LAW & ORDER: Mehcad Brooks Previews Shaw's 'Existential Crisis' Amidst 'Every Good Cop's Nightmare' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: Mehcad Brooks Previews Shaw’s ‘Existential Crisis’ Amidst ‘Every Good Cop’s Nightmare’

December 6, 2022 by  

Law and Order Mehcad Brooks

LAW & ORDER — “Camouflage” Episode 22001 — Pictured: Mehcad Brooks as Det. Jalen Shaw — (Photo by: Michael Greenberg/NBC)

On the Thursday, December 8 episode of LAW & ORDER, a suspect in a murder case escapes from police custody. The man, Troy Booker (Chaundre Hall-Broomfield), now claims he’s innocent of the initial crime—despite confessing to Shaw (Mehcad Brooks) in the immediate aftermath.

It’s all hands on deck for the cops, including Shaw, and prosecutor Price (Hugh Dancy) as they attempt to get to the bottom of what went down and stop things from spiraling even further. For Shaw, he also has to come to terms with the notion he may have helped put an innocent Black man behind bars.

“There’s a micro and macro for him,” Brooks explains to Give Me My Remote about Shaw’s mindset in “The System.” “On a personal level, it’s every good cop’s nightmare that they may have done a bad job. That they may have gotten the wrong guy. That they may have gotten a false confession. And that’s going to keep them up at night. That’s going to affect your confidence moving forward when it comes to how they get a confession or who they go after or trusting their own instincts. That’s all within the job.”

“And there is also something that’s a societal sort of impediment in that he’s a Black man who is a cop,” he continues. “He doesn’t consider himself a cop and then a Black man. He’s a Black man and a cop. And he knows that there’s a system set up to rob Black people of joy, freedom, and opportunity. There’s an opportunity deficit, and he knows that. That system sometimes works through unconscious behavior. That system sometimes works through politicians. It sometimes works through the systems and structures that we already have set up, and we just don’t do anything, so systems can continue to unfold and operate as designed.”

As Shaw tries to defend himself and his actions, “there’s an existential crisis, in some ways, for him, as he realizes that not only did he maybe do a bad job as a cop, [but] that maybe he’s a guardian of the system, as well,” Brooks explains. “And that’s something beyond his occupation that is going to keep him up at night.”

Law and Order Mehcad Brooks

LAW & ORDER — “The System” Episode 22009 — Pictured: (l-r) Jeffrey Donovan as Det. Frank Cosgrove, Mehcad Brooks as Det. Jalen Shaw — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

While Shaw’s team has his back, the detective is also aware he only joined the unit a few months ago. 

“Cosgrove’s a great partner,” Brooks acknowledges. “And a mentor in some ways. There’s something really dynamic about the relationship. But at the same time, they’re new, so there is also going to be some protections and some guarding in that relationship. However, I think that Cosgrove would be able to help him with certain aspects of getting the wrong guy, getting the confession in the wrong way, whatever that may be. We all make mistakes.”

But Shaw is alone in an important way: “There’s no mentor for him as a Black man, as a diverse person in a space that lacks diversity,” he notes. “With a system that goes after people that look like him. He’s in uncharted ground, uncharted territory.”

“There is some general support that he can receive from the DA’s office, some general support he can receive from the Two-Seven precinct,” he continues. “But when he goes home, in the dark night of his soul, it’s him understanding that perhaps he’s let down people who look like him. Perhaps he’s let down his ancestors in his own way, perhaps he’s helping to uphold the system that is pitted against him. And so there’s no real mentorship for that.”

Updated, 12/8: Watch a scene from the fall finale…

LAW & ORDER, Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC


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