Law & Order True Crime (2017– )
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José Enrique and Kitty Menéndez spoiled their only two sons, and so when the murders were first made public there was no end of rumors who could be responsible for these two cold blooded execution style murders.
Unless you are under the age of 30, you may not be familiar with just how high profile these murders were at the time (1984) and the eventual trial by tabloid newspapers of the two sons Erik and Lyle Menéndez. I have seen the two earlier made for TV movies of the Menéndez murders both of which starred A-lister film stars.
In the 1994 TV movie "Honor Thy Father and Mother: The True Story of the Menendez Murders" it starred A-list actors James Farentino, and Jill Clayburgh, John Beck and Susan Blakely. In the second made for TV movie "Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills" starred Edward James Olmos, Beverly D'Angelo, and Damian Chapa.
This new 8 episode mini-series also has some A-list TV stars such as Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano of The Sopranos) and Chris Bauer (The Wire and also Third Watch). I am going to go out on a limb based on just watching the first episode that this mini series will be based on factual evidence and the court transcripts. Edie Falco plays a defense attorney named Leslie Abramson who seems to be very opinionated although in the opening episode she is not yet familiar with any of the case evidence, nor yet introduced to the two Menéndez brothers, Erik and Lyle.
A good benchmark in assessing if a mini-series is worth watching or not is if the episode(s) seem to end much quicker than you expected, or wanted it to. Such is the case with the opening episode of Law & Order: True Crime, it ended almost as quickly as the lives of José Enrique and Kitty Menéndez did. I give the opening episode a 7/10 rating and I will update my review after this mini-series has concluded.
Regardless, simply in terms of series entertainment, I found it slow and unexpectedly boring given the intriguing, disturbing nature of this high-profile family and case. It felt super contrived, which made it difficult to connect with the tragic, real-life characters and to their allegedly horrific story as it unfolded on the screen. The "boys", who were actually adults at 21 and 18 when they murdered their parents, shift between snooze-fest flat and over-the-top annoying as they try to play their emotionally complex characters. Writing? Acting? In my opinion, both. And, although Edie Falco probably did an excellent job portraying the aggressive, "always pushing the envelope" Leslie Abramson, the mini-series felt like its primary purpose was to ensure she attains sainthood, stat, rather than portray her as the passionate but very human, possibly deeply flawed real-life self as described in other accounts.
I'm a sucker for L&O and true crime dramas, but between the misrepresentation of and missing key facts about the "boys", the crime, and the trial, the "meh" pace and "meh" Menedez character portrayals, the fact that there were so many drawn out scenes focused on Leslie Abramson and her "flawless" passion and devotion to "her boys", I think the L&O franchise is capable of much better work.
The show follows the Menendez brothers whom were tried on national TV for brutally killing their parents.
(EDIT) The show gets better and better as the story develops. Characters are explored, deeper issues are addressed and the court drama intensifies. This show is absolutely excellent (END EDIT)
I just wish they hadn't called it Law and Order. I am not sure if this is a strategic marketing move whereby they try to make Law and Order a brand like NCIS and Chicago PD/FD and whatnot. This could have been a great series in itself.
And, yes ladies and gentlemen, spoiler! Good news! The poorest actor in TV history Ice T 'ain't innit'! He is not there to make stupid statements with a half convincing monotone reading-voice. Yeah!
This does NOT do that at all. It was as if the Menendez brothers themselves wrote the script. We have an overwhelmingly sympathetic portrayal of the brothers, with a dewy eyed Eric looking all handsome and tragic while we get a sickening amount of detail of ALLEGED assault presented as if it were bible truth.
The facts are quite different from what was presented in the series. Yes, Jose Menendez was a strict father and he may have subjected the boys to some abuse but he also might've been a deeply disappointed father who had realized early on he had given birth to two sociopaths. We can never know because the Menendez brothers brutally, premeditatedly and callously murdered both parents.
It presents the judge of the case as if he was biased when in truth he never should've allowed ANY of the allegations of abuse into the trial. They should've been left for the sentencing. What we get from the L&O series is a public damning the Menendez parents and the deification of Leslie Abramson. There are a number things factually wrong with this series. You can find those online.
I am really just short of saying 'shame on you' L&O for spending so much effort, money and time glorifying two men who committed such a monstrous crime. Hell with that, shame on you Law and Order. There, I said it.
It shows the whole drama from the prosecutor's side to the defendant's side. Like all shows connected to the Menendez case it leaves you wondering if the two boys were indeed ever molested. I for one do not believe they were ever molested but some disturbing things were going on in the family like photographing the two boy's genitals. That in itself is strange but does not necessarily indicate child molestation.
The drama does leave you wondering about that other issues such as if the family members could be believed in their testimony.
With OJ on their minds, the Law & Order people decides to do their own true crimes series. The Menendez brothers case certainly hits on a couple of the same concepts. The Law & Order "Dun Dun" does distract from its realism. It keeps reminding the viewer of its brand. I love Edie even with her crazy hair. The actors are good. This follows only one side of the case. The prosecution and the police are portrayed only as opponents. It's nowhere near O.J.: Made in America but it's good enough for network TV.
Just nothing else to say....the errors by the Judge are blatant!