LAW & ORDER Recap: Jack McCoy Tries His Final Case - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER Recap: Jack McCoy Tries His Final Case

February 22, 2024 by  

Jack McCoy exit

LAW & ORDER — “Last Dance” Episode 23005 — Pictured: (l-r) Camryn Manheim as Lt. Kate Dixon, Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy, Bruce Altman as Mayor Payne, Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, February 22 episode of LAW & ORDER.]

Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) battled one last fight in court before officially stepping down on the Thursday, February 22 episode of LAW & ORDER.

Things start to spiral in “Last Dance” when the detectives realize the case they’re investigating—the death of a young woman, Veronica, who was found in Central Park—has ties to tech billionaire Scott Kelton (Rob Benedict). When they discover Veronica disclosed, prior to her death, that Kelton raped her, the cops arrest him for her murder.

The case, naturally, gets media attention, with both McCoy and Mayor Payne (Bruce Altman) getting questions about conflicts of interest: Kelton is a donor to the mayor and supports McCoy’s opponent in the upcoming election. 

Though Mayor Payne publicly backs McCoy, privately, it’s a different story. “I hope you know what the hell you’re doing,” Payne says when they’re one-on-one. “The man is a New York icon, second only to the Statue of Liberty, for God’s sake. He has given more money to charity, brought in more tax dollars—”

“And he also killed a defenseless young woman,” McCoy interjects.

“Like I said, I hope you know what the hell you’re doing,” Payne replies.

Initially, Price (Hugh Dancy) tries the case, but it becomes clear things are shaky when a vital witness refuses to cooperate. McCoy OKs a deal offer, insisting Scott will have to serve at least ten years. 

Scott admits to Price and Maroun (Odelya Halevi), off the record, what went down: Veronica accused him of rape and said she was going to file a police report. He says he grabbed her, she hit him, and then, “Everything just happened fast.” He admits he pushed her and she fell and hit her head on a rock. Price offers him man 1 and 15 years in prison; Scott’s attorney says man 2, with five years in prison. Price counters with ten years, but they won’t accept the deal.

The DAs do find one possible lead: Jordan Payne, the mayor’s son, who took a trip with Scott and Veronica when the rape occurred. They reach out, trying to get him to support Veronica’s claims, but he refuses to comment…he’s concerned because he was on the trip with a woman who wasn’t his wife. 

Later, the mayor calls Price to his office. Price tries to explain himself, and says he has to do his job, but Payne has no sympathy and makes it clear his son is off limits. He proposes the DA’s office make a deal with Kelton.

“I have an immense amount of respect for Jack McCoy,” Payne says. “More than I could possibly describe. But if you subpoena my son, I will bury you.”

Payne also says if they proceed, he will pull his support from McCoy and make sure his opponent is elected…and then the new DA will fire Price, publicly.

When McCoy hears about this, he insists to Price they can’t let the mayor’s office dictate how they proceed. He also says the mayor called him after his talk with Nolan.

“I told him to go to Hell,” a smirking McCoy notes. 

Rather than let Price torpedo his career, McCoy tries the rest of the case, including cross-examining Jordan. 

While Jordan tries repeatedly to get out of answering questions, he finally admits Scott called Veronica an “uptight bitch.”

LAW & ORDER: 'Last Dance' Photos

LAW & ORDER — “Last Dance” Episode 23005 — Pictured: (l-r) Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy, Jeremy Gabriel as Jordan Payne — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

The series also gives us one last solid McCoy closing argument:

The defendant is one of the richest men in the world. He donates billions of dollars to various charities across the globe. He’s close friends with foreign dignitaries and movie stars and the mayor of New York. By all accounts, he is a decent person. Most of the time. But on the morning of December 12, he was a killer. And that’s all that matters. 

When I was elected district attorney, I gave a pledge to the citizens of New York to act fairly and ethically, without bias or favor. To always act with integrity. During my time as district attorney, I’ve tried my best to uphold that sacred oath in the pursuit of justice. And now, members of the jury, it’s your turn to act fairly and ethically, without bias or favor. And to find the defendant, Scott Kelton, guilty of murder.

And McCoy got his verdict: Scott was found guilty of murder in the second degree.

Afterward, Price came to see his boss. “Congratulations, Jack, you haven’t lost a step,” Price says.“I’m not so sure about that,” he replies. “But I suppose it doesn’t matter. I tendered my resignation twenty minutes ago.”

Price is baffled, noting he just won…who cares about the mayor, he tries to convince Jack, to let the people decide.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” McCoy admits. “It’s time. It just is.” 

And, importantly, McCoy notes the mayor is vindictive—and he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Jack loses…and he’ll succeed. Not only that, he’ll bury everyone who wronged him. 

“If I step aside now, the governor will be able to appoint someone new,” McCoy says. “Someone with integrity.”

“It’s been a helluva ride,” McCoy concludes, toasting Price, with tears in his eyes. 

The hour ends with Jack walking out, and quietly spending a moment in front of the courthouse.

What did you think of McCoy’s exit?

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


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