Law & Order Season 21 Episode 7 Review: Legacy

at .

It's not just history lessons that are complicated.

Law & Order Season 21 Episode 7 brought up a lot of issues while telling the story of a troubled teen who brought a gun to school and the principal who ended up dead.

Bullying. Lack of accountability. Easy access to guns. All of these problems contributed to the senseless death of an educator,  but there wasn't enough time to look at any of them in depth.

A Plethora of Suspects / Tall - Law & Order

The fact that Bennett's father had the wealth and power to buy his son out of trouble was the biggest problem in this case.

This case was so clear-cut that it almost felt one-sided. John Richardson knew that his son was drawing violent sketches. He had to have known since he paid off the art teacher after Bennett stabbed the guy!

Psychologist: Where did you get the gun?
Bennett: It was my grandpa's. He gave it to my dad and then my dad gave it to me for my 17th birthday.
Cosgrove: Who the hell gives an emotionally disturbed 17-year-old a gun for his birthday?

Even if he didn't expect his son to bring a gun to school, he knew Bennett was capable of violence and did nothing about it other than try to get him into sports.

Bribing the art teacher to stay quiet was even more disturbing than the fact that Richardson gave Bennett a gun and a speech encouraging him to "be a man" and stand up to Cooper's alleged bullying.

Will McCoy Give the Green Light? - Law & Order

Violence left unchecked usually escalates, and Bennett had already stabbed a teacher. Something could and should have been done about his problems then.

But instead, the art teacher decided to put money over the safety of students and teachers in the school, and Richardson sent his son the clear message that if he hurt someone, Daddy would pay as much as it took to make the problem go away.

Is it any surprise that Bennett brought a gun to school and killed the principal?

Another parent on the suspect list wasn't much better. He was angry that his son had been suspended for using a racial slur in a video and claimed that since their whole family had gone to that school, the principal should have left rather than expelled his kid.

Observing an Interrogation - Law & Order

That's the same entitled attitude that caused this tragedy, though at least the Pattons didn't have anything to do with the murder. When the cops saw a kid running down the block with a blood-soaked shirt, I half expected it to be the kid who got expelled.

It was ironic that despite all the strife with parents, Henry Gleeson died not because of anyone's problems with him but because he happened to walk in on two boys struggling over a handgun.

How likely was that, with all the animosity his policies generated among some parents? Davenport seemed to be a school that attracted wealthy conservatives, and the more liberal principal's policies angered many of them, yet that had nothing to do with his death.

Investigating the case gave the cops a reason to talk to these parents and hear their points of view, but other than that, there seemed to be no point to that part of the story.

A High-Pressure Case - Law & Order

The Law & Order franchise has always been political, but the politics didn't quite fit the story this time.

The woman who didn't believe other kids' disabilities were real, the father who thought signing anti-racism pledges was a waste of time, and the man who thought his son shouldn't be disciplined for using racial slurs all turned out to be irrelevant to the murder.

That made it feel like their points of view were inserted to make Bernard and Cosgrove discuss them.

The shooter turning out to be a troubled kid who had no problem with the victim was a nice twist, but at the same time, it made the first few suspect interviews feel like political viewpoints being brought up for no reason other than the writers don't like them, which is never the best way to handle these types of issues.

Bernard Questions a Suspect - Law & Order

Law & Order could have told the same story without those irrelevant political discussions.

It would have been simple for Mr. Richardson to have had a problem with the principal and be glad that his son killed him. Conversely, the investigation could have proceeded in a more balanced manner, with some parents disliking the principal but others feeling it was a tragedy he was gone.

There was limited time to delve into all of this because the story had to move forward into the courtroom half, so I don't fault Law & Order for not going into more depth here. But it did feel like the parents' hatred of the principal was tacked on to the story and then dropped just as quickly.

As for the legal half of things, I was surprised that McCoy let Price go on with his novel prosecution of both Richardsons.

Getting a School Shooter - Law & Order

Price admitted that this angle was a long shot. Not only was his theory of the case unprecedented, but success relied solely on Bennett turning on his father, something Bennett made it clear he wasn't going to do.

McCoy pointed out that if they lost this case altogether, they'd look like fools but stopped short of telling Nolan to try a case conventionally for once.

It certainly seemed like this would be Nolan's first on-screen loss until he pulled a final rabbit out of his hat.

It seemed unlikely that Mrs. Richardson would testify against her husband and even less likely that the judge would allow it. This one felt like it should have been a loss. Instead, Mrs. Richardson sent her husband to jail and then resented the DA for it.

A Controversial Stance - Law & Order

That felt a bit too convenient, even though Price was justified in his belief that Richardson contributed to an unnecessary killing via his attempts to buy his way out of his son's problems.

Over to you, Law & Order fanatics. Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts about this story.

If you need a refresher, watch Law & Order online. Also, check out our recent chat with Odelya Halevi about all things Law & Order.

Law & Order airs on NBC on Thursdays at 9 PM EST / PST.

Legacy Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (28 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

Law & Order Season 21 Episode 7 Quotes

Used to be the conservatives banned books. Now it's the woke liberals too.


Bernard: Found something?
Cosgrove: Killer went through the side door. There's blood on the push bar.
Bernard [reading mural on wall]: 'Go Forth Without Fear.' Might want to get a new slogan.