Law and Order, Baby!
It's often the little things in life that excite me, and this is one of them: I can't express how thrilled I am that the original Law and Order is back on the air.
It was one of my favorite shows when it originally aired. To the best of my knowledge, I have seen every episode, which is no small feat since it was on for twenty years (456 episodes).
I was also a little annoyed that it was canceled before it could beat Gunsmoke's record of being the longest-running live-action series on television, which it tied instead (and which Law and Order: SVU has since beaten).
I also have such fond memories of my mom and I watching it together. In fact, I think it was Mom that first started watching it and ended up getting me hooked. I fondly remembering watching Law and Order marathons with her on A&E or setting the VCR to record a new episode on nights when I had to work.
When I first saw advertisements for this new season after what amounts to a 12-year hiatus, I was giddy, and it was a delight seeing that original cast members Sam Waterston and Anthony Anderson would be continuing on.
I hoped that this new season would be as good as I remember the original run being, but really, how can you ruin Law and Order? As long as you stick to the original formula—each episode is self-contained; cops find a murder suspect in the first half, lawyers prosecute said suspect in the second half; witty one-liners; commentary on real-life crimes—how can you really fail?
The original Law and Order has always been my favorite. Although it's been on for 23 years, I could never get into Law and Order: SVU, which I've probably only seen three episodes of. It always felt too gritty, and its often graphic focus on sex crimes didn't appeal to me.
I did enjoy the Vincent D'Onofrio-headed Law and Order: Criminal Intent when it was on; it felt like Columbo on crack. I also enjoyed the short-lived Law and Order: Trial By Jury, which I mainly watched because Jerry Orbach, who played original Law and Order stalwart Lennie Briscoe, was on it and who died during production.
I never have seen the other series in the franchise: Law and Order: LA; Law and Order: Organized Crime; and Law and Order: True Crime. The original Law and Order has always been my go-to.
In addition to Waterston and Anderson, the new series also has actors I like, including Jeffrey Donovan, who was terrific in the TV series, Fargo; Hugh Dancy, whom I loved in Adam; and Camryn Manheim of The Practice fame and who was great on a recent episode of This Is Us.
So I was excited. So excited that if I had had to subscribe to Peacock to watch it—and I need another streaming service like I need a hole in the head—I would have. Happily, it is available on NBC and Hulu, both of which I have access to.
I watched the first episode of the new season last night. The familiar chonk-chonk sound, opening narration, title sequence, and music all took me back to those lovely days of a favorite show that feels like home to me. I was not disappointed.
I also loved seeing guest star Carey Lowell, who played ADA Jamie Ross as a regular for two years during the original run and then guest starred thereafter.
I will say, honestly, some of the acting (or maybe it was the writing) in this first episode felt a little stilted to me. I was actually surprised that Carey Lowell, whose acting I enjoyed in the first run, seemed a little wooden to me in places. And I don't know if it was her character or the actress playing her, but newcomer Odelya Halevi seemed very nervous to me in her courtroom scene. Who can blame her?
But for the most part, the episode was a good old reliable example of what I always loved about Law and Order. It was like seeing an old friend I hadn't seen in some time, and it felt both comfortable and comforting. I feel like the show and actors will settle into a groove that feels familiar, and if I'm lucky, we'll get another twenty years of my "comfort food" series.
Whether it's just another season or another twenty more, this boy is feeling quite blissful.