L&O, Episode 6.23
Production number: K0125
First aired: 22 May 1996
  th of 456 produced in L&O  
th of 456 released in L&O
  th of 1229 released in all  
Teleplay By
Janis Diamond

Story By
Janis Diamond & Michael S. Chernuchin

Directed By
Martha Mitchell

After attending an inmate's execution, McCoy, Kincaid, Briscoe, and Curtis all react in different ways.


Jack McCoy, Claire Kincaid, Lennie Briscoe and Rey Curtis attend the execution of a man each had a part in helping to convict. Kincaid and McCoy fight briefly while driving back to the city. Kincaid decides to take a sick day, while McCoy returns to the office. Briscoe and Curtis have the day off, but Curtis decides to finish up some paperwork.

Curtis has a scuffle with a man in a holding cell and is ordered by Anita Van Buren to take the day off. He proceeds to meet a graduate student downtown and spends the day flirting with her while ignoring his wife's phone calls. He eventually spends the night with her.

Briscoe visits an off track betting facility and meets some acquaintances with "inside information." After losing some money, Briscoe meets with his estranged daughter and they go to lunch.

Kincaid visits her former law school professor (who is later revealed to be her stepfather) to discuss her concerns about capital punishment, and more broadly, her feelings about the legal profession and her role in it. She then has a late lunch with Van Buren and discusses the morality of capital punishment.

After dispatching a few plea bargains and lunch with Elizabeth Olivet, McCoy goes to a bar and meets some blue collar workers where they play darts and talk about their fathers. McCoy initially speaks highly of his father, a former police officer. However, after getting drunk, he reveals that his father demanded perfection from him, and would beat both him and his wife (McCoy's mother) for the slightest failure. He also states that he "never talks about these things."

Briscoe's talk with his daughter does not end well. He walks into the same bar that McCoy is at and orders a club soda, as he is a recovering alcoholic. After McCoy leaves in a cab, Briscoe seemingly becomes depressed and orders a vodka. Kincaid, whom McCoy had earlier called to get a ride home, meets a drunken Briscoe at the bar and offers to take him home.

While driving home, Briscoe laments the state of his relationship with his daughter, and says that he would have liked to have a child like Kincaid. As she tries to comfort him, a drunk driver slams into the side of their car, killing her.

The episode ends with a dazed Briscoe wandering in the accident scene, bursting into tears at the sight of Kincaid's dead body, as Van Buren reads part of a letter she has been writing to her mother about the execution in a voiceover.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast




A crowd of people stood and cheered when he raped her. They were supposedly good people, and they did absolutely nothing. Then he beat her to death with a tire iron; and today - the State of New York got its revenge. It's not enough - and it's too much.

–Anita Van Buren

Lennie, I doubt your daughter hates you.

–Claire Kincaid's last words

Background information and notes

  • "Aftershock" is notable because it abandons the typical Law & Order story structure of the police-procedural followed by legal proceedings. Rather than chronicling an investigation, the episode accompanies each of the characters in the aftermath of an execution.
  • This episode marks the death of ADA Claire Kincaid who is killed when her car is hit by a drunk driver while driving an inebriated Lennie Briscoe home. Earlier at the bar, Briscoe had said "at least she's Irish", despite Kincaid being a Scottish surname.
  • This is Jill Hennessy's final contract appearance as Claire Kincaid.
  • Jennifer Garner made her a special guest as Jaime in this episode.

Previous episode:
Law & Order
Season 6
Next episode:
"Causa Mortis"
Seasons 1234567891011121314151617181920
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.