This Sounds Cool

Zap2it reports:

"Law & Order" is reaching back to its first season, signing veteran actor David Groh ("Rhoda," "General Hospital") to reprise a role he first played in 1990. In that episode, based on the 1987 Joel Steinberg case, Groh played a psychiatrist convicted of abusing and eventually killing his daughter. Steinberg was paroled earlier this year, leading the show’s writers to revisit the character.

What a great idea! I hope they use some footage from the original episode for flashbacks…that would give the episode an extra punch. Either way, I’m there.

It’s rare when a show revisits an old episode… and reunites the guest cast. As it happens, I watched an old episode of GUNSMOKE today entitled "Mannon" which they revisited nearly twenty years later (with Steve Forrest back as Mannon) for GUNSMOKE: RETURN TO DODGE. They did it again in GUNSMOKE: THE LAST APACHE… revisiting characters and events from the old episode "Matt’s Love Story." It really gives the story emotional resonance… and solidifies the sense that the characters live within an evolving universe… that past events (which we share with them as an audience) still ripple through their lives. It doesn’t happen in television often enough… on most non-serialized series, it’s as if past episodes never occurred.

We sort of did what LAW AND ORDER is doing  when we had private eye Joe Mannix (Mike Connors) on an episode of DIAGNOSIS MURDER. We took a MANNIX episode from 25 years earlier, reunited the guest cast (Pernell Roberts, Julie Adams, Beverly Garland) and continued the story… using the old footage for flashbacks. Boy, was it fun.

Bill Rabkin and I always try to reference past episodes — even if only in passing –in the series we write & produce. On MISSING, our characters have spoken of past events (ie episodes), acknowledging those events the way you would any life experiences.

I’m also trying to do it now in the DIAGNOSIS MURDER books… I often have the characters refer to events that happened on the series and in previous books, though not so much that it would alienate readers who have never seen the show or read the earlier tales.

The book I just finished… DIAGNOSIS MURDER: THE PAST TENSE… revolves around Dr. Mark Sloan’s first case in 1962… and I explain some events only hinted at in some of the TV episodes, particularly one we wrote guest-starring Jack Klugman entitled "Voices Carry."

I love that kind of stuff. It brings out the TV geek in me.

2 thoughts on “This Sounds Cool”

  1. This was one of my biggest gripes about older television series. (And by older, I show my age by meaning before 1980.) Episodes would often not be connected to one another. In fact, the original STAR TREK would contradict itself almost weekly, giving conflicting details about various characters’ backstories. I like how newer shows tend to be savvier about that sort of thing, although you still see the infamous “kid trick” a lot. That one really needs to go away big time. (He’s a newborn. Next season, he’s in kindergarten. Season after that, he’s applying for college.)

  2. I love when TV shows do that. On “Murder, She Wrote,” the episode “The Days Dwindle Down” was a sequel to the 1949 movie “Strange Bargain.” They even got the original cast (Harry Morgan, Martha Scott, and Jeffrey Lynn) together and solved the crime from the original movie.
    I was watching an old “Columbo” the other day and he mentioned a couple of cases from other episodes, which he often did.


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