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Samantha Maroun Was Accused of Something Intense on the Latest Law & Order

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi) nearly put her job on the line while prosecuting a case.

By Jill Sederstrom

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun nearly let memories of her past jeopardize her future with the Manhattan DA’s office while working an emotionally-charged case on Law & Order

What did Nolan Price accuse Samantha Maroun of on Law & Order?

Maroun, portrayed by Odelya Halevi, was accused by her colleague Nolan Price in Season 23, Episode 9 of nearly “intentionally throwing the case” after lobbing “softball” questions to a Ukrainian refugee on trial for murder, who had been scarred by losing her husband and young son in a bombing at her Kyiv home. 

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The woman’s story hit close to home for Maroun, whose own parents and grandparents fled Lebanon during a civil war. The trauma never left them and influenced how they reacted even after finding safety in the United States.

With her job on the line and a forceful ultimatum delivered by Executive Assistant District Attorney Price (Hugh Dancy) mid-trial, Maroun ultimately was able to put her own personal feelings aside to bring home a conviction. 

Ada Samantha Maroun on Law And Order episode 2309

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

The case began after a former congressional aide was found brutally murdered inside her home, alongside her husband, who was still clinging to life after being bashed in the head with a hammer.

Detectives Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks) and Vincent Riley (Reid Scott) discovered that at the time of the murder, the couple had hired a Ukrainian woman to be their surrogate. After she was impregnated with their embryo and moved into their home, a “baby broker,” who had arranged the set up found another couple willing to pay more for the baby and the surrogate agreed to cash in. She was trying to secretly move out when the first couple — whose baby she was carrying — returned home from dinner, caught her and confronted her.

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The surrogate grabbed a hammer and brutally attacked them both before fleeing to seek refuge with the wealthier couple. 

Although the surrogate was initially planning to plead not guilty, she changed her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity as the evidence against her mounted. Her defense attorney argued that the trauma of seeing her husband decapitated and her infant son killed right in front of her during the war in Ukraine left her with debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

A psychiatrist specializing in the “neurobiology of trauma” who testified for the defense said on the stand that PTSD left the surrogate with flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive thoughts that could have caused her to be more impulsive and have more severe responses to stress. She argued the surrogate may have been unable to understand the wrongfulness of her actions during the frenzied attack.

Ada Samantha Maroun and Ada Nolan Price on Law And Order episode 2309

Samantha Maroun revealed details about her family

The suspect’s traumatic past brought sympathy from Maroun, who believed the suspect may have been acting in “survival mode.” 

“My parents and grandparents fled Lebanon during the civil war and I saw what it did to them,” she told Nolan and her boss, District Attorney Nicholas Baxter (Tony Goldwyn).

But Price didn’t see the past trauma as a justification for murder. 

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“I’m sure they went through hell, but they didn’t turn around and bludgeon innocent people to death with a hammer,” he said.

 “All I’m saying is that the trauma exists and it has a residual effect,” Maroun replied. 

Da Nicholas Baxter Ada Samantha Maroun and Ada Nolan Price on Law And Order episode 2309

District Attorney Baxter told Maroun she needs to "step up"

Given the suspect’s traumatic past, Baxter instructed his team to try to make a deal with the defendant. But negotiations fell apart after the suspect turned down an offer to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a 15-year sentence. She only wanted to serve five years behind bars, a concession the prosecution wasn’t willing to make. 

With the trial scheduled to proceed, Baxter asked Maroun to tackle the suspect’s cross-examination. 

“Because I’m a woman?,” she asked. 

“No,” he replied. “You’ve told me about your family’s history. I think you have unique insight into [the suspect]’s backstory and her psyche.” 

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Maroun explained that she wasn’t sure she was “comfortable” with her boss’ reasoning, but Baxter pushed back. 

“I’m not asking you do anything unethical or illegal,” he said. “Go into the courtroom and do your job. You’re part of the team and you need to step up.”

Yet, once in the courtroom, Maroun was visibly torn by her boss' directive and seemed to be only asking questions that were sympathetic to the suspect.

Ada Samantha Maroun and Ada Nolan Price on Law And Order episode 2309

Nolan Price asked Samantha Maroun if she's "intentionally throwing the case"

Price intervened and told her to ask for a recess “now.”

“What the hell’s going on? You’re lobbing them softballs. Are you intentionally throwing the case?,” he fumed. 

Maroun insisted she was “doing the best I can,” while at the same time admitting her own past was hindering her ability to be objective. 

“One of my earliest childhood memories, it was this massive power outage and the whole city went dark. My father instinctively packed our bags, got us all in the car,” she explained. “My family was halfway to Canada when the lights went back on. My point is, while other people were lighting candles and eating ice cream from the freezer, my parents believed we were under attack.”

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While Price was sympathetic to her predicament, he reminded her that she worked for the district attorney’s office and needed to put her own feelings aside. 

“You and I, we serve at the pleasure of the district attorney,” he said. “We are part of his team. When push comes to shove, he calls the shots. So you have two choices: tender your resignation or figure out a way to rise to the occasion.”

With a renewed sense of purpose, Maroun returned to the courtroom and asked the difficult questions necessary to secure a guilty verdict. 

“Nice work,” Price told her after the verdict was announced.

To keep up on all the drama, watch Law & Order Thursdays at 8/7c p.m. on NBC or stream new episodes the next day on Peacock.