Friday, June 12, 2009

In the Criminal Justice System…

Anyone who is currently unemployed or actually watches NBC primetime on a regular basis (I think the unemployment numbers are higher) can finish the statement started by the title. “There are two parts. The police, who investigate crimes, and the district attorney, who prosecutes the offenders. These are their stories.” This is followed immediately by a bell whose sound cannot be fully described nor duplicated or associated with any natural occurrence. Also, lets be honest here, the bell has no bearing on the show and it doesn’t make any sense when you consider the larger context of the television program. But, I’m not here to critique bells. I am here to critique a show that has like twenty off-shoots, employs every actor ever fortunate to get a set of glossy headshots, and somehow manages to keep Chris Noth relevant after Sex and the City went off the air.

So here is a list of the things that make Law and Order what it is. The good, the bad, and the childishly immature.

1. The approximately 1,000 versions of the show.
Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and the short lived Law and Order: Trial by Jury. Listen I know I’m not the only one to bring this up. If you’ve seen a stand-up comic in the last five years you’ve heard this joke, but indulge me here while I regale you with rejected ideas for new Law and Orders

Law and Order: Basic Misdemeanor Unit
Law and Order: Graffiti Patrol
Law and Order: Domestic Disturbance
Law and Order: Jaywalking
Law and Order: Truancy report

2. The way they have the same actors doing completely different characters within the span of three episodes.
Apparently the people who cast these shows don’t like searching for new people to play defense attorneys. They recycle victims, witnesses, and even murderers to play the obligatory slimy defense attorney. Hey, I know it’s hard to find good talent out there, but space it out. Its hard to watch a father grieve over the corpse of his raped and murdered daughter only to see him an hour later defending the Mexican immigrant who farmed out her uterus to a wealthy couple who couldn’t have a baby.

3. Jerry Orbach
I have nothing bad to say about Jerry Orbach. He was the man, Lenny Briscoe was the best cop ever (yes, he beats EVERYONE from NYPD Blue), and the world is left wanting after his passing. Just to reiterate…Jerry Orbach is the freaking man.

4. Vincent D’onofrio and Jeff Goldblum
Both of these men play lead detectives in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. It all started with Vincent playing an offbeat, incredibly smart detective who speaks in an abrupt, mannered style. Then apparently, they were throwing ideas around in the writer’s room and someone tossed out this gem: “Hey you know all those traits Vincent D’onofrio has to act like he has every episode? Let’s just cast an actor who does that in every role!” Next thing you know Jeff Goldblum’s phone rings. Seriously guys, who is next…Christopher Walken?

5. When they catch the murderer within the first 15 minutes.
I hate when they do this because I know the next 45 minutes are going to be spent in court with Sam Watterson asking questions like “Your Honor you can’t be serious!” or if he wants to change it up “Is this some kind of joke your Honor?” It always involves some screwball defense plan like “God told me to do it,” “the tumor was inhibiting her impulse control,” or “before I sawed that guy in half he said he wouldn’t press charges.” By the way, the first two have actually been used in the show. The point is they spend all their time in the courtroom which means they don’t spend their time out on the street with…you guessed it, Jerry Orbach. Who is the man? That’s right. Jerry Orbach.

If you understood 3 or more of the five poorly articulated jokes on this list it means you need to stop watching Law and Order and get a job.

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