Law & Order Season 20 Episode 23 Recap: "Rubber Room"

Recapping the last episode of Law & Order is bittersweet, particularly since Monday's episode, "Rubber Room," was never intended to be the series' swan song. It was, however, to be S. Epatha Merkerson's last episode on the series, and as such, it celebrates the show's unsung hero, Lt. Anita van Buren.

The episode's crime story is a textbook case of TV-procedural misdirection. It starts when concerned parents alert Lt. Van Buren that a man is videotaping nude girls (including their daughter) and posting clips on his website and ends when Dets. Lupo and Bernard and ADAs Cutter and Rubirosa figure out that the anonymous blogger who says he's going to carry out a Columbine-style school shooting somewhere in New York City is actually a disgruntled teacher.

But this is really an episode about Van Buren. Departing from Law & Order's typical formula, we learn quite a bit about her personal life.

Lupo overhears her on the phone applying for a line of credit so she can pay her medical bills and tries to organize a fundraiser for her. She catches wind of it, though, and quashes it, asking Lupo and Bernard to respect her privacy.

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