Sunday, October 3, 2010

US Television: Law & Order: Los Angeles, Episode 1.1 "Hollywood"

Law & Order:  Los Angeles
Season One, Episode One, Hollywood
Original Air Date:  September 29, 2010

Usually, when I do a blog post about a show I start off with a short description of the episode then go into a more in-depth description with perhaps a few comments of my own thrown in (which I like to keep to a bare minimum if possible).  This post will not be following that formula.

I have to start off by saying that I am a massive fan of the entire Law & Order franchise.  I remember watching the very first show that aired on September 13, 1990 and being blown away by its brilliance.  Even now, I can watch that show on DVD and find it just as good after having seen it at least several dozen or more times as I did that very first time.  When Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit and Law & Order:  Criminal Intent came along, I was (and still am) right there for each and every episode.  I loved the short-lived Law & Order:  Trial By Jury.  Any chance to see the legendary Jerry Orbach in action was a pure pleasure.  In 2009, Law & Order went across the pond to England for Law & Order:  UK.  With an amazing cast and shows based on episodes of the original Law & Order series, L&O UK was a fast favorite of mine.

Like all die-hard Law & Order fans, I was heartbroken when NBC made the choice to cancel the flagship of the Law & Order series after two decades.  With Criminal Intent getting ready to end its run that would have left us with just Special Victims Unit and, for those able to view it, Law & Order:  UK.  Then came news that Law & Order:  Los Angeles was in the works and would be in our living rooms in the fall of 2010.  "If I can't have one, I'll take the other", I thought.

On September 29, 2010, Law & Order:  Los Angeles aired its first episode, Hollywood.  The plot dealt with a group of young burglars who robbed the homes of the rich and famous while the celebrities were out partying.  It was based loosely on the Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch robberies from 2009 with the hard-partying Lindsey Lohan and her mother, Dina Lohan thrown in for good measure. 

Law & Order has always followed a simple formula:  the teaser where the crime is revealed, opening credits, the "law" (police) segment where the criminal is caught, then the "order" (courtroom) segment where he/she is tried for their crime(s) and ending with the closing credits.  Law & Order:  Los Angeles has broken from that formula.  It's not your fathers Law & Order.  Maybe that's a good thing, maybe that's a bad thing. 

What's Good about Law & Order:  Los Angeles?

  • The Look.  As with every Law & Order series, the show was filmed well and had a slick and professional look to it.  Dick Wolf certainly knows how to make a series look great.
  • The Guest Stars.  This show was full of names and faces I recognized.  Oded Fehr, Jim Beaver, Mira Furlan and Shawnee Smith.  All great actors that can bring that special something to whatever roles they're playing.  Long time viewers of L&O will also recognize faces they've seen in the other L&O series as well.
  • The "Thunk Thunk" Scene Cards.  This has been a standard of Law & Order since the beginning.  Even L&O UK has it.  Law & Order wouldn't be Law & Order without this.
  • Wanda De Jesus.  She did a great job as Winters & Jaruszalski's boss but don't get attached to her.  If you continue to watch this show, you will not be seeing her again.  She has already left the show and has been replaced.
What Wasn't So Good?
  • Skeet Ulrich.  He might be a great actor but I certainly think he's very out of place in Law & Order.  Ulrich's Detective Rex Winters didn't reach out and take hold of me and make me care about him in any way.  He was dull, lifeless and seemed to be just "along for the ride".  There were times I liked this character but, for the most part, I just couldn't get behind him.
  • Alfred Molina's Deputy D.A. Peter Morales.  I like Molina, I really do, but his character here just didn't cut it.  Molina didn't seem comfortable in the character and the character didn't seem comfortable in the show.  Maybe it's just those "first show jitters".  Let's hope so.
  • The Guest Stars.  Yes, I've got this on the 'good' list.  I've got it here as well because there were so many great guest stars that it almost seemed like they put out an open casting call for anyone who wanted to help kick off L&O Los Angeles to come on down!  Almost like 'if we pack the show with familiar faces and the viewers will have to like it, right?'
  • No Mike Post.  For twenty years we've been used to hearing some form of Mike Post's theme as the credits have rolled first showing the "law" cast members then the "order" cast members.  For Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent, the original Law & Order theme song was remixed but still very much recognizable.  Mike Post is gone from Los Angeles which borders on a sacrilege, in my opinion.
  • No Opening Credits.  The opening credits introducing us to our policemen and the lawyers who take over where they leave off are also gone.  Yes, we do get to see the title of the series and Dick Wolf's name and get to hear a tiny bit of what we can recognize as the Law & Order theme (just five notes, folks) but it's nothing to write home to mother about.  The names of the actors are instead flashed across the screen in the manner only guest starring actors names used to be.  Nothing to distinguish your regulars from your guests.  Hopefully, this oversight (surely that's what it is) will be rectified in future episodes.
  • Cory Stoll's Detective Tomas 'TJ' Jaruszalski.  This character is one that I could almost like if there was another good character for him to play off of.  His dry sense of humor which did make me smile a couple of times needs someone to bounce off of.  The writers certainly aren't using Ulrich's Winters for that.  Winters and Jaruszalski are no Briscoe and Logan.  They can't even come close and never will.
Law & Order:  Los Angeles feels like every other cop & lawyer show on television today to me.  Law & Order is supposed to have something special about it.  This show doesn't have anything special.  It's safe to say that I didn't care for Law & Order:  Los Angeles.  I won't be following this show or blogging about it in the future.  Being such a die-hard L&O'er, I can't tell you how disappointed I am that it wasn't everything I hoped it would be.  It truly pains me to say anything negative about a show with the Law & Order name on it.  The ratings for the show were strong and I sincerely wish Dick Wolf and the cast all the best with the show.  However, if it were left up to me, I would most certainly drop the gavel on Law & Order:  Los Angeles and sentence it to life without the possibility of parolling a second episode.

For more information:
Law & Order:  Los Angeles, Official NBC Web Site:
The Internet Movie Database:
TV Rage:

1 comment:

  1. The end credits play the full theme. I stayed to hear it and it was amazing. Better than Criminal Intent's theme by far. I do think they should just stick with Terrence Howard and drop Alfred Molina. Keep TJ and Winters; they're refreshing.