I love the television show, Law & Order (the original). SVU’s okay, and Criminal Intent’s annoying, but gimme the straight-up Law & Order, and you’ve got a fan in me.

My mom discovered it for me in the early 90s: I remember her commenting that it was a different kind of cops-and-law-show because the characters behaved much more like real people than usual.

Upon adopting the show myself a couple years later, I was riveted, especially by the legal battles, which seemed to focus on the nitty gritty details of the American legal system that must be navigated in order to prove a villain guilty. (I can’t prove that the show is legally accurate, but I can suspect it on the basis that, when I took a community college law course for interest’s sake, the lawyer-instructor claimed it was the most realistic law show on television.)

So, when it was announced that Law & Order: UK was coming to a television near me, I was intrigued: all the law and order I wanted, plus cool accents (and hairstyles) on the barristers. But then I learned that, as with the transition of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s The Office from Slough, Britain, to Scranton, USA, the first several episodes of the citizenship-changing show would have scripts that would mirror almost exactly plots of the original show. This displeased me because:

(A) to my taste, it didn’t work out for The Office as the characters behaved differently in those first few episodes than their true original natures once the brilliant writers were free to give them original thoughts;

(B) I was craving new L&O adventures instead of redos of previous adventures (after all, those beloved re-runs are already always available when I need them); and

(C) my suspension of disbelief would be damaged by parallel universes wherein the characters had identical stories (and so, instead of following a plot for turns of law, I would simply be comparing it to its clone story).

So I lost interest in Law & Order: UK.

But, yesterday, on a random of strike of my remote, I happened across the show and I decided to honour it with a few minutes of my time (it was near the episode’s conclusion, anyway). It was indeed a familiar plot, and a very good one, too, and so I watched to what I thought was the signature Law & Order final comment.

(Usually, at the end of each show, one of the good guys says something pithy or profound to leave us pondering as the haunting credit “Executive Producer Dick Wolf” arrives on a dark background. For instance, there was the time that Assistant District Attorney, Ben Stone, was asked if he’d accept a dinner invitation from his recently beaten, but always condescending rival, and Ben (my hero) retorted, “Only if he orders crow”.)

But, on this episode of Law & Order: UK, the grand concluding line was not followed by an executive producing boast! Instead, we spent a good minute watching one of the characters wander around London with music playing in her background. Um, no, Law & Order is not a music video. I’m sure the character had some interesting thoughts about the case she’d recently lost, but since I couldn’t read her mind, watching her stoic face was not useful to me.

Moreover, and more importantly, given that this was a copy of an original Law & Order episode, they must have had to cut some of the brilliant details of the parent show in order to add in the walk of the pensive! No!

I may give L&O: UK another chance (I might even consider a full episode), but they’ll have to eat crow first. (Hmm, it sounded better when Ben said it).

Executive Producer Seth McDonough

4 thoughts on “LAW & WANDER”

  1. Heh, your generously musing that *perhaps* (“pah-haps” to Jane Austin fans) you’ll give the show another shot by watching an episode in its entirety reminds me of my complete lambasting of The Big Bang theory, despite never having watched even a second of it.

    Actually doing your due diligence before vomiting out your opinion is overrated.

  2. I agree that “due diligence” before offering up one’s opinion may be overrated (thank you for the lovely metaphor), but in this case the point is moot since no further diligence was due. The fact that a “Law & Order” episode concluded with (in effect) a one-minute music video demonstrated, on its face, that the UK producers do not yet understand the nature of how my “Law & Order” works. This is not “Law & Order: Glee”: if it were, then there was entirely not enough singing and dancing in the show.

  3. This thread reminded me of a funny line I just read by Dan Savage who writes the Savage Love column in the Georgia Straight (& many other publications):

    When asnwering a woman seeking advice about “No Shave November” he said

    “I know nothing about No Shave November-but I’m an American, and we don’t let ignorance stop us from forming opinions. So I whole-heartedly endorse No Shave November, its mission, and women’s participation in it.”

  4. Thank, VMac. Gotta love the Dan Savage! – and I don’t even know who he is. All right, that’s a lie, but it would have made my reply much more ironic; instead, I can only say that Dan Savage, in his excellent humour, knows what he’s doing. He blankly agreed with this cause, I suspect, because it probably sounded to him like something he would support, but which he perhaps didn’t feel like researching. Thus, he’s covered if it turns out to be deeply flawed. Of course, I’m saying this without any basis for my claim – which brings us back to that original irony I was aiming for! 😉

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