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The murder of the former wife of State Senator Harry Hamlin brings
Jesse Martin and Milena Govich to investigate. But before the
investigation is through they have a second murder of one of Hamlin's
family, that of his daughter by a first marriage.
What was interesting about this was that the detectives on their way to pick Hamlin up see squad cars responding to a 911 call and they come in just in time to see Hamlin with a bloody knife standing over his dead daughter. Now if this was Perry Mason, Raymond Burr would then prove that it could not have been Hamlin. But 99 times out of a 100 you've got the doer cold.
That does not stop Hamlin though who is a politician used to spinning things and he and Govich have some history where she went gangbusters on him during the first interrogation. That gives his lawyer enough to spin things his way or attempt to.
By the way his lawyer is Jeremy Sisto who turned out to be Govich's successor. There was precedent for that as Jerry Orbach also played a defense lawyer in an episode of Law And Order and then succeeded Paul Sorvino.
This episode strained some credibility, still it's not too bad a story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The above comment (by Jordan Nookeen) comes across strongly sexist and
vaguely ridiculous. He is correct in that The Family Hour is not in the
list of top episodes of L&O. The writing was just a little more than
middle-of-the-road, the characters were slightly simplistic and the
situations were on the obvious side.
However, these qualities are not singular to this episode. Hell, when a fiction-serial show has been on the air for the better part of two decades episodes are bound to run the full gamut: the superb, the sublime, the incredible, the mediocre, the stupid, the ignorant, the intelligent. If a show is on for long enough, you can't avoid it.
Milena Govich was an inspired choice and I wish we could have seen more of her. She was a rookie detective; beyond that she had skipped huge amounts of experience and education because of the extraordinary circumstances of her gold shield. Comparing her to Jerry Orbach's character is beyond unfair. He was an old hat at the job by the time Lennie Briscoe walked onto the scene in '91. Nina Cassidy had a lot to learn before she could become a good detective. Twenty-plus years of experience versus the eight months that Det. Cassidy had under her belt? No contest.
As for these comments: "I can understand hiring a sexy actress to play a DA...Appearance of a good looking woman makes it more enjoyable...What characteristics do you think about when you hear the words: police homicide detective? I would say it should be a prick like Jerry Orbach's character (Detective Lennie Briscoe), or some buffed up guy..." Excuse me? The only good homicide detectives are buffed up, powerful-looking men? I guess that just goes to prove that old point about "considering the source." I have a feeling ever female cop who ever wore a badge is standing up and giving you the finger.
And what about this comment? "But in 'Family Hour' episode, it really does not matter because we already know that she was an idiot, so whoever killed her did it for a reason." See, last time I checked, someone's being a complete jackass is not valid reason for murder. Otherwise there wouldn't be a politician left alive.
Consider the source, people.
i begin by saying i'm a big fan of L&O, having seen and enjoyed most of
the first 16 series. but something seems to have changed in series 17,
and taken the show from head and shoulders above the others down to
bordering on run of the mill with the rest.
milena govich cast as det nina cassady is a glaring and perhaps symbolic example. she appears to have been chosen for the sake of 'sexing up' the show. the only gravitas she has is in her push up bra (with the accompanying 3 open buttons of her top). and looking at her conduct as a detective, how did cassady ever get promotion to this illustrious unit of the NYPD? in episode 7 the suspect, under interrogation, blurts out and calls her 'sugar tits' - all very titillating, but L&O never used to call on this particular element of the movie maker's tool box.
i'm in england so we run a little behind the US screenings. we are just seeing series 17 now, and we've had the first 8 episodes. of those episodes, 3 have already had celebrity/youth orientated plot lines, with a sensationalist flavour. has the show decided to target a younger (and less discriminating) audience? the plot lines are less intricate, the legal issues have lost their fascinating convolutedness, the police section is more superficial, the characters have gone thinner, the scripts are weaker, and the acting has gone more watery too - partly on account of the weaker material. beside looking older, naturally, sam waterston looks tired - playing with less conviction - maybe because he's not convinced by the show any longer.
did money talk behind the scenes? too bad if it did, and maybe got it wrong into the bargain - maybe they should've stuck with their core, loyal audience of the first 16 years.
I begin by saying that I am a fan of Law and Order: The Original (LAO).
I have watched many episodes, and I was always amazed by how writers
were able to find a great topic, dilemmas, and construct suspense.
Every court session was written in a very realistic manner.
However, this episode "The Family Hour" cannot compare to the previous seasons' series and here is why: 1) Casting is terrible 2) Writing is terrible: weak dialog, bad action/dialog balance 3) Directing is awful 4) Poor soundtrack 5) Weak theme.
1) So, first, I was very upset about casting (in this whole season). I would really like to know whose idea it was to replace Dennis Farina (Detective Joe Fontana) with Milena Govich (Detective Nina Cassady). I can understand hiring a sexy actress to play a D.A. (e.g. Elisabeth Röhm - A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn). It's OK, I can understand it. Appearance of a good looking woman makes it more enjoyable. But, please do not turn Law and Order into Baywatch! I mean, I have nothing against Govich, she is a great looking woman, but it is not her role.
What characteristics do you think about when you hear the words: police homicide detective? I would say it should be a prick like Jerry Orbach's character (Detective Lennie Briscoe), or some buffed up guy, who would convince a suspect that he/she is guilty even when he/she is not only by looking at him/her. But Govich? The only thing I think about is that she is good looking. The problem is that she is too feminine for this role. She looks too delicate to play a detective on LAO. She just does not blend in. Sorry, but she is no Cagney or Lacey.
Second, the interaction between her and Jesse L. Martin (Detective Ed Green) just does not feel right. They are both similar, so we are aware what to expect from both of them. However, Martin and Farina were a perfect pare. We could not guess what they were going to comment on next, so we payed attention to each sentence. Their dialog was really funny.
2) What happened with witty dialog, fast-paced action, and interesting and controversial themes? First, dialog is really boring. Cut half of what they say and we would still learn as much. Second, camera work is terrible. Angles and characters' pauses are really not what I got used to in LAO. This is one of the reasons I do not watch other versions of LAO, there is too much blah-blah, and very little action.
3) Let's go back a little, some shots I saw in original LAO are really superb! For example, (I do not remember an episode title, but it was about a broker from NYSE who got killed) a shot begins with a camera moving through a shiny metallic surface reflecting a beautiful garden and then cutting the frame in two, and showing the detectives. We then see that it was an open trunk of an expensive car that produced this effect. It was a really cool shot. But if I would have seen this episode prior seeing any previous seasons, I would say what is this weird thing and would never watch it again.
4) No more music makes the scenes appear naked. Again, I compare it to previous seasons, so maybe I am just used to it, but it really does seem that something needs to be added in order to make the scenes move faster. Otherwise, they appear really boring.
5) This episode (The Family Hour) begins with a short scene that shows the personality flaws of a victim when she is still alive (basically she is being a pain in the rear end to everyone). After that, the shot immediately cuts to her dead body and the police examining the scene. OK guys, this is not Columbo! The specific trait of the whole series was that we get to learn about a victim after his/her murder. And then when the trial begins, we try to choose whose side we are on.
For example, who would we support: a dad who killed an insurance agent because he refused to pay for his daughter's medicine and by doing so signed a death penalty for her, or the insurance agent's family who lost their husband and dad. This IS an interesting dilemma. As we learn about the case, we are able to form our opinion about it. But in "Family Hour" episode, it really does not matter because we already know that she was an idiot, so whoever killed her did it for a reason.
It really feels that the funding was cut or something major happened that caused the production take place in fewer locations and with less action. Otherwise, it just does not make sense to me. I really hope that the producers and writers would consider turning back to the established guidelines, with no Baywatch or Columbo elements, but instead with serious drama, suspense and controversy.
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