The First Case is the ninteenth episode of the twenty-second and final season the American police procedural television series Law & Order: New Orleans.
A special flashback episode to the early 90s reveals how Parker and Queen first met in their early days as police officers before getting involved in the world of politics by then-detectives Carcaterra and Hicks when then-mayor Bill Royce's campaign manager is found stabbed to death at his home. But things turn complicated in the case when politics and infidelity take center stage, which results in the two young police officers taking action in the case, not knowing their decisions will change their lives forever.
During the train ride to Detroit, Parker and Queen talk about their first meeting and first case together and how it impacted and changed their lives forever...
Back in June 1992, a young Dallas Parker has just graduated from the NOPD academy as a police officer, branded as one of the youngest and most decorated cadets ever by the police chief. Parker is congratulations by his family and friends, unaware somebody is watching him. Hours later, Mayor Bill Royce's campaign manager is kicked out of the mayor's 45th birthday party for having an drunken argument with the Mayor. He returns to his home, vowing to exposed the mayor's "secrets" but is then brutally attacked and stabbed to death.
The next day, Detectives Eddie Hicks, Gino Carcaterra, and Jane Daniels are called in after the body of the campaign manager - Brandon Doyle is found by his son. The son reveals the argument between his dad and the mayor at the birthday party. Later, the three detectives question the mayor and the party guests over Brandon's death. Meanwhile, while doing traffic duty in his first week as a police officer, Parker witnesses a group of white teenagers attacking a black man, who was fighting back, but soon found himself overwhelmed. Parker comes to his rescue and "threatens" the teenagers with his gun. As the boys run off, Parker helps the beat-up man and takes him to the hospital where they was help by a ADA Alan Grimes. Parker learns his identity as Marcus Queen, a fellow police officer in his second year on the job.
While waiting for Queen's results, Parker spies on a young reporter and follows her to her news van where he witnesses a tense argument between her and the mayor. Queen catches Parker spying and tries convinces him to leave it alone, but he goes to intervene, at which the mayor gives her a firm warning before leaving. Later, Parker and Queen arrive at NOPD where they get involved in a confrontation between the detectives and the A.D.A.s over the campaign manager's murder. Then, Parker reveals the argument between Mayor Royce and the reporter. Captain Thompson asks Parker about the reporter but Parker says he didn't get her name. Hicks decides to allow Parker and Queen in on the case, sending them undercover to the news station where they meet the same reporter, Tawny Thompson, who turns out to be the daughter of Captain Thompson.
Parker and Queen watch as Tawny interviews Mayor Royce and his wife Shannon, where they notice something suspicious going on with the reporter and the mayor. Parker gatecrashes the interview to ask his own questions to Mayor Royce, which he answers. But everything is cut short when a woman storms in and makes public threats against the mayor, before a fire alarm rings, which results the station being evacuated. An hour later, Hicks and Carcaterra arrive at the station to investigate the 'incident'. The woman attempted to sneaks out, but Queen sees her and chases her into a nearby park where he arrests her and discovers her identity - Vanessa Donovan, ADA Holly Donovan's younger sister.
Along with Donovan who is present with Vanessa as her lawyer, Hicks and Daniels question Vanessa about Royce. She however refuses to cooperate. Outside the interview room, Grimes reveals to Queen that Vanessa had an affair with Royce two years prior but things turned sour between them because Royce refused to leave his wife and then when a spured Vanessa threatened to go public, she lost her job and reputation as a businesswoman. Vanessa claims that Royce is framing her but there is no proof of this. At the office, Parker tries to tells Captain Thompson his suspicions between Tawny and Mayor Royce but Thompson brushes off Parker's claim before ordering the team to keep Tawny's name out of investigation, which they all agree. Later, after finishing their day, Parker and Queen take their girlfriends on a double date at a cinema to see a film "Batman Returns". As they arrive at film screening, Parker and Queen see Royce, Shannon and their children attend the same cinema along with the bodyguards guarding them behind. Couple minutes later into the film, Parker sneaks behind Royce's seat where he confronts Royce about Vanessa. Royce claims that Vanessa has been stalking him for months and revealed the reason why she lost her career as a businesswoman. But when Parker attempts to question Royce about Tawny, Royce furiously lashes out at Parker before orders his guards to sort Parker's "big mouth" out. Royce's guards drag a yelling Parker out of the cinema as Queen, Denise, Paula and cinema audience look on.
Later, Queen tracks Parker (who got beaten up by the mayor's guards) down in the dark street before help Parker into the car. As they argue about the investigation, Parker believes Royce is hiding something and Tawny is involved. To proof Parker's claims is wrong, Queen drive to Mayor Royce's place where Queen and Parker spy on the family before saw Royce sneaking into his car and drive off. They follows Royce to the motel out of town where he meets Tawny. Parker and Queen sneaking into the next room after Tawny's room where they spies the argument between Royce and Tawny through a peephole. Royce accuses Tawny of hiring Parker to spy on him and murdering his campaign manager but Tawny denies killing the manager or trying to set Royce up before accusing Royce of attempting to ruin her life like what he did to Vanessa. Queen panics when he apparently sees Royce turn violent on Tawny, trying to rescue Tawny but Parker stop him when hearing sounds of arousal, as they witnesses the argument turn into passion between Mayor Royce and Tawny.
The next morning, Parker and Queen see Royce and Tawny leave the motel. They attempt to follow them but they get caught by an armed man, but quickly overpower him and then take him to the old warehouse near the lake. As they arrive, the man confronts Parker and Queen about Royce before revealing that Royce had an affair with Tawny seven months ago and Royce is involved with criminal gang. As Parker and Queen try to push the man into revealing everything he knows, he is shot in the head by a sniper. Parker and Queen see and chase after the shooter but ends up losing him into a busy traffic. Hicks, Carcaterra and Daniels arrive at the scene where they learn the victim's identity - Joseph Morgan, a former news reporter and Tawny's ex-colleague. Hicks gets into an argument with Parker and Queen over the investigation before forcing them off of the case and reporting them to the police chief.
A week later, Parker and Queen have been assigned traffic duty together and have become subject to public ridicule after Tawny branded them as "liars" in her newspaper story. Shannon publicly confronts the two about her husband, but Parker and Queen defend themselves, warning her that her husband is not to be trusted, and reminding her of what happened at the news station and Royce's behavior at the cinema as examples. As Shannon walks away without any answers, Carcaterra comes to Parker and Queen and reveal that his fellow detectives have gone over Morgan's full flies, and that Captain Thompson has been acting strange lately, revealing an arugment between the captain and Tawny about Royce that he had overheard two days ago. Refusing to let the case go, Parker, Queen and Carcaterra go to a cafe to meet Tawny's boss where they question him about Morgan's files and Tawny. He reveals Joseph become obsessed with Tawny because her relationship with Royce. Joseph was determined to prove Tawny was having affair with Royce but his plan backfired when Tawny accessed Joseph of stalking and raping her. Despite his claims couldn't remember anything about that night, after a "scrapbook" of Tawny is found in his home, Joseph was charged but to avoid a prison sentence, was forced to pay millions in restitution and lost his career. Also, he plays an old tape to Parker, Queen and Carcaterra where Captain Thompson talks about Tawny's "rape", expresses her love for Tawny and admits wants to kill anybody who will hurt her daughter.
Meanwhile, Royce and Shannon get into argument at home when Shannon confront him about Tawny and Vanessa and accuses him of murdering his campaign manager and the reporter. Royce denied everything but when Shannon refuses to believe him, Royce violently attacks her and strangles her until their son walks in and yells at his dad to stop hurting his mom. Royce furiously throws Shannon to the floor before storming out, leaving Shannon, lying down, break down on the floor with her son comfort her. With the help from Grimes and Donovan, Parker, Queen and Carcaterra track Captain Thompson to a car park and confront her about everything. Thompson denies of any involvement in the two murders and disavows any knowledge about her daughter's affair with Royce, but admits that she knew about Tawny lying about the "rape" because she wanted to help her fight back against Joseph for "stalking" her. Parker, however, brands her a "coward" for protecting her daughter's sick lies and watching an innocent man's life being ruined. Thompson admits to her faults and agrees to turn herself in for obstruction and preverting the course of justice.
As Parker, Queen and Carcaterra take Thompson to their car, Royce emerges from the shadows with a gun. Thompson pushes Parker out of the way before hitting by the bullet twice. As Parker, Queen and Carcaterra tries to help the wounded captain, Royce holds the three at gunpoint, revealing himself as the killer and then explains his reasons for killing his campaign manager and Joseph and for framing Joseph for "raping" Tawny, but reveals that he didn't mean to shoot Thompson and was actually targeting Parker because he got involved with his "business". As Parker tries to clam the situation, Royce notices Queen's strange behaviour and realizes that the police are on their way due to Queen wearing a wire that was meant for Thompson. Realizing he just confessed everything, Royce furiously grabs Parker and then hold him at gunpoint before taking him to the top of a parking garage with Queen chasing after them.
As Hicks, Daniels and the police arrive at the car park, Carcaterra tries to comfort a wounded Thompson but Thompson whimpers something in his ear before asking Carcaterra to tell Hicks that she's sorry and then passes away in his arms. Hicks and Daniels rushed to the scene where they saw Carcaterra crying, holding Thompson's body. While Daniels tries to comfort Carcaterra, a furious Hicks chase after Royce. At the stairs of the car park, Parker breaks free of Royce's grip and he and Queen fight with the mayor. Royce overpowers Queen and he and Parker stand off holding each other at gunpoint. With the helicopter on their tail, Parker tries to talks Royce down, trying to get him to think about his children and begging him to let him help him, but Royce furiously berates Parker's skills as a police officer and accused him for control his life because Parker is jealous of him. Royce then charges and tackles Paker and a violent fight ensues. Royce quickly overpowers Parker, but Queen tasers Royce with stun gun before accidentally getting shot in the foot by Royce. Then, Royce turns his attention at Parker but before he can shoot him, Hicks arrives, shoots Royce in the leg and then arrests him.
As ambulances arrive on the scene, Parker helps Queen to it and paramedic bandage his foot. Parker praises Queen for his help but apologizes for his injuries and blames himself for Thompson's death. However, Queen expresses that Parker as a great police officer, a good friend and a hero. It's later revealed that Queen watched Parker graduate from the police academy two weeks prior. Parker and Queen shake each other's hands before they see Tawny arrive at the scene as she saw a police officer handcuff Royce to a gurney as he is loaded on to an ambulance car. As he sees Tawny, Royce apologizes Tawny for killing her mother, explaining it was a mistake before being driven away. Left horrified to see her mother's corpse being loaded onto a coroner van, Tawny furiously attacks Parker, blaming him for everything before being taken away by the police...
At the end, in present day, after a long journey, Parker and Queen arrive at Detroit. After sharing a moment over their life, Parker and Queen walks to Jane Daniels' house, not knowing somebody is following them.
And then a message "More answers will be revealed." appeared on screen just prior to the end credits.
- Oliver Stark as Police Officer Dallas Parker
- Brendan Fraser as Older Dallas Parker (Cameo)
- Aldis Hodge as Police Officer Marcus Queen
- Isaiah Washington as Older Marcus Queen (Cameo)
- Scott Caan as Detective Eddie Hicks
- Daniel Di Tomasso as Detective Gino Carcaterra
- Carmen Ejogo as Detective Jane Daniels
- Terry O'Quinn as ADA Alan Grimes
- Patricia Arquette as Captain Siobhan Thompson
- Elizabeth Banks as ADA Holly Donovan
- Patrick Wilson as Mayor Bill Royce
- Kathryn Newton as Tawny Thompson
- Clare Foy as Shannon Royce
- AJ Cook as Vanessa Donovan
- Tom Felton as Joseph Morgan
- Lucas Grabeel as Brandon Doyle
- Kara Killmer as Paula Dalton
- Idara Victor as Denise Frank
- Kiefer Sutherland as Malcolm Parker
- TBA as James Parker
- TBA as Davis Parker
- Miles Heizer as Robert Parker
- Joanna Cassidy as Audrey Parker, James' mother and the boys' grandmother
- Young Dallas Parker (to Marcus Queen): What's your name, sir?
- Young Marcus Queen: Sir?
- Young Dallas Parker: I don't know who you are or what to call you. We only just met. I rescued you from a bunch of racist teenagers. Come on, I am very friendly to everybody. I am not a racist police officer, I am just a rookie.
- Young Marcus Queen: So I am. A officer.
- Young Marcus Queen: (takes a moment) Officer Marcus Queen.
- Young Dallas Parker: Dallas, Officer Dallas Parker.
- Young Marcus Queen: Named after that show?
- Young Dallas Parker: I wish but no. I was named after a city in Texas where my mom grew up before she met my dad, got married, had four sons and then lost her life to cancer.
- Young Marcus Queen: I am really sorry. I lost my dad too. He was a police officer too and he was in wrong place at the wrong time.
- Young Dallas Parker: Your father is Officer Wesley Queen, I heard what happened to him.
- Young Marcus Queen: Yeah, they said I will ends up dead like my dad if I become police officer.
- Young Dallas Parker: But you're still standing.
- Young Marcus Queen: For now.
- Young Marcus Queen (to Tawny Thompson): Er... I got a question. How old are you?
- Tawny Thompson: Who wants to know?
- Young Marcus Queen: I just curious because my bodyguard think you are too young to become a reporter or get a boyfriend.
- Tawny Thompson: 22 and no, I don't look for any fun with anybody.
- Young Marcus Queen: I am just asking. I mean I think my bodyguard fancy you.
- Tawny Thompson: Tell him that I am not interested.
(Tawny walks away)
(After Joseph Morgan was shot to death)
(Parker and Queen holding their gun, looking around the warehouse, then looking at each other)
- Young Marcus Queen (to Dallas Parker): Hold on, what's that?
- Young Dallas Parker: My gun.
- Young Marcus Queen: Who pay the gun? Clint Eastwood?
- Young Dallas Parker: I did.
This episode is a flashback episode and it is 60 minute long - longest - episode ever of the series.
Dick Wolf explains why the flashback episode and Hartman's 200th episode is 60 minutes long because he wants to mainly exposed the episode in unusual way that no show ever done before.
In the beginning, the episode opens with a retro introduction of the show's title with 90s music - One by U2 - playing in the background and carry throughout the opening scene and no narrations. Dick Wolf explain the reason why the narration was axed in this episode because the episode wasn't involved around MCCIS in 1990s and it was beginning of a partnerships for two main characters.