From point of view of the Los Angeles police detectives who investigate crimes and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Detective Tomas 'TJ' Jaruszalski (22 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Lieutenant Arleen Gonzalez (21 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Ricardo Morales (16 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Deputy D.A. Jonah Dekker (16 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Detective Rex Winters (14 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Miwako Nishizawa (10 episodes, 2010-2011)
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From point of view of the Los Angeles police detectives who investigate crimes and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.

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29 September 2010 (USA)  »

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Law & Order: LA  »

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16:9 HD
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Every episode is named after the location in Los Angeles County in which the crime took place. See more »

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Follows Exiled (1998) See more »

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By far the weakest of the Law and Order incarnations
17 August 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A shame because the original Law and Order is a big personal favourite, Criminal Intent and the UK version are almost as good and since re-watching I have a lot more respect for Special Victims Unit. While Trial by Jury and Conviction (another Dick Wolf show) were short-lived (also 1 season and with fewer episodes than this), had a slow start and had their flaws they did get better and deserved a fairer chance.

Law and Order: Los Angeles also got off to a slow start and while it did get slightly better with the re-tooling, it never completely grabbed me. A major part of the comparatively fewer ratings was bad timing, with it starting so soon after the original Law and Order and Criminal Intent ended, the time slot change after the re-tooling and with the continuation of Special Victims Unit with good ratings. But another big problem was that the show lacked the other incarnations' grittiness, their tension and the stories and characters were not as interesting or well-written.

Law and Order: Los Angeles does have things that made it watchable. Los Angeles does look striking, and there are some lovely, inventive camera shots throughout the series. The acting was very uneven, but the magnetic charisma of Alfred Molina, the intensely cool Corey Stoll ( or at least in the later episodes, who shares decent chemistry with Molina, he was a little bland with Ulrich) and authoritative Rachel Ticotin stands out as good. The finale is gripping, and it was admirable trying to give Winters some back-story, even if there are back-stories very similar to his and written more compellingly.

However, Skeet Ulrich seemed wooden and fatigued at first and even when brought back it felt like Molina and Stoll had grown into the roles far more effectively, he did like Stoll bring some cool deadpan irony later on. Terrence Howard never overcomes the tendency to mumble some of his lines or come over as more a preacher than a DA. One of the bright spots of the later Law and Order seasons, Alana De La Garza does her best and has her charm, but isn't used enough, and those who (and their characters) were dropped from the show midseason never seemed comfortable and even in the episodes they appeared in never had enough time to shine, Peter Coyote in particular is not memorable in the slightest. The characters are never fully developed and are pretty dully written in most cases, coming really coming alive in the chemistry between Molina and Stoll and of all the characters the only one where any effort is made to develop is Winters, whereas in comparison we learn very little about TJ. All the secondary characters are broadly written and characterised stereotypes, especially in the first episode.

The writing and story lines, in all fairness, do work against them. The writing here is not as intelligent or gritty, instead feeling on-the-surface and a mixture of bland in the first half of the episodes and heavy-handed in the latter half, also offering a very glossy, over-simplified and idealistic view of Los Angeles itself. The story lines often do, especially in the early part of the show, feel like they were lifted out of the headlines (some of which not being that interesting), except we are given the basic facts and a good deal of exposition but rarely any depth or emotional investment, or even a sense of the crimes' circumstances and the moral dilemmas which Law and Order at its best excelled particularly well in. The other Law and Order shows handle the procedure elements of the concept much better, mainly because of better casting, better writing and more compelling story lines, Law and Order: Los Angeles focuses too much on it and presents it blandly and with little tension. To be fair it does get slightly better after the re-tooling, thanks to better chemistry and a little more tension, but the numerous casting and character changes midseason take some getting used to and do cause some confusion (especially with Morales' very improbable demotion and the handling of Winters' character, neither of which given any explanation, the only explanation I can give for the latter is the episodes being ordered wrong).

Apart from some nice shots, some rich colours and some inventively done shots, a grittier look would have suited the tone of the series much better, because often the series just looked too slick and too glossy. It was like seeing a little-less-flashy version of CSI: Miami, than another Law and Order incarnation, too far removed to what is used to with Law and Order and it doesn't fit the tone. As for the music, it is so bland to the point it's almost non-existent, it is certainly the only Law and Order incarnation where this reviewer cannot remember the theme tune at all.

Overall, not an awful show and did have some good points, but never really warmed to it, the weakest of the Law and Order shows easily. Have been known to defend series that were short-lived, but while in recent memory it is not as disappointing as Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour (this show at least had moments, whereas that show never took off) it is not that hard to see why this was short-lived, and this is both because of timing and the quality of the show itself. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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