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.
Briscoe and Green catch three murder cases and one kidnapping on the same day, and one murder is tied to a fourth murder which happened ten years ago. Each case apparently involves domestic disputes ...
The series shows the workings of the judicial system, beginning with the arraignment and continuing through the lawyers process of building a case, investigating leads and preparing witnesses and defendants for trial.
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
The show was known for underplaying the background stories of its characters. During the 1995-96 season, hints were dropped that the characters of Jack McCoy and Claire Kincaid were lovers (a fact confirmed in a later episode). Many fans enjoy spotting where and when these subtle hints occur in each episode. However, when Elisabeth Röhm's character Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn came out as gay in her very last line on the show (after she is fired, Southerlyn asks, "Is this because I'm a lesbian?") after absolutely no other indication of her character's sexual orientation had been given during her 4 years on the show, the writers came in for widespread derision from TV critics (including Slate's Dana Stevens, USA Today's Robert Bianco, and Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle) and on internet message boards for using the revelation of her orientation for its shock value instead of allowing it to be any part of her character. See more »
Throughout the series members of the New York Supreme Court (which is a trial court) are referred to as "Judge" when in reality they are referred to as "Justice". Only members of the New York Court of Appeal (the state's highest court) are called "Judge". See more »
Law And Order is a testament to the intelligence of the American viewing public that if police drama and courtroom drama is presented intelligently doesn't need crazy car chases nor choreographed police shootouts to become a hit. It has stayed at the top of the viewing public's taste because of the intelligent way it presents the criminal justice system and the issues of the day.
The typical Law And Order episode will have a murders the cops will investigate and arrest their suspect and then the District Attorney will take over. The ADA be it Michael Moriarty, Sam Waterston, or Linus Roache will have some obstacle tossed his way by smart defense lawyering or a judge that will hinder the prosecution. They will have to overcome it and most of the time they do. But not always, defense lawyers do win, it's why they command the fees they do and folks this is not Perry Mason.
The show's concept has struck a resonating tone with the public, it has to be the concept because no other show in the history of television drama has undergone as many cast changes as Law And Order. Even the boss has changed with New York County having four District Attorneys in the time of the show with Steven Hill, Dianne Weist, Fred DaltonThompson and now Sam Waterston moved up through the ranks. Hill was clearly based on the District Attorney in Manhattan for almost 40 years Robert Morgenthau.
The police are also an interesting lot. I think the show really lost something when Jerry Orbach left and died. Lennie Briscoe had the map of New York written across his face and I used to live for Orbach delivering Briscoe's cynical, but uncanny observations about life and love. There were good actors before and after Orbach, but none ever really got the essence of New York in their character.
Three regulars have died on the show, ADAs Jill Eikenberry and Annie Parisse, and Detective George Dzundza. Two of the ADAs Richard Brooks and Carey Lowell have become defense attorneys and have come back to the show on a few occasions. One I've been waiting to come back as a defense attorney was Elizabeth Rohm. When Fred Dalton Thompson fired Rohm and said she was more suitable as a defense attorney and after she confessed that she was a lesbian, I've been waiting for her return.
One of the other things I liked about the show was the steady semi-regular cast of defense attorneys who would appear now and then. Of the group I liked the late George Grizzard, Tovah Feldshuh, and Bob Dishy. And it was a special episode indeed when the late William Kunstler did a cameo role to defend a Sixties radical who was now in custody.
This show spun two successful other Law And Order franchises, Special Victims and Criminal Intent. Those shows have their points, but I think Law And Order sticks far more to reality than the others. Both the two spin-offs are likely to come up with some really wacky scenarios that go far beyond the scope of the shows.
This show could run forever as it apparently isn't dependent on any one player to succeed. And it has a never ending supply of plots taken from real life. What could be better?
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