Law & Order: New & Improved

I used to be a big fan of LAW & ORDER, but over the last five years, the show has been going steadily down-hill (even with the addition of Dennis Farina, who I have liked ever since MANHUNTER and CRIME STORY). The 2006-2007 season was an all-time low. The last thing I expected was to fall back in love with it, especially after this seasons flat premiere. But each episode since then has been dramatic, surprising, compelling…and even funny.
I don’t know whether it’s the return of Rene Balcer as showrunner/head writer, or the new cast members, or the revamped sets & lighting & camera angles that have re-energized the franchise, but it doesn’t really matter.  LAW & ORDER is back and as good as it ever was.

Oddly enough GUNSMOKE, the only show  that’s lasted longer than LAW & ORDER, also had a resurgence in quality in it’s 17th-19th seasons…though that’s not to say LAW & ORDER is on its way out.

(LAW & ORDER may someday match, or beat, GUNSMOKE’s 20 year reign….but it’s not a fair contest. There’s nobody on the cast of L&O today that was on the show it’s first season. By comparison, three of the GUNSMOKE’s four stars… James Arness, Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone… stayed with it for 19 seasons, Arness and Stone to the very end. By that measure, GUNSMOKE will always have  L&O beat.)

7 thoughts on “Law & Order: New & Improved”

  1. I watch LAW & ORDER:SVU,which I think is consistently the best plotted cop show on television. I never could get into CRIMINAL INTENT.

  2. I’ve liked all three shows, though I did get into them late. SVU has been the most consistently the best. I have a friend who refers to D’Onofrio’s character, Goren, as the “Genius”, as he seems to be an expert on ANYthing that comes up in an episode.

  3. Agreed about the revitalization of L&O. I think it’s largely due to the chemistry between Green & Lupo. Jerry Orbach was the best and will always be the best, but with the new detective team, they’re not trying to replace him but they’ve created something totally different. As a fan of police procedurals, I prefer the “order” half to the “law,” but what they’re doing with Jack McCoy now is quite interesting as well.

  4. Linus Roache also deserves a lot of credit on the other end of the show — he’s scrappy and reminds me a lot of Sam Waterston when he started on the show. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by his work; the only other thing I’d seen him in was his incredibly mannered performance in Batman Begins.

  5. Lee–I totally agree. I’m glad someone else thinks this season has been a good one. I also thought L&O Criminal Intent was excellent this season. I thought it ironic since it was moved to the USA network. I’m glad that because of the writer’s strike (not glad there was a strike) that Criminal Intent got some network exposure. They finally figured out what to do with Chris Noth’s character. . .make him the diplomatic one now with the hot-headed partner. It’s fun to see that dynanic in action.

  6. I haven’t seen the new season of L&O yet, but I think I may have to check it out. Speaking of spin-offs, I think Trial by Jury was the worst. I really don’t consider it part of the franchise.


Leave a Comment