Battle Of The New York City Attorneys: Law & Order's Ben Stone vs. The Night Of's Jack Stone

But who will prevail, the prosecution or the defense? Sarah D. Bunting reviews the evidence.

"A Dark Crate" saw the introduction of Freddy, disgraced boxer and Rikers kingpin; the vain efforts of Khan Sr. and his medallion co-owners to free the cab from police custody; and, with his eczema worsening and Andrea's cat failing to overrule his allergies despite wooing his Saran-Wrapped feet, John Stone replaced as Naz's attorney in favor of pro-bono slickster Alison Crowe. What better time, then, to contemplate which non-$2000-suit-wearing NYC lawyer rules the Stone-surname roost: famous original executive ADA Ben, or ambulance-chasing John?

Who is better kempt?

Relative to the other lawyers on Law & Order, Ben Stone keeps it pretty tight; he can't afford much beyond the "one blue, one brown, five rep ties" standard, and as a result, he doesn't fall prey to early-nineties suit "fashion," which consisted primarily of expensive fabric cut in a way that looked cheap, and hideously loud ties. He had a couple bad haircuts, sure, but at least he could wear a closed toe to court.

John, not so much. Feet swaddled in Crisco and plastic wrap, formless suit and overcoat, luxuriantly curly hair that has no shape...everything about him reads "shlep." Even the ADA he visits with tries to send him to a decent tailor for a new suit for court, and has to specify "not brown."

Winner: Ben.

Who has classier clients?

Do we consider Ben's "clientele" the people of New York? Because we're asshats, mostly. Or is Ben's client the gubmint?

I guess it doesn't really matter; John's primary demographic is prostitutes and dealers. Naz was by far his classiest client, but is no longer his client at all.

Winner: Ben.

Who has a better investigation and prep support system?

Looks like a slam dunk for Ben here, as he's got bright assistant ADAs in Claire Kincaid and Paul Robinette; the cops, of course; and people to answer the phones. As well, he doesn't have to troll precincts for cases. The murders come to him.

John has none of that stuff. He even has to semi-bribe unis with Starbucks to get access to the crime scene. Granted, John exists a quarter century after Stone, so he can film the scene on his phone and research case law on the internet, but it doesn't seem like he has a proper office. Ben's is crammed with file boxes, but it exists.

Winner: Ben.

Who's better regarded by colleagues?

The Arthur Golds of the world and their occasional lofty tones with Ben aside, he's apparently well respected; true, he doesn't ascend to the position of District Attorney like his successor, Jack McCoy, choosing instead to leave the field entirely when a witness he swore to protect is murdered by the Mafiya. But he doesn't bone his partners, either.

But he's likely held in higher esteem than John, who's called an ambulance-chaser in so many words by police officers, and spoken of with deep condescension by Crowe, who dismisses him as a bargain-basement plea-shopper who can't give the Khans his full attention. Yeah, the arraignment judge expressed happiness for John that he pulled such a big case; the sense is that he's seen with fond exasperation generally. But even if it's only a matter of money, when Crowe offers her services, the Khans don't think long before accepting.

Winner: Ben.

Who's better with kids and pets?

Ben has neither, as far as we know. Doesn't mean he isn't good with them -- he seems like the type who comes home to a Will-Graham-esque one-bedroom overrun with special-needs dogs -- but we just don't know either way.

John has a son, whom he named Dwight Gooden, and they appear to have a solid relationship; he's allergic to cats, and should not have given Ginger cow milk (it's not good for them; TV Characters Giving Animals People Food Cop at your service), but this is hard to argue with:


I said hard, not impossible. Ginger ends up at ACC, with 10 days to live if s/he's not adopted, but I choose to believe that John appears on Day 9 with a sleeve of Benadryl poking up out of his shirt pocket and rescues her to give to Dwight, and for God's sake, the man's got to win one of these categories.

Winner: John.

Who is portrayed by a less offensively bonkers actor?

Make that two. John Turturro and I both support Green-Wood Cemetery, a fact that brings me joy, and I've never heard anything but that he's a mensch.

"Political exile" Michael Moriarty is, as we used to say in high school, a Payday bar: totally nuts.

Winner: John.


Kinda serves Tevas McGee right for bringing the cat to a kill shelter. Sean Casey, bro. Get the knack.

Winner: [chung-chung!] ADA Benjamin Stone.

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