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Reid Scott Made Law & Order Debut as Det. Vincent Riley With Deadly Consequences

The new detective didn't get off on the right foot with his partner, Det. Jalen Shaw.

By Jill Sederstrom

This is one partnership that got off to a rocky start. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 24 premiere of Law & Order Thursday, October 3 at 8/7c on NBC

Law & Order’s newest detective, Vincent Riley, played by Veep’s Reid Scott, initially didn’t see eye-to-eye with new partner, Detective Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks), after a tense interaction on the street with an armed suspect.

Fortunately, the two investigators found some common ground later in the Season 23 premiere after Riley dramatically saved Shaw’s life. 

RELATED: A New Detective is in Town! Reid Scott Plays Vincent Riley on Law & Order Season 23

Riley became Shaw's new partner after actor Jeffrey Donovan — who played Shaw's previous partner, Detective Cosgrove — didn't return for Season 23 of Law & Order.

What has Mehcad Brooks said about Reid Scott playing his new partner on Law & Order?

"Having a new partner is fantastic," Brooks told NBC Insider at a red carpet event leading up to the Season 23 premiere. "Reid Scott is an incredible actor. We’re lucky to have him. He’s the right choice. He and I have discussed at length about making the partnership the third character... And we’re having a great time.

"There’s a little more comedy, a little more conflict, and there’s some secrets," Brooks added. "He’s [Detective Riley] kind of on a redemptive track and he has some things to make up for and Shaw finds out a little late and that doesn’t go over too well, but we love conflict.”

Of Shaw's relationship with Riley, Brooks added, “We’re the odd couple, but at the same time, we’re so alike. We want the same things but we’re coming from such different worlds and different perspectives that it does cause for a lot of comedy, it does cause for some amiable conflict.”

The actor does, however, miss his former co-star and his character's ex-partner. “I have to say that we’re missing Jeffrey Donovan," Brooks added. "We miss him. We wish him well. And much success to him.”

Det Vincent Riley and Det Jalen Shaw on Law And Order epiode 2301

How did Detective Vincent Riley get started on Law & Order?

Fans were first introduced to Riley in Season 23, Episode 1 of Law & Order after a college president was found stabbed to death on the street.

After seeing a man who fit the description of a suspect in the president’s stabbing, Riley and Shaw chased the man down. 

When the man pulled out a knife, Shaw was quick to try to de-escalate the situation. “You’ve got to stop moving and put that knife down for your safety and ours, you understand what I’m saying?” he told the man.

When the nervous suspect failed to follow the detectives’ repeated orders to drop the weapon, Riley took a much more direct and aggressive approach. “Drop that knife or I will shoot you,” he said.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Law & Order Season 23

Still trying to de-escalate the tense situation, Shaw told Riley to “stand down,” adding, “Nobody needs to get shot tonight, right?” 

But Riley only doubled down on the warning. “Put down that knife or I will shoot you!,” he said.

As the standoff continued, Shaw suddenly charged the suspect, getting him to drop the weapon and restraining him without anyone getting hurt. But the brazen move didn’t sit well with Riley, who confronted his new partner. 

“Hey man, don’t ever do that again... play the hero like that, on my tab,” he said before angrily walking away.

Det Vincent Riley on Law And Order epiode 2301

Vincent Riley and Jalen Shaw shared a heart-to-heart on Law & Order Season 23, Episode 1

Det. Jalen Shaw on Law and Order

When both men had cooled down, Shaw tried to explain his reasoning.

“Look Riley, I just want to talk to you about the other night,” he said as they walked to interview a suspect in the murder. “I didn’t mean to step on your toes, I’m just always going to try to de-escalate the situation, that’s it. I don’t want to see another young brother get popped.” 

The explanation resonated with Riley, but he also had his own take on the situation.

“Yeah, I get that. I do and I appreciate that, but I mean, you know, things happen out here so fast,” Riley replied. “You just can’t have someone else’s voice in your head.” 

RELATED: Everything to Know About the Law & Order Theme Song

As the investigation continued into the college president’s death, which they learned was linked to ongoing fighting on the campus about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the detectives found themselves in an eerily similar situation to the opening scene.

How did Detective Vincent Riley save Jalen Shaw’s life on Law & Order Season 23, Episode 1?

After an angry former college professor and supporter of Israel shot a celebrity college student and actress speaking at a rally to support Palestine, Riley and Shaw chased him down on the streets. When they cornered him, the professor pulled out a gun and the detectives slipped into the same roles they had played out before. 

“I need you to put the gun down,” Shaw instructed the gunman. 

“Drop the gun or I will shoot you,” a more-direct Riley shouted. “Drop the gun!”

The former professor then raises the gun and points it at Shaw, but Riley quickly fires off two shots, striking the gunman and killing him. The sudden turn of events took Shaw by surprise and he thanked Riley for saving his life, telling him “I appreciate you.” 

As for Riley, it seems he may not be the trigger-happy partner Shaw feared he was.

“I never shot anyone before,” a shocked Riley said before Shaw patted him on the back.

Reid Scott as Detective Vincent Riley for Law And Order Season 23

To find out how the dynamic between the new partners will continue to play out, tune in to Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC or stream it the next day on Peacock.

—Reporting by Stephanie Gomulka