The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.
With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
The show follows a crime, ususally adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court. Written by
Both Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) and Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell) played assistant district attorneys and, after leaving the show, returned and played defense attorneys. See more »
In a few Law & Order episodes Detective Briscoe will approach a drug dealer whom he will know has information valuable to the case, but the dealer will usually play dumb so Briscoe and his partner will frisks the dealer and find drugs, the cuffs come out and the dealer will spill his guts. This action is called the squeeze and the way it's done is illegal. The proper procedure is that after finding the drugs the Police are meant to arrest the dealer and bring him to the D.A's office for a plea-for-information deal. As only the D.A's have the authority to put the squeeze on as they will need proof of evidence in case the dealers testimony is needed in a court of Law. See more »
Some (but not all) episodes show a disclaimer emphasizing the fictional nature of the story just prior to the closing credits. This is particularly important on those episodes that were inspired by well-known real- life legal cases. See more »
This intense drama, now in its 15th season and still going strong, set the stage for ensemble drama, in which the cast plays a secondary role to the story. Law & Order, as originally conceived, drew the viewer into the process by which American law enforcement and litigation works, or doesn't, depending on the viewer's opinion. The first half-hour is devoted to the investigation of a crime, the second to its prosecution. Cases are made or lost by evidence, lack thereof, a technicality, or even judicial whim. Dick Wolf made it clear from day one that the cast was expendable; no prima donnas here. The first cast was all male, with one African-American. Wolf apparently caved to fan pressure for a more politically-correct spectrum, but it really didn't matter so long as the actors could carry the story forward. His best casting choice was Jerry Orbach, his worst Elisabeth Rohm, but with or without these people, the drama continues. In recent years, L&O has lost some of the grittiness that made it so compelling, and I do miss actors such as Steven Hill, Michael Moriarty, Chris Noth, Jill Hennessy and now Orbach, but the show is still far superior to the majority of what passes for prime-time programming. It only suffers in the rare episodes when a politically-correct message is pushed into the story, i.e., whenever it deviates from its original format of presenting how the criminal justice system works. Ignore the spinoffs; the original Law & Order is still the best.
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