Law & Order: Los Angeles Review: "Big Rock Mesa"

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This week Law & Order: Los Angeles centered around a very real fear for many Californians: Fires. In "Big Rock Mesa", two arsonist fires set the plot into action, causing confrontations between the perpetrators and the victims.

This episode brought balance to the show’s efforts to stay true to its location.

Forest fires, as well as the homeless, are issues citizens of the greater Los Angeles area have to contend with every day. While accurately portraying the setting, the plot dealt with everyday people protecting their homes; an idea most people can relate to.

This is an improvement from other episodes dealing exclusively with LA issues.

The detectives' part of the show makes up about half of the episode’s time it seemed to pass by fairly quickly. I have a feeling this came from the ease of the case.

Morales and T.J. did interrogate one suspect that turns out to be innocent of the murder, but aside from this one bump in the road, the case unfolded quite nicely.

The writers used a classic Law & Order form of ID; fortunately a victim had a knee replacement with a serial number. It is interesting the percentage of victims in the franchise that have such traceable implants, replacements, or other surgical procedures. 

After watching countless episodes I’m considering getting some myself so that when I am eventually raped and murdered there will be a good chance I can be ID'd. 

Once David Holloway was identified, the pathway to the perpetrators is fairly easy. It was interesting to note that T.J. seemed to have a larger role in the investigation than previous episodes furthering the equity of the police partnership and after T.J.’s proving ground in the past two episodes.

The prosecution of the neighbors seemed to occupy most of the episode, perhaps due to the number of scene changes, filing and refilling of charges, or the fact that the prosecutorial team did a fair amount of their own investigation to make up for the circumstantial evidence provided by the detectives; Dekker and Rubirosa did this through interviews of the other neighbors, wives, and professors. 

Throughout this portion of the show I felt the team made it fairly clear that the defendant Patrick Denton shot David due to his involvement in a lawsuit against the homeowner and not due to his claim of fear from invading homeless threatening his life and the life of his wife.

It is rare that Law & Order will present its audience with such a strong case before actually proceeding to the courtroom scene. So, when the three defendants all but confessed to the alleged crimes it became clear there would be a surprise ending.

I was disappointed in the verdict the jurors came to at the end. I do think the loss was timed appropriately in the season in that the verdict was realistic and breaks the monotony of the good guys always winning, and they did not lose do to a mistake.

They made a strong case and lost despite their efforts. Although I watch this show to escape reality, this true to life verdict reminds me of how the homeless are viewed in American society despite the record number of home foreclosures in recent years.

At the end of the episode, Dekker claimed that he failed and Rubirosa corrects him, noting that the two of them failed. Which duo would you blame for the loss of this case: Morales and T.J., or Dekker and Rubirosa?

Which pairing do you feel has the best chemistry? Discuss below!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (4 Votes)

While I also believe that a pretty good case was made for the idea that the homeowner shot the guy in the garage out of anger over the lawsuit, I'm not surprised he was acquitted of murder; unknown intruder on your property vs. homeowner: I think you can pretty much blast away without consequences. Now, when the husband and wife homeowners chased down the two homeless people, as they were RUNNING AWAY, and killed them -- with the wife clubbing the homeless woman to death with a brick -- it just boggles the mind that they can get away with that scott free. AND THEN they tried to cover it up by burning the bodies, in the process starting another forest fire -- !! Man, they should have done some time for at least one of those things. If I had been on that jury I don't think I would have been able to vote not guilty for the husband and wife homeowners. Even if she did use to be Tasha Yar on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."


This was a bit of a pleasant surprise of an episode. Usually when there is a semi-big name actor (Lee Tergesen) in a L&O episode, 99% of the time this person is the accused.
At the end of the court case, I was firmly behind Patrick thinking he was in fact in the right. They didn't prove that he was actually angry, not frightened. A month previously his wife gets surprised and accosted in her garden, add in the multiple complaints to the police with no reaction, I believe it.
3 sooty, dirty people have kicked in his door and for whatever reason are sitting in his garage to "get warm"? Instantly his back would up against the wall, no matter who is there. Wouldn't been interesting to see if he would've opened the garage door instead of the young man coming at him. Either way, good episode. Nearby in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada there is a gigantic forest fire out of control. Scary to put yourself in their shoes, and what would you do? PS. If the woman had picked up her cat & kittens when they were told to leave the valley, nobody would have died!


I saw the first episode. I was not pleased at having to read almost half of the English in subscript. I chose not to watch this show because of this. Why are we enabling people who only speak Spanish to continue to do so? Let them learn English just like all the other immigrants who chose to come to this country. It seems to me they only want to live in neighborhoods where they can act just as if they were back in the country they left. It's not bad enough there are Spanish only speaking stations, but this country is slowly being taken over what with Spanish in legal documents, special classes in schools and now even in food coupons.


When Connie says, "We failed", doesn't she mean all of us? It is a Dick Wolf production, after all...

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