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Season 4: Good-bye Ben Stone

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Sadly, this would be the last season of the wonderful Ben Stone.  I remember thinking, who could EVER take his place? I missed the last half of this season in its initial run as I was in India at the time, but I do remember Morirarty quitting, and something to do with what AG Reno said at the time. Little did I know that poor Moriarty had gone Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

 

This season had some very powerful episodes.

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This was definitely one of the best season.  Not just the last season of Stone, but also the first for Lt. Van Buren.  I did enjoy pre-SVU Cragen, but Anita was in a class of her own, and not just because she lasted seventeen seasons.

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Yes! S. Epatha is the BEST. We were channel surfing yesterday and saw her part in Lincoln. She and Tommy Lee Jones were awesome. 

Anita was always my favorite. <3

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At the risk of getting my women's lib card taken away from me, I kinda loved it when it was all men. Sue me.

 

That said, I love both Cragen and Van Buren. Sometimes I wish they could have switched them--you know, one week with Van Buren, another with Cragen. That way I could get them both!  But then Cragen returned full-time in SVU, so I could still get my Cragen fix, though I call SHENANNIGANS!!! at the retcon over his history. But I'll save that for the Cragen thread. Is there a Cragen thread? There should be. Just like there should be one for Van Buren.

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Season 4: Episode List

 

1 Sweeps 1993-09-15
2 Volunteers 1993-09-29
3 Discord 1993-10-06
4 Profile 1993-10-13
5 Black Tie 1993-10-20
6 Pride and Joy 1993-10-27
7 Apocrypha 1993-11-03
8 American Dream 1993-11-09
9 Born Bad 1993-11-16
10 The Pursuit of Happiness 1993-12-01
11 Golden Years 1994-01-05
12 Snatched 1994-01-12
13 Breeder 1994-01-19
14 Censure 1994-02-02
15 Kids 1994-02-09
16 Big Bang 1994-03-02
17 Mayhem 1994-03-09
18 Wager 1994-03-30
19 Sanctuary 1994-04-13
20 Nurture 1994-05-04
21 Doubles 1994-05-18
22 Old Friends 1994-05-25

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I mentioned this previously (though, I can't remember if I ever did at this board), but I really think Ben Stone's last episode should've been Sanctuary. Michael Moriarity put on a master class of acting on that episode (his scenes with Lorraine Toussant are OUTSTANDING and some of the best of the whole series), plus I buy so much more that he would leave the office because he didn't personally believe in the direction they were going, not that he would quit because he felt guilty a witness was murdered.

I also don't really like Claire, and I LOVED Robinette, so I really didn't like her addition to the cast.

I will say, this season gives me one of my favorite Ben Stone lines, in Discord, when he continually refers to the defendant as "Mr C-Squared" when cross examining him. Ben Stone, always the gentleman.

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Princess Aldrea, is that you?!

 

I think I read somewhere where originally that was supposed to be Stone's last episode? Or was that just wishful thinking on our parts? And like I said, over on TWoP and here as well, it's too bad Moriarty went cuckoo for cocoa puffs. I really would have liked to have seen how he would have handled some of the case in season five, and how Stone would react to Mike's getting shipped off to Staten Island after popping that murderous, homophobic councilman. McCoy came off as cold.

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Not Princess Aldrea - I was bparhad back at TWOP : )

I think it was just wishful thinking on my part that Sanctuary was to be his last episode - I just think it made so much more sense in his character, plus, it's a really good "goodbye" episode. Ah well.

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Not Princess Aldrea - I was bparhad back at TWOP : )

I think it was just wishful thinking on my part that Sanctuary was to be his last episode - I just think it made so much more sense in his character, plus, it's a really good "goodbye" episode. Ah well.

 

Oops, my bad! The Princess threw me off, heh.

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I'm watching Black Tie on WE right now and I don't think I've ever seen it before.  Which is really puzzling, since I watched the series from the beginning, and for the past several years have the syndicated eps on as background noise and/or comfort TV.  But nothing about this one is familiar to me.  Yay, me, I guess.  I am finding the defendant and her attorney quite annoying.

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I'm watching Black Tie on WE right now and I don't think I've ever seen it before. Which is really puzzling, since I watched the series from the beginning, and for the past several years have the syndicated eps on as background noise and/or comfort TV. But nothing about this one is familiar to me. Yay, me, I guess. I am finding the defendant and her attorney quite annoying.

Yes, I can't stand the dripping SMUG from Rothenberg, played by Jeffrey DeMunn. He's up there along with my Melnick hate.

Ass has his associate try the case while he's writing the appeal, as if it's beneath him to get in the trenches if you will and stay above it all and all academia in his smuggery smugness that ever smugged.

Just the fact that the widow had no affect, no nothing over her husband's murder, should have been a freakin' red flag about her being a sociopath.

I think this was the only episode where John Ramsey, who otherwise always played Judge Schrieber, played a different judge.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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I will say, this season gives me one of my favorite Ben Stone lines, in Discord, when he continually refers to the defendant as "Mr C-Squared" when cross examining him.

 

Thanks to Ben Stone, that actor will forever be known as Mr. C-Squared to me.  I loved Ben - he wanted to do good and put criminals away, but he really didn't want to cut corners or do anything ethically questionable in the process.  Sort of the anti-Jack McCoy in a lot of ways.  I really missed him when he left.

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I'm watching the WE marathon (I've had nasty bronchitis and staying home sick and so I've been seeing a lot of L&O lately!. Watching "Breeder" with the young couple who sell their unborn baby to multiple rich people then fake his kidnapping at birth, I caught something that was just funny to me. The hotel door they knock on to catch the dad is clearly on screen labelled 208. Mike then gets on the phone inside and calls for a CSU team to room 511. I'm sure the script was written before the location was found, but I was entertained that they couldn't change the line to match the shot.

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Pardon me if I don't get all teary eyed over Ben Stone's departure after he got Allison Janney murdered.

 

Plus, that bastard prosecuted Lisa Eichhorn.

 

Speaking of

 

20 Nurture 1994-05-04
21 Doubles 1994-05-18

 

 

Probably not the only time this has happened given the length of the series, but guest stars in these back-to-back episodes co-starred in the same movie.

 

The defendant in Nuture was Lisa Eichhorn, who played Mo in Cutter's Way.  Mo's husband is the titular Cutter, played by John Heard, who played the victim's father in Doubles.

Edited by Constantinople

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Pardon me if I don't get all teary eyed over Ben Stone's departure after he got Allison Janney murdered.

 

I was just watching that episode thinking the same thing!

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I didn't agree with him then but normally loved him.  He did want to bring down the mob after all.  Are you defending the kidnapper in Nurture?  Though in a way "BEatrice" was far worse.

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Pardon me if I don't get all teary eyed over Ben Stone's departure after he got Allison Janney murdered.

 

Granted, I'm biased, because I freakin' love Ben Stone.  But it's not as if he were fired for forcing her to testify which led to her death. PLUS, this was Allison's second appearance, and she didn't die/was murdered in her first appearance which was in Season 2.  The case of Bradley White's stalker ass who nearly killed that soap opera actress. Janney played her secretary.

 

Since Ben loved his job, his resigning was, to me, anyway, to punish himself, because he did feel responsible for her death, after promising her she'd be protected.

 

But, tomato and tomahto and all that.

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Granted, I'm biased, because I freakin' love Ben Stone.  But it's not as if he were fired for forcing her to testify which led to her death. PLUS, this was Allison's second appearance, and she didn't die/was murdered in her first appearance which was in Season 2.  The case of Bradley White's stalker ass who nearly killed that soap opera actress. Janney played her secretary.

 

Since Ben loved his job, his resigning was, to me, anyway, to punish himself, because he did feel responsible for her death, after promising her she'd be protected.

 

But, tomato and tomahto and all that.

Not murdering someone in Season 2 isn't a defense to murdering someone in Season 4.

If it were anyone else, McCoy would have charged him with depraved indifference.

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Not murdering someone in Season 2 isn't a defense to murdering someone in Season 4.

If it were anyone else, McCoy would have charged him with depraved indifference.

 

Ben didn't murder her, though. He didn't shoot her in the chest, or wherever she was shot. It was the Russians.  He just wasn't able to protect her.  And even if he hadn't forced her to testify, she would have been looking over her shoulder the rest of her life; she was considered a loose end and would have eventually been killed.

 

McCoy has done is own share of forcing witnesses to testify with less than successful results, and I don't buy the argument that Ben was guilty of depraved indifference.

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Ben didn't murder her, though. He didn't shoot her in the chest, or wherever she was shot. It was the Russians.  He just wasn't able to protect her.  And even if he hadn't forced her to testify, she would have been looking over her shoulder the rest of her life; she was considered a loose end and would have eventually been killed.

They've prosecuted plenty of defendants who short-circuited the victim's inevitable death.

 

McCoy has done is own share of forcing witnesses to testify with less than successful results, and I don't buy the argument that Ben was guilty of depraved indifference.

Because a corrupt prosecutorial system refuses to hold its guardians to the same standards as everyone else.

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Caught "Sanctuary" last night on a WE marathon (or binge-a-thon, as they called it -- which always makes me wonder how these shows get "purged," but maybe that's just me. Hate the word "binge" for watching multiples episodes at once. HATE. Anyway...)

 

But wow, the continued relevance of Sanctuary just blew my mind. Racial issues, disenfranchisement, the anonymity of a mob. I find it both funny and sad that the composition of the New York neighborhoods have shifted faster than progress on social issues. It's no longer dangerous to live in Chelsea, but we're still dealing with racial injustice. This was 1994! It's 11 years later, and very little has changed.

 

What a thought-provoking, well-done episode.

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Yeah, but it made me angry how Shambala Green seemed to think that the guy attacking the innocent people in a riot was justifiable because of that white guy getting off for the hit-and-run.  I think Ben was right on that one: two wrongs don't make a right and if you think racial injustice gives you the right to attack other people you've never met, then you're only adding to the problem.

 

Simply my opinion of course.

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Lorraine Touissant is so beautiful, as well as being fantastic as Shambala Green. I loved her in Sanctuary, even though I didn't agree with her defense of her client.

I did a double take while watching the scene of the playback of the video of the mob scene. J.K. Simmons was playing the video technician! I was yelling 'Skoda! Skoda!' at my TV. He looked and sounded exactly the same. Love him.

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But wow, the continued relevance of Sanctuary just blew my mind. Racial issues, disenfranchisement, the anonymity of a mob. I find it both funny and sad that the composition of the New York neighborhoods have shifted faster than progress on social issues. It's no longer dangerous to live in Chelsea, but we're still dealing with racial injustice. This was 1994! It's 11 years later, and very little has changed.

 

Not just 11 years.  It's 21 years later.

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So, "American Dream" was on today, and I think, I haven't seen Ben be as sexay as he was in the conversation with Doyle, who had lied to clear Swan, the second time around--when he refused to give in to the bastard, by saying he wanted the truth or he'd show up at each and every parole hearing to make sure he wouldn't make parole. No theatrics, no overt or over the top threats. Just calm, controlled what he would do if Doyle didn't spill it.

And it was in this episode we learned that Stone was divorced, when Swan brought up all of Stone's personal history in a deposition, after Swan was acquited and was suing Stone and the state in a civil suit. And it was there that Stone got him, which led him to Doyle, and got him for the murder of Bobbit. NO! Not that Bobbit!

DAMMIT! I MISS Stone! Why'd Moriarty have to go all Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs???!!!

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Just finished watching "Sanctuary" and I still am blown away. I can't recall how many times I've watched this, and ironically, this episode remains relevant even today, with what is going on in our society.

 

The dialogue, so very powerful. Especially that scene with Shambala and Stone.

 

I agree, that this should have been the season finale, because it demonstrated and showed how very tired Stone was of killers not taking personal responsiblity for the crimes they commit. As opposed to "Old Friends" where he resigned because Allison Janney's character got killed after she testified for the prosecution.

 

And I don't care if I sound like a broken record: Why'd Moriarty have to Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs???!!! Why????? WHY???!!!!!

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WE has been showing some of the Stone-era episodes, and I don't know how I forgot that he and Claire worked together before the cheese slid off of Moriarty's cracker. MM strikes me as very much like Mandy Patinkin, who left Criminal Minds after going a bit cuckoo himself.I like Stone more in retrospect than I did the first time around, and I'm not sure how that happened.

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WE has been showing some of the Stone-era episodes, and I don't know how I forgot that he and Claire worked together before the cheese slid off of Moriarty's cracker. MM strikes me as very much like Mandy Patinkin, who left Criminal Minds after going a bit cuckoo himself.I like Stone more in retrospect than I did the first time around, and I'm not sure how that happened.

 

 

Me either, Cobalt! I've loved Stone since Day One. 

 

Confession: His character was the reason my dream was to work for the New York District Attorney's Office. BEFORE I learned one had to be independentl wealthy to do so! I guess I'm an idealist at heart. I just love how more often than not, Stone wanted Justice, and never thought about his record--i.e. how many wins he could rack up. Unlike Jack, who also cared about Justice, but Waterson's portrayal told me, he cared more about winning, cutting corners, and promising immunity deals, with recklessness. And I didn't care for that.

 

And I know, I know, but I know what I like, and I liked, nay, LOVED BEN STONE.  And yes, I know he's a fictional character.

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There's something very impressive about the way Ben says, "Sir". Because he calls almost all of the defendants/suspects that, (including this one dude who just threatened to crack his head open)  but it sounds like what he's really saying is, "Look, you dumb bastard, pay attention or I'll bury you myself." Maybe that's what I didn't appreciate the first time.

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer
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A couple of things about "Sanctuary."

 

One, I remain pissed that Berger (Michael Constatine) got off for that hit and run that killed the little boy. And Two, I was very disappointed in Shambala Green. In each of her appearances, she always believes in the arguments she's making for her clients and defends them passionately and zealously (in a good way).  But here? She admitted to Stone, that she hates what her client did, and doesn't even believe in the "mob mentality" defense she's using, but is doing it anyway.  That one powerful scene between her and Stone took place here. I will post it in the quote thread momentarily.

 

And a reference to the '92 L.A. riots, after the cops were acquitted for beating Rodney King nearly to death:

 

Darryl: "I call the laywer. Then you and me, we can't talk. Then the DA fries my butt for something I didn't do."

 

Lennie: "Except we know you were there, Darryl. They caught you on tv.  Don't you watch the news?"

 

Darryl: "That don't even look like me, man."

 

Lennie: "Oh, yeah, they tried that one in L.A."

 

Darryl: "Worked, didn't it?"

 

Lennie: (Sighs) "Darryl, we're the good guys here.  See, we don't really give a damn about these people looting and busting up people's cars.  That's not our department. We're in homicide."

 

Darryl: "So?"

 

Lennie: "So, your friend there is homiciding somebody."

 

Me: snerk at Lennie's last line. Before Lennie, Mike always got the best, snarkiest lines! I love Lennie!

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A couple of things about "Sanctuary."

 

One, I remain pissed that Berger (Michael Constatine) got off for that hit and run that killed the little boy. And Two, I was very disappointed in Shambala Green. In each of her appearances, she always believes in the arguments she's making for her clients and defends them passionately and zealously (in a good way).  But here? She admitted to Stone, that she hates what her client did, and doesn't even believe in the "mob mentality" defense she's using, but is doing it anyway.  That one powerful scene between her and Stone took place here. I will post it in the quote thread momentarily.

 

Thing is, while I generally like Claire, she was almost as bad as Shambala, because Ben was telling her about how Green's client killed that other motorist because people were angry about Berger being acquitted, and she says something like, "Well, I can't imagine how I would have reacted if I had been screwed over by the system time and time again."

 

Regardless of how one feels about society's prejudices, how can a prosecutor say with a straight face that maybe what happened was kinda-sorta justified? I don't believe that that was actually the character's intention, or even the writers' intention when they gave her the line to say, but it pissed me off, and I wished Ben had said the equivalent of, "What the hell are you even talking about?!?!" As I said, I usually like Claire, but in this one instance, I just wanted her to shut up.

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I agree.  And I'm neutral on Claire, but she would annoy me when she would act all stupid like that. Or like how she asked to be recused from the case in "Censure" but wouldn't tell Ben WHY? Or her fighting Jack against "Dr." Haas in "Second Opinion" and Jack asked her, if she'd be this passionate against going after Haas, if Haas had been a man.

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UGH. "Black Tie."

 

I loathe, really loathe, Defense attoreny Rothenberg. The smug he exudes. Though not as much as I HATE and and LOATHE Melnick, but he does run a close second.

 

And Mike has always come across as an enlightened sort of man, so Van Buren's remark about how he has a problem with her "rank in a skirt"? or was it "rank and a skirt" ??? just was a WTF to me, considering all the episodes prior to this, didn't show any resentment coming from him, when it came to taking orders from her, or seeing her as his CO. So, what the fuck, Walon Green and Michael Chernuchin, who wrote this episode and normally write good stuff?

 

I just don't like this episode. But typical, that the rich and wealthy, of course and naturally get away with murder.

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So I sort of dug original recipe "Equalizer" as I thought it fun/cool to see an old guy like Edward Woodward kick ass. (Hey, that was my teen thinking! And loved Stewart Copeland's funky '80s theme!).

 

Anyway, popped in some S3 out of boredom and saw...Michael Moriarty in an episode! And the beginning was him walking down a lot of steps like he did from the courthouse in L&O with reporters swarming him, although he played a doctor here. I looked it up and the episode was "Starfire" from 1988.

 

Had a moment of confusion, wondering if I put in L&O, instead.  :-)  His voice is unmistakable. As an aside, Vincent D'Onofrio also appeared in another episode that season, too, as a mentally-challenged guy accused of murder and was a mobster in a S2 episode.

 

I love(d) '80s shows.

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2 hours ago, Arcadiasw said:

"Born Bad" from Season Four

I'm also watching that episode right now, and this whole "chromosome defense" is pissing me off. I think environment can contribute to creating a violent offender, but the idea that someone comes out of the box with the potential to be a murderer? No. I even understand Ben's dismay about the boy suddenly turning on a dime and pleading guilty, thus being behind bars for a long time if not the rest of his life, if the only other option would have been letting him out at some point, meaning he'd likely do it again, it was really the best choice.

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