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TV Review: Law & Order: Los Angeles

TV Review: Law & Order: Los Angeles

If you have any interest in law school, or if you’ve ever owned a television, then you have seen a few episodes of Law & Order. While dozens of wannabe network spin-offs have tried to replicate its magic, few have come close. I mean, the show aired for TWENTY seasons, giving us 456 episodes where we could follow along as complex capital crimes were investigated and prosecuted in a tidy 44 minutes.

I have no doubt that there are some lawyers out there today who went to law school mainly because they were inspired by Jack McCoy, the most bad-ass fictional district attorney of all time. If you watched any Law & Order, you know that defense attorneys going up against Mr. McCoy had no chance. No matter how many times they would remind their clients of their 5th Amendment rights, there was still a 50% chance that Jack was going to harass the defendant until they blew a gasket and confessed to murder right on the stand. I mean who does that? He’s so convincing as a DA, I have a theory that Jack McCoy actually plays Sam Waterston, and not the other way around.

Jack taught us that being a lawyer is hard work. Sometimes, he would have to stay up until 3 AM eating Chinese food and studying cases. The only help he ever got was from whatever 25 year-old supermodel was currently the assistant DA, Angie Harmon or Elisabeth Rohm. So, you can understand my disappointment when I heard NBC was canceling Law & Order after 20 seasons. Then, you can imagine my excitement when I heard there was going to be a Law & Order: Los Angeles. This roller-coaster of emotion eventually prompted me to watch about three episodes of the new “west coast” Law & Order, and then write this television review.

My main gripe with Law & Order: Los Angeles is the same criticism I have with many network crime dramas. The original L&O had a diverse range of crimes and story lines. Every time that a network attaches a city to a television show, there tend to be some absurd patterns that emerge. After watching a few episodes of CSI: Miami it quickly became apparent that the only crimes that happen in Miami involve Cuban cocaine-smugglers or underground rings of alligator fighters.

One episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles involved a retired pro-surf legend who was murdered in a medical marijuana facility. Really? The only thing that would make it more ridiculous is if the murderer used a director’s clapboard as his weapon before fleeing to Disneyland for political asylum. The other episode I watched was about the young “Bling Ring” of thieves, who target the homes of Hollywood celebrities. It’s all fun and games until one of them commits murder.

For the most part, I usually stay away from network TV, but this latest spin-off of Law & Order is still better than most of the stuff out there. Detectives Winters and Jarusalzski (Jarusalzski?) can’t compete with the original cast of detectives, and, understandably, they didn’t even try to find an adequate replacement for Jack McCoy (instead, they alternate prosecutors). Ultimately, if you’re in the mood for an hour of courtroom drama TV, I would suggest searching for one of the 456 reruns of the original L&O that are aired around the clock on about fifteen different cable networks.