Episode Title: “Rubber Room” (Season 20, Episode 23)
Original Airdate: May 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM
Synopsis: In what could end up being the final episode of the series, Detectives Lupo and Bernard (Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson) try to find a blogger who is threatening to shoot up and entire school. Also, Lt. Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) finds out she’s going broke as she goes back for a post-cancer check up.
Review: Although when the crew filmed this episode they did not know it would be the final for the series. However, they did know it would be the last for Merkerson. Her storyline throughout this season was different, but powerful. Lt. Van Buren has been in the background for the latter half of her 16 years on the show, and giving her character a history was due. The ending was emotional and powerful.
This episode truly is one of the best episodes of the series since Jerry Orbach left. Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) didn’t do much in the episode, but Connie Rubirosa (Alana de la Garza) worked with the detectives hard throughout the episode. What really surprised me was seeing the old Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) come back after seeing a lawyer give the ADAs the cold shoulder. We saw a side of McCoy we haven’t seen since at least five years ago. His threats about defending every single family in a wrongful death suit made you want to stand up and cheer (in fact, who is interested in the real process of the wrongful death attorney work, visit us).
While this may be the end of the series, 456 episodes and 20 years later, I think it is safe to say the show had a great run. While some seasons weren’t as fantastic as others, the show stayed consistent. The show always was there when NBC needed a show to fill the hole. The ratings this year were still even better than some shows they renewed. The episode last night had more viewers watch than the season finale of Chuck and not even 2 million less than the season finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Either way, the show ended with a bang. Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn got to live her dream of guest starring on the show, and we also got to see ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix), Dr. Skoda (JK Simmons), and Frank (Ernie Hudson) one last time.
Final Grade: 9.0/10