“Wait a second, parking garage in the afternoon, vague and crappy dialogue. We’re about to find a dead body!” – John Mulaney.
I am a member of the FIOSPhilly Verizon Team. All opinions and views are my own.
Running for 20 on NBC and forever in syndication heaven, Law & Order has been a favorite TV show for my entire family. On the Verizon channel line up, there are four different channels that show repeats of the classic show.
John Mulaney nails the Anatomy of the show in this stand up routine:
Watching 20 years worth of Law & Order, sometimes the background is more interesting than the actual story line. Jeff Thompson, with support from Rhizome, has an entire Tumblr dedicated to the “invisible culture of computing.” As the episodes run on repeat, I also noticed the changes in telephones. Earlier episodes the detectives use payphones or the phones of the person they are interviewing to track a lead. Then pagers are used to keep in touch. When Lenny Briscoe (played by keeping Baby in the corner Jerry Orbach) partners with Mike Green (played by Jesse L. Martin) he is totally lost when Green spouts technical terms or talks about a Blackberry.
Hey, I Know You!
Many of the actors on L&O can be seen on HBO shows such as The Sopranos or Oz.i There are also appearances by regular characters in roles such as witness, attorney, or defendant. Jerry Orbach played an attorney during before he became Lenny Briscoe. Michael Imperioli played a love struck limo driver and a witness before his stint on the show as Detective Falco. There’s also multiple actors and actresses that starred on the show before they got their break. Jennifer Garner appeared in an episode in 1996 before Alias. Sherry Stringfield played a law clerk before NYPD Blue and E.R. William H. Macy appears as a counselor. Wendell Pierce makes an appearance as an attorney defending Courtney B. Vance.
Jill Hennessey and S. Epatha Merkerson were added in the fourth season to allow for diversity in the show. Hennessey’s Claire Kincaid and Merkerson’s Lieutenant Anita van Buren added a different rhythm to the show. Kincaid’s didn’t have the same fight as Richard Brooks’ (random from The Boy: why he got a box?!) Paul Robinette. I found her to be intelligent, but not cut out to fight the strong personality of Sam Waterson’s Jack McCoy. Before limiting her role to no duh-ville (do the detectives really need her to tell them what to check during the investigation?), van Buren was hands on in investigations. Then she became the poster child for inequality in the workplace and office politics. Merkerson managed to stay on the show for 17 years. All of the assistants to DA Jack McCoy and later Michael Cutler have been female.
What would a walk through Law & Order be if my beloved New York was discussed? In the nineties, New York is grimy. Times Square is not the brightly lit tourist attraction, but a seedy area that plays hosts to a few of the earlier crimes. Broadway shows flowing traffic, unless the episode is about an altercation over traffic. As the years pass, New York becomes a little less smarmy, yet the crimes remain just as sensational.
Now readers, tell me: what’s your favorite Law & Order?