We've probably all dreamed or fantasized about taking the law into our own hands. We all know that injustices are done every day, and sometimes the bad guy gets away with it. Could be something as small as a passing insult. Sometimes it's the monster who skated on murder.
Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan, and sometimes people are just plain wrong even about things they are supposedly certain of. NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 18 takes a harsh look at (and a dim view on) vigilante crime.
The initial victim, Petty Officer Karp, only joined the Navy to escape possible sexual assault charges. The other names on the "hit wall" were also apparently unpunished criminals... up until the team investigated into the latest name on the list, and it turned out that the man wasn't guilty at all.
Maybe Karp was guilty of sexual assault. (Signs point to "yes".) It's even likely that the other guys were guilty, too. But what if you're wrong? Whether it was a case of a mistaken identity or or willful misidentification on the part of the original witness, the vigilante would have killed the unfortunate man. And death is the one sentence that's utterly permanent.
There are no takebacks, no appeals, no possible recourse. This is why the justice system is the way it is, with the mantra of "innocent until proven guilty." Both LaSalle and Pride had pointed statements to say on the subject:
If you bust the foundation over a few measly cracks, the whole house is liable to come down.LaSalle
Believe me, I know how flawed the system can be. But taking matters into your own hands is no better. And at the end of the day, it won't bring back your son.Pride
If we start taking the law into our own hands, the whole system starts to crumble. Frankly, I'd rather enjoy the presumtion of innocence by the system than the anarchy of individuals enforcing their own brands of justice.
Here's another way to look at it: the power of the stick. In a civilized society, the people entrust a few individuals with the sticks with the presumption that these people will ensure the harmony of the group as a whole, according to an agreed-upon set of rules. In an anarchy, everyone has a stick of his or her own, which they can use to whack anyone for whatever reason they feel like, regardless of the greater good. That sort of power can go to a person's head.
Mama T's intentions started out good, but it's clear that the vigilante killings would soon become something far more perverse than an instrument of perceived justice. How long would it take for people to put the names of their enemies on that wall out of hatred or spite? How many innocent people would die?
To put it bluntly, New Orleans has a checkered reputation when it comes to law enforcement. But, as Pride pointed out, what they were doing was no better.
Now, to shift gears completely, let's take a look at the B-story: Brody's love life!
It's quickly confirmed that Brody is seeing Dr. Sam Wilkins, Eyal Podell's shrink who made his first appearance in NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 13, "The Walking Dead." This development is interrupted by the arrival of Brody's ex-fiance James.
Putting aside the feeling of cliche at the introduction of a previously-unknown significant other just as a main character is beginning a new relationship, I was strongly reminded of a description used by the title character in Castle to describe his ex-wife: "deep fried Twinkie." In other words, totally unhealthy but absolutely delicious (in bed). Admittedly, James isn't completely crazy like Castle's ex, but honestly I think that Brody sleeping with James was almost as ill-advised.
I'm not trying to be judgmental here. It cannot, however, be emotionally healthy for Brody to maintain such an attachment to James while simultaneously dating Sam. LaSalle put it pretty well:
Have a drink, catch up, and end the story.LaSalle
It felt like Brody was cheating on Sam when she slept with James. The implication that the lovely flowers were from Wilkins just made the whole situation with James feel that much more tacky and cruel to the good doctor. Factoring in that kiss between Brody and James at the end just made me feel bad for Wilkins, whose intentions have never appeared anything but honorable. That kiss didn't say to me "good-bye" so much as "until we meet again (for another roll in the hay)". How is that fair to Wilkins?
It also made Brody look cheap, since she initially insisted that everything was over and then ended up in bed with James anyway. This is not to say that it's a completely unbelievable or unrealistic turn of events, more an observation on the character in terms of her actions. Whether or not that was the intention of the writers, I really cannot say.
So, let's get the conversation rolling! Do you agree with Pride and LaSalle about justice? Would you rather see Brody with Sam Wilkins or James-the-ex? Can we add Daryl Mitchell to the main cast, pretty please?
The next episode, NCIS: New Orleans Season 1 Episode 19, "The Insider," is scheduled to air on April 7, 2015, after a brief week's break. In the meantime, you can watch NCIS: New Orleans online right here at TV Fanatic to catch up on all the action of previous episodes.