Tuesday, June 01, 2010

LAW Practice

Just back after a very busy week in Hollywood working on a new project that you'll hopefully hear more about soon.  In between prepping, planning, and shooting, there was some downtime too, and when I wasn't catching a flick in theaters (including Prince of Persia, for which I should have a review up tomorrow), I was busy getting my Mr. Boy cohorts hopelessly hooked on the entire Law & Order catalog.

Of course, with the preponderance of reruns littering the cable landscape, there's rarely a moment when some iteration of the brand isn't playing, so it's pretty hard not to get hooked.  Once USA's Special Victims Unit marathon kicked in this past Memorial Day, it was all over for Team Boy.  I'd offered the first hit and created a couple of junkies.  That addictiveness is what powers the franchise's loyalty -- whether SVU, CI, UK, or OG -- and it's why the Los Angeles transplant will probably enjoy just as healthy a lifespan as its siblings (notwithstanding 2005's there-and-gone Trial By Jury).

The New York-set original is still being mourned by its many fans though, among them NYC's acting and tourism industry, with both groups having reaped significant dividends from the show's considerable footprint.  This New York Times piece helps contextualize Law & Order with the East Coast metropolis it both reflected and affected for the last two decades, also summing up how its studied contrast with contemporary TV crimestoppers helped assure its immortality:
The show bypassed the kitchen-sink realism of Hill Street Blues and the operatic fatalism of Homicide: Life on the Street. Its detectives, Logan, Briscoe and the rest, didn’t beat up suspects, take bribes or jump into bed with victims. Instead they interviewed suspects, read them their rights (mostly), waited for ballistic reports and checked their math.

They were model 1990s cops — cool, professional and interchangeable — and as far from the tragic, tortured cops of NYPD Blue as Sherlock Holmes is from an English bobby.

“It was optimistic about the people in the criminal justice system,” [Writer Ed] Zuckerman said. “They were people with ability and people of good conscience dedicated to protecting New York."
 So simple, and yet, as Dick Wolf's bank account would no doubt attest, so effective.

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