Law & Order: LA (2010–2011)
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They are also scouting out and actually using more locations as they did in N.Y. so you don't feel confined to the same old places or inside a studio's back lot. In the last episode, I counted about 15 non-studio locations which really upped the ante as far as quality of story and realism of plot.
I also noticed they brought in some veteran screenwriters from the recently canceled L&O and are starting to "rip from the headlines" more. Not to mention adding the beautiful Alana De La Garza to the ADA's office (they never did explain her transplantation to L.A. but that's par for the course with this franchise). We just need the extraordinary writer Rene Balcer to pen a few scripts and we're halfway home.
As for Alana, they desperately need to give her more lines. She's not just a pretty face but a very good actress. She was always one to get up in someone's face or talk back to some pushy witness or suspect (or cop!).
A guest visit from Linus Roache or Lupo or Anderson or Epatha would be gimmicky but a lot of fun. Who cares? It's T.V. Does anyone really believe a murder trial starts and ends in less than a month? Real murder cases take years. But on T.V. you have to speed things up or you end up with a show like Murder One or viewers changing the channel. Too bad they can't find an L&O franchise for Lupo.
The East Pasadena episode is a perfect example of "headline ripping" that actually happened to one Calif. principality, then utilizing another incident that actually happened in Florida where a man went to a city council meeting waving a gun and finally shot himself, and then tying it all together with a murder mystery.
I'm especially glad to see Mr. Ulrich gone (shot! killed! never to return!) and Molina taking his place. Whilst Ulrich is an O.K. actor, half the time his eyes were bloodshot and he looked very tired and fatigued. I don't think the pace of T.V. sits well with his move schedule metabolism.
Molina is a veteran actor and it shows. He is literally the anchor for the show now. Let's hope he doesn't depart prematurely. And they need a prominent out gay character other than a shrink like on SVU.
And Corey Stoll looks so much better without the 'stache it's amazing. He'll be one of People magazine's hottest men of the year in no time (barring the show's cancellation). Having played second fiddle in so many shows, it's about time he was recognized for his talent.
Rachel Ticotin, who still looks great since Total Recall, makes a tough but charming Lieutenant. Still haven't figured out the role of the DA played ephemerally by Peter Coyote. He's simply not memorable and not sure what his function is other than to bark at his subordinates.
With all the above being said, I'm very excited about the rest of the season and hope it continues to deliver above-excellent scripts and performances to make up for the horrible first half of the year. Worst Episodes Ever I doubt L&O: LA will have the staying power of the original L&O, and NBC (now owned by Kabletown), is infamous for putting garbage on T.V. or doubling-up on what they consider a good thing (read: the Today show went from 2 hours to 4 to 5 to ?). Maybe Katie Couric can do the sixth and seventh hours! I'd like to see more episodes about the intricacies of Calif. law and business practices as they've done in a few episodes and on the original L&O. I always thought New York was a nanny state but Calif. makes N.Y. look like their babysitter's dead (don't tell Mom or Bloomberg!). I can now understand why so many businesses are fleeing CA for points East, and why people are moving to other states where the cost of living isn't so crippling.
So if you gave up on the show, give it another shot. I don't believe you'll be disappointed and like me will look forward to next week's episode. Who knows, maybe they'll shoot a couple of episodes during California's rainy season for a change of outdoor atmosphere. Flooding, rampage, riots, and of course, a floater.
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.
The plot was boring and predictable. The acting was wretched. The fake paparazzi with all the cameras clicking was so overdone and looked so cheesy.
I won't be wasting my DVR space on this one.
I am hoping the show gets better over the season as it does have a lot of promise to it. The acting is good, I just think the storytelling needs some work. I will continue to watch this season in hope it gets better.
Well, I certainly can delete that from my Tivo!
The stories are interesting always a little bit easy. Simple very direct crime stories and concentration on the prosecution and attorney's vision of things. It will not surprise Americans, but it will surprise even flabbergast anyone from another judicial system. To avoid as many court cases as possible deals are encouraged. Plead guilty for leniency and be a witness against other culprits to get a deal and total or partial immunity. Where is justice?
That explains some cases of self-justice: take justice in your own hands and get your vengeance performed in the name of self-defense. At least that is sustainable: you get the fair result you expect and it encourages the process to go on forever. You add to that the fact that there are more crimes in Los Angeles than in New York and you have the key to the lackluster series. Exceptional people in Los Angeles are the innocent and law abiding people. All the others are all criminals, crooked individuals and many other things. Too much concentration on hookers and other characters of this night time orgasmic life tied up to drugs makes it slightly humdrum.
The cases are just interesting but never really fascinating and the procedure is always sketchy. Do they ever read the Miranda rights to the people they arrest? Not once. Slightly more interesting about court procedure, but still quite sketchy.
That's probably why it was not stillborn but it died of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There is a severe competition on this market of thrillers and detective or police cases. Even J.K. Rowling writes some, under a male name though: she must be ashamed of her stooping so low to conquer an audience, when she had one anyway with Harry Potter.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
The series has one big problem. The producers take the audience for idiots. In episode 9, detective Winters, played by Skeet Ulrich, is murdered. And in a way that is impossible to rewrite later as corpse misidentified or some other plot trick. Also deputy DA Morales, Alfred Molina, is demoted back to being detective Morales. Yet in episode 17 Winters magically is back, no explanation! And further in episode 18 Winters is still there and Morales is now deputy DA again. Again there is no explanation. Not even a lame attempt by putting up one of those ubiquitous Law & Order text screens with "one year ago".
I stopped watching the show at that point. Save yourself frustration, do not bother starting this show. If not for the good quality of the first 16 episodes I would have given this show just a 1 out of 10.
People say this was not intended to be like the original L&O, but what is the point of this show then? A fresh crime show, yeah right.
I tried to give this show a chance but it lacks in so many things which made the original so appealing to the fans, and there was a lot.
The detectives seem too " LA Confidential " tough guy like. And the DA and ADAs seem, except maybe for Molina, out of place. The DA doesn't seem like a DA, not tough enough IMO. I think the writers are doing a poor job of giving the DA his own identitiy or personality unique to him.......like the other DAs of the shows have.
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
The acting is okay at best, but we can't relate to any of the characters even after a few shows. You can tell they (NBC and Dick Wolf) are struggling, with many cast changes already! They (NBC) need to get the original, exceptional cast together back again in New York. Bring back the original Law and Order! Not this diluted, flavourless, and almost boring version. It feels like a cheap knock-off not worthy of the Law & Order title. Dick Wolf should be ashamed for producing this level of crap when compared to the extreme high quality of the original show.
Let's hope someone in charge will wake-up and realize the blunder they've made in cancelling the original, only to replace it with this...
NOTHING works. First the "Law" side: Skeet Ulrich shuffles around so nervously in every scene that it's hard to believe this guy could have possibly impressed anyone to rise through the ranks of the LAPD and make detective, while Corey Stoll looks like he stepped right out of "Barney Miller" with his smarmy acting and porn-star mustache. Horrible. And the "Order"? NOTHING about Regina Hall says "law school grad" or "prosecutor". Just plain bad casting. And Alfred Molina? God bless him, he tried, he really tried to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but he just wasn't given enough quality material for us to care one way or the other. Now this week it's Terrence Howard's turn although I fear he'll suffer much the same fate as Al. And as someone else had pointed out, the sets and cinematography are so bright and flashy, a cursory glance at the show would never lead you to believe that this was part of the "L&O" franchise. The writing, dialog and acting was all paint-by-numbers, a claim that you could NEVER make about the original or its 2 successful spin-offs.
With L&O gone and "L&O: Criminal Intent" right behind it, I'm predicting that "L&O: SVU" will wind up being the standard bearer by default, since I don't foresee L&O: LA making it past a half season, much less a full one if the series continues in this vein. Time for Dick Wolf to pack it in, walk away and accept his place in the annals of TV history rather than continue unleashing steaming piles of crap like this and sullying the greatness of the L&O franchise.
UPDATE: all you haters can keep on hating my review. The truth is that this show was garbage and its cancellation has proved that. Boo hoo.