Ryan Braun has been exonerated! Well, not exactly. It’s like a suspected criminal getting a not guilty verdict but losing the civil trial, that sort of uncomfortable moment where you aren’t sure if you should be cheering or cursing Bud Selig yet again (one of these days it’ll stick). Ryan Braun, circa 2011 season, was by all appearances a stand-up guy, a team player who was a role model for kids everywhere and a statistical leader well deserving of the MVP award. He may still be a stand-up guy even if he turns out to have used performance enhancing drugs. We don’t know if he did, though. Even after his appeal, we don’t know. That might be the hardest part.
Every season of Law & Order seemed to have an episode like this- the investigation winds up leading to a murder from 20 years ago but- oh no!- the critical piece of evidence is gone from the locker room. Or the medical examiner isn’t quite sure if it’s the same finger print after she pledged it was the same on the stand. Or Lenny “sees” the murder weapon on a casual tour of the apartment even though it’s way up in the suspect’s closet out of view. The case doesn’t become about whether the defendant is guilty but whether the evidence has the proper chain of command, was interpreted correctly, or was obtained fairly. The advantage of Law & Order is when the evidence is obtained we see it happen and we usually know that the suspect is guilty by the time Jack McCoy is furrowing his brow and shaking his head back and forth at the outrageous decision of the judge.