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An idyllic looking lake. A guy is paddling his boat and later cleaning it while a bald eagle watches (this isn't a good sign) He chases the eagle away, apparently seeing something.

The cops are at the scene next. The man has been killed and nobody knows who he is,. He doesn't have a phone and was found by a maintenance worker (note: he was killed off screen and we didn't see the body -- unlike in real life, it floated to the surface right away.)

The parents have told Cosgrove that they were so proud of their son. Violet finds out someone turned out the victim's phone and has gotten a location.

The cops show up at an apartment owned by a bewildered woman. She asks her grandson Sebastian, who promptly runs away and into a basement area with lots of hiding spots.  They eventually find and arrest Sebastian.

Sebastian claims he ran because he's scared of the cops. He thinks Shaw should understand this. Sebastian has a ton of stolen phones but claims not to know anything about the murder. He claims he was with a girl named Denise last night.  He says he buys stolen phones off a dude at Hudson who works at the boathouse. He IDs the witness as the guy he buys them from.

Sebastian's alibi checks out and so does Larry's.

There is a new suspect, a student named Jordan who says he tried to avoid the victim as much as possible because something was "off" about James. HE would lie on social media about his training stats and he had intimate photos of a woman he was going to post online as revenge. The woman's name was April.

April has nothing to say. She admits she hates James. She broke into his apartment the other night. He had naked photos of her that she wanted to delete. She seems surprised that James is dead. She was asleep at the time and says ask her roommates. She was only with James for two months. She refers them to another enemy of James.

The cops talk to a guy who says James can't press charges now that he's dead and it's karma. He tried to shove him through a window because James became editor when he didn't deserve it. He was sure James stole the vote and that Ezra Nichols, a renowned professor, backed James. He thinks James and Nichols were having an affair

Shaw doesn't believe this, especially as Nichols is married to a woman. Also he's the reason Shaw got into law and was for LGBT rights and civil rights when Shaw was studying.

The cops interview Nichols anyway. Cosgrove asks about the nature of the relationship. He has to spell it out. Nichols asks why they would think that. Shaw asks why he pushed for a white kid in the bottom 2/3 of the class to be editor. The man refuses to answer questions without a lawyer.

Violet doesn't think that Nichols and Pell were having an affair. She says Pell's emails seemed like they were threatening Nichols. He had a clip of Nichols saying something anti-gay at a dinner honoring the first gay nominee to the Supreme Court.

The cops confront Nichols (and his lawyer). They know that Pell was blackmailing Nichols. They say they understand the stress he was under and how he might have ade stupid choices. Nichols says he did not kill Pell and kicks them out of his office.

Shaw is upset about Nichols because he was his hero. Cosgrove doesn't see what was so bad about what Nichols did. He got caught, that's all. CSU finds evidence of mud and flowers that grow by the river as well as some blood in Pell's house.

The blood is Pell's, but it's sitll circumstantial. Dixon realizes the Nichols have a nany.

The nanny can't get involved because she's undocumented. The cops promise not to mess with her immigration. The wife needed her and Nichols was in his bedroom until 77. She doesn't want to admit anything because she could lose her job. Shaw says they need to know what she knows.

Nichols' wife is arrested and Nichols tells her to ask for a lawyer NOW and not say a word.

Michelle pleads not guilty. Samantha asks for no bail. The defense attorney objects because of lack of a record. But she has the funds to flee. Bail set at 500k. Defense has a motion to exclude the video clip. The defense attorney claims marital privilege. The judge agrees to throw it out.

Samantha may have found something.  She says the waiter might have overheard.

A waitress is called to the stand. This time the defense is overruled and the waitress is asked to say what she heard. She told Pell what Ezra said and he took the video card.

The defense goes on about how Nichols is pro-LGBT. He is not allowed to do that. He goes for the "you didn't really hear right" defense. The waitress is positive she heard what she heard.

The net witness does not apepar to be here -- the nanny. She has skipped town or something. McCoy thinks Seaver might have scared her away but there's no proof. Price says they hae another witness.

Cosgrove testifies as to what the nanny said. A hearsay objection is overruled.  The defense tries to paint Cosgrove as a racist because he testifies in a lot of cases where the defendant is Black.

Nichols gets on the stand and claims he killed Pell. Price asks to go in chambers. He says that Pell is creating a mockery of the justice system. The judge is annoyed and says Price can cross examine. She's not excluding him.

McCoy tells Price to stop venting and view this as a stunt. Let Nichols spin his tale and bury him on cross.

Nichols explains how he was blackmailed.  He is ashamed of what he said and terrified of anyone finding out so he did what Pell wanted. He was afraid of being canceled. He felt that cancel culture has become a sport. He drew the line at Pell clerking for the Supreme Court and Pell threatened him so he met him down at the boathouse and told him to stop. Pell said he owned him and Nichols lost his temper and attacked him while his wife was at home with his children.

Price gets up.  He questions Nichols first about the murder and points out he's quoting the crime scene report. Nichols claims his family saw him. Price tells Samantha to subpoena the son who said otherwise.

Price asks for the son to be treated as hostile. The boy claims he saw his father come home. He says he was confused when he talked to the cops.  He claims his mom seemed normal. Price accuses the son of lying and whispers to Samantha they need to prove the boy was lying.  They find out the kid called his parents at 5:49 AM.

The DAs call a meeting. They have evidence that Siras was the one who killed Pell. The parents agree to talk if it won't be used against Siras. They explain their son is sensitive and overheard them arguing about Pell. He was afraid and trying to help.  Siras will plead guilty in family court and be sentenced there. The case against Michelle is dismissed. Michelle objects to Siras being arrested.

Law & Order
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Law & Order Season 22 Episode 5 Quotes

Shaw: He was a law student, intelligent, charismatic. Who would want to kill a guy like that?
Cosgrove: Today, just about anybody.

Cosgrove: You see anything unusual?
Man: Yeah, a dead guy.