Law & Order: LA
Big Rock Mesa
Episode 1.16 - May 23, 2011
Lee Tergesen plays Patrick Denton in this episode of the most
recent iteration of the "Law & Order" franchise.
The episode opens against the backdrop of a large wildfire in
Malibu. The fire turns out to be arson, set to cover up a homicide.
Two homeless people and a volunteer from a shelter were found dead
at the scene. The volunteer -- who is also a law student -- has a
bullet in his head.
Denton is one of the homeowners in the area affected by the fire,
but his house is mostly unharmed. He and his neighbors have had
run-ins with the homeless people who live in camps around the area.
Detectives determine that Denton's garage is the scene where the
man was shot and killed, and Denton is arrested. The arrests of two
neighbors follow, and prosecution begins on charges of manslaughter.
However, the charges escalate to murder as it is revealed that the
homeowners were the subject of a lawsuit, which was being led by the
murdered law student.
The lawsuit claimed the homeowners were irresponsible in building
their houses in such a high-risk area and wasting taxpayer resources
when firefighters have to try to save their homes.
In court, the arguments play on the jury's fears and prejudices
about homeless people. The defense successfully makes the case that
the "innocent" homeowners were merely defending their homes against
scary, threatening homeless people.
Lee has some compelling scenes in the courtroom, conveying his
emotions convincingly and effectively.
The lead detectives in "Law & Order: LA" are played by Alfred
Molina and Corey Stoll, who appeared with Lee in "Helena
from the Wedding."