Is Mehcad Brooks’ Jalen Shaw Leaving Law & Order?

Image Credit: Ralph Bavaro/NBC

Portrayed by Mehcad Brooks, Jalen Shaw is an important character in ‘Law & Order.’ He makes his debut in the ‘Gimme Shelter’ crossover event, which marks the 22nd season premiere of ‘Law & Order,’ the 24th season premiere of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’ and the season 3 premiere of ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime,’ effectively replacing Anthony Anderson’s Detective Kevin Bernard, who appears in one season after the revival of the original ‘Law & Order’ series.

An NYU Law School graduate, Shaw practiced law for about three years before joining the NYPD. He was previously part of the Narcotics Division for five years. Upon joining the Manhattan North Homicide Squad in the 27th Precinct, he is partnered with Detective Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan). If the recent events in the show have made you wonder whether Brooks is leaving ‘Law & Order,’ we got you covered.

What Happened to Mehcad Brook?

‘Law & Order’ season 22 episode 15 begins with Shaw. As he rushes toward a crime scene, he is stopped by two officers in uniform with their guns drawn: Steve Wagner and Tim Farley. As they are from a different precinct, they don’t recognize Shaw, believe he is a murder suspect, and order him to get on the ground. Realizing that he is being profiled, Shaw tries to show them his badge, but the two officers push him against the wall and try to cuff him. This is when Cosgrove arrives and intervenes by showing his own badge. He also takes photos of the badges of the two officers.

Justifiably angry, Shaw rejects the apology when one of the officers comes to him with a peace offering. As he goes to Internal Affairs to file a report against the two officers, they also file a report against him, accusing him of not following the department’s procedure. Both Cosgrove and Lieutenant Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim) acknowledge that Shaw is in the right and promise to support him on the matter. But they also warn him of the “Blue Wall,” knowing that the NYPD will not accept that its officers are at fault even if the accused is a detective. As Shaw deals with this, he and Cosgrove investigate the death of a black doctor.

There is a clear parallel between the investigation and what happened to Shaw, as he and the doctor are both victims of profiling. At the end of the episode, the man responsible for the doctor’s death is found guilty of manslaughter, but Internal Affairs closes its investigation against the two officers after finding Shaw’s allegations to be unsubstantiated. Moreover, the allegations against Shaw are upheld, and he is suspended for a week.

Is Mehcad Brooks Leaving Law & Order?

As mentioned above, Brooks joined the cast at the start of season 22, so it’s highly unlikely he will leave this soon. If anything, the recent events are bound to add a layer of complexity to the narrative of ‘Law & Order,’ taking it in a direction that Dick Wolf’s shows generally steer clear of. In recent years, a lot has changed in the political and social atmospheres of America, and the police face more scrutiny than it ever has. With a black detective being the victim of police profiling, it opens up fascinating prospective storylines, and Shaw has to be there for them.

In an interview with Today, Brooks spoke about his own experience with police brutality. “There’s definitely a healing journey I’m going through myself,” the actor said. “I had my first introduction to police brutality when I was 7 years old. It was a throughline through the rest of my life. … And it’s come to visit me a few times. At no time did I deserve it.”

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