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.
S. Epatha Merkerson,
Jesse L. Martin
The Naval Criminal Investigation Service's Office of Special Projects takes on the undercover work and the hard to crack cases in LA. Key agents are G. Callen and Sam Hanna, streets kids risen through the ranks.
An infamous 'psychic' abandons his public persona, outing himself as a fake, to focus on his work as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation in order to find "Red John," the madman who killed his wife and daughter.
Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll, two relatively unknown actors, make an intriguingly contrasting pair--one a handsome young family man with a quick mind and a nose for the hidden truth, the other older, single (possibly gay?), completely bald and endlessly patient, and bringing a profound knowledge of human nature to crime solving.
Here is a wealth of original ideas such as subtitling each episode with an area of Greater LA, which Dick Wolf knows intimately. The whole idea is to spotlight the differences between Los Angeles, a new city shaped by and built to suit the automobile, and centuries-old New York, a product of the age of sail.
There are some lyrical camera shots, almost elegiac, of the canyons and vistas of Los Angeles, of its suburbs-in-search-of-a-city lifestyle, of its public beaches, its palatial beachfront homes and its slums. Best of all is its exploration of human types, so varied yet so...well, so LA.
Alfred Molina in a recurring role as a trial prosecutor, is part Englishman, part Spaniard, he has no non-European ancestry at all. Yet he is believable as a boy of humble Latino origins who has risen high in public service. There are exciting guest stars, original yet believable plots with the "ripped from the headlines" aspect remaining an L&O trademark.
If this show fails it will be because of its harshly realistic view of gender. The first two episodes feature women who have killed without legal justification. There are other repugnant acts committed by women. L&O - SVU, this ain't!
What it is is a crime show with scripts that other great chronicler of Los Angeles Raymond Chandler might have written.
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