off where he Horse Whisperers the suspect.  It feels ham-fisted to me the way it's presented.

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I guess the odd part for me is that I've just never been able to buy this angle from Waterston's acting.  I never have sensed actual charisma, charm or sexual chemistry with the ladies from the way he plays that part, and it always seems forced or stilted to me.  They had Noth play that role and it was much more believable (though obnoxious...which is often kind of true to life with that kind of dude) and a number of the women on the show pulled it off effortlessly.  It's not a looks thing, just a vibe I guess.  Maybe it's just the writing and the fact that sex is such a small part of the show in general.  Maybe it's just me.

I'm a little biased.  When Jack McCoy started on L&O, I was 18 and Sam was in his 50s but I thought he was a cold stone fox.  So I had no problem believing women would be attracted to him. 

 

But I don't think they were trying to do the same thing with Jack that they did with Logan.  Mike's flirtations were open and almost always hinted at something in the future.  With Jack, his flirtatious interactions almost always pointed to a past.  And with that POV, I found those interactions pretty easy to believe whether there was lingering awkwardness or the affectionate been-there-done-that-now-it's-over vibe.  Basically, professional adults who did personal things and now have an intimate professionalism.

 

Yes, but because Jack's a main character (and this is a conventional 90s network procedural, not an artistic cable show) every time we see Jack try to skirt the rules, we the audience SEE that he's in the right

Jack was a renegade in pursuit of justice but I think this show did have enough people give a different point of view to his actions that I don't think we were to accept that he was right all the time.  He was brought up in front a review board.  Schiff read him the riot act over the steralization plan.  The DA and/or his assistants did manage to talk him down quite a few times.

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