Friday, November 30, 2007

Criminal Intent Quick News

The USA Network web site says that next Thursday’s (December 6) Criminal Intent will be an extended episode. It’s a Bobby Goren episode, with an extra 5 minutes at the end. The previews appear that Vincent D'Onofrio will have another chance to overact - which means I won't miss it.

In other news, Chris Noth, and co-owner Steve Walter are looking for some investors to help move their “The Cutting Room” restaurant/lounge from the Flatiron District to Hell's Kitchen. Any takers? Check out the web site - and the food - before you invest.

Fox News has nice things to say about Law & Order's return

Fox News is confirming that Law & Order is returning to its old Wednesday time slot.
In fact, their news story on the subject is titled “TV’s 'Law & Order' Gets Last Laugh.” Here’s what they say on the subject. A link to the same information is also at the bottom of this story.

“Remember all the times we thought NBC was going to cancel "Law & Order"? Well, the original Dick Wolf series is getting the last laugh on the Peacock network.

It turns out there will be 13 new episodes shot and ready to go beginning Jan. 3 with Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin and S. Epatha Merkerson returning, as well as new stars Linus Roache and Jeremy Sisto set to revitalize the series.

The joke, of course, is that thanks to the Writers Guild strike, most shows will not have new episodes after the new year. But I’m told "Law & Order" has gotten the jump on its competition and will debut back in its old Wednesday slot at 10 p.m.

Waterston, as we first reported a long time ago, sees his Jack McCoy character finally move up to district attorney after nearly two decades spent implausibly as an assistant district attorney.

Sources say he’s terrific in the new position and has just as much air time as before. Roache, the gifted actor from "Priest" and "The Wings of a Dove," takes McCoy’s place as new executive ADA Michael Cutter.

And don’t think "Law & Order" will be without female representation. Alana de la Garza is joining the cast as new ADA Connie Rubirosa from "CSI: Miami," where she played David Caruso’s wife. Set insiders tell me de la Garza has had a total makeover and "is so hot it’s not funny." "

It all sounds great. I can’t wait for the new season of Law & Order to begin!,2933,313686,00.html

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Dancing" Pummels SVU in the Ratings (11/27)

How the mighty have fallen. Several sources reports that Law & Order SVU was second in its time slot on Tuesday, November 27, beaten by "Dancing with the Stars." The web site Zap2It reports, "At 10 p.m., the "Dancing" finale soared to 16.8/26, doubling up on "Law & Order: SVU," which finished second for NBC at 8.2/13."

Considering the SVU promo people have been touting the dramatic car accident with Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot's wife Kathy Stabler (Isabel Gillies), this has got to be a blow to NBC.

And where is Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer)? Did I miss something that explains his absence?

Maybe the ratings drop will cause NBC to look at whatever formula they're using this year for SVU and rethink it. But I won't hold my breath for it.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HOT NEWS! Sneak Peek of Law & Order Premier is on NBC's Web site

Check out NBCs Law & Order web site for a sneak peek at the season's first episode. The cast looks great, Sam Waterston looks like a tough DA, Alana De La Garza looks less like an alien and more like a human. The new cast members are also shown.

It appears from the promo piece that Law & Order will be back on Wednesday nights. HOORAY!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Fred Thompson for...President?

The first time I heard about Fred Thompson throwing his hat in the ring, I had a bit of a chuckle. I was aware of his long political career, but for some reason, I am unable to get one image of Fred out of my mind.

It’s a scene from the movie “The Hunt for Red October,” the excellent submarine flick based on a book by Tom Clancy. In it, Fred plays Rear Admiral Joshua Painter. One line in the show always seemed to resonate with me. It occurred while he was having a discussion with Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin), and went like this:

Adm. Painter: What's his plan?
Jack Ryan: His plan?
Adm. Painter: Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.

The last line made me chuckle at the time, but when Fred came to Law & Order to play District Attorney Arthur Branch, the line popped back into my head. I’ve almost been waiting for Fred to utter it during a scene with Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston).

But now that he’s running for president, that line could come back to haunt him. I can see it being replayed over and over, and not to make Fred look good, especially with "the Russians."

Personally, while I don’t think Fred has a chance of making very far in the presidential category, he made his chances even worse by waiting so long to throw his hat in the ring. He’s also been less than energetic in his appearances, and some of his early responses to questions shows someone who may have been out of politics, and the real world, too long. Maybe he is hoping for a VP slot or something else.

Either way, the one positive thing about Fred leaving L&O to get back into politics is that Jack McCoy is now in the driver’s seat in the DA’s office. And we know Jack McCoy doesn’t do ANYTHING without a plan.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Law & Order actors in other roles: Featuring Angie Harmon

Angie Harmon, who played the tough as nails ADA Abbie Carmichael on Law & Order, now plays tough as nails detective (Lindsay Boxer) on ABC’s Women’s Murder Club (9:00 PM Fridays). The series is based on a book by novelist James Patterson.

I started watching the show because I really enjoyed Angie in Law & Order. I was curious to see if we’d just see Abbie again, or Angie really being able to act in another role. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on that issue. There are many times that I swear it’s just Abbie Carmichael, wearing pants and casual detective clothes. But, the scenarios given to the character of Lindsay are, for the most part, different than on L&O. Angie seems a little stiff in the role, though, and I think of everyone on the show, her acting may need the most work. A big distraction for me is Angie’s obvious rail-thin body. She always looked thin on L&O, but she looks downright gaunt on this show. It reminds me of an episode of L&O (called "DWB") when Jack brings Abbie some lunch:

Jack: I bought lunch. I didn't know what you like, so I got salad, lo-cal dressing...
Abbie: Lo-cal? I burn it, I don't store it... what did you get?
Jack: Ribs. [Abbie takes the ribs]
Abbie: Great! Sounds good. I'll eat, you graze.

My suggestion to Angie: please get some ribs. And eat them!

The show has some decent plots, although I’m not quite sure if everyone fits in the supporting cast as far as the “Club” is concerned. Claire, the medical examiner (played by Paula Newsome), reminds me a lot of Penny Johnson Jerald (“Mrs. Palmer” from “24”), but acts like Oprah. So I’m not quite sure if she's too clinical, too nice, or what. Cindy (Aubrey Dollar), the reporter, seems just a little too young to be such a knowledgeable and connected reporter. Jill, from the DA’s office (Laura Harris, an alum from “24”) is the only one who seems to fit just right in her role, and in The Club.

The rest of the supporting cast, Tyrees Allen (who plays Lindsay’s partner Warren Jacobi) and Rob Estes (Lindsay’s current boss and ex-husband, Tom) seem to compliment The Club very well.

The Woman’s Murder Club seems to have the right mix of a crime show, plus a little personal “drama” in the background. While the story lines are a little thin, and the plots a little trite, the show is entertaining and I actually like it a bit. It’s one of those shows that fills an hour well, especially when there’s not much else on TV on a Friday night.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Favorite Law & Order Shrink

As far as “shrinks” in the Law & Order franchise, three names come immediately to mind: Dr. Elizabeth Olivet (Carolyn McCormick), Dr. Emil Skoda (J.K. Simmons), and Dr. George Huang (B.D. Wong).

My favorite is Dr. Skoda, who is portrayed by acting journeyman J.K. Simmons. Dr. Skoda always seems to be on an even keel, and he rarely, if ever, becomes overly emotionally involved in cases. The emotional component is what annoys me about Dr. Olivet. She always to take things so personally, sometimes standing on principles that seemed to be at odds with working with a prosecutor’s office.

Skoda seems to be the Lennie Briscoe of the psychiatric world, with frequent blunt, humorous lines. A prerequisite of his services to the prosecutor’s office appears to be frequent eating on the DA’s office meal tab. It’s a rare occurrence that when Skoda is called in to give his opinion that he’s not being given a cup of coffee, a hot dog, or sitting down to a meal in a nice restaurant. A psychiatrist may say that he has an oral fixation. It could be, though, that he’s just a very hungry guy.

As mentioned earlier, Dr. Olivet has sometimes thrown a wrench into a case when she gets on her soapbox and refuses to step off it. It’s nice to have convictions, but sometimes she lets her personal feeling cloud her judgment. The perfect example was in the episode “Helpless” where she personally investigates a doctor (played by repeat offender Paul Hecht) and her motives come under fire, almost tanking the case. Another case was in “Killerz”, where she comes to the defense of a young girl that seems to be a serial killer in the making. Olivet’s involvement for the defense helped the girl to avoid jail time. At the end of the episode, it’s made clear that this girl will probably kill again. So Olivet just plain annoys me.

As far as Dr. Huang, he’s OK. In a way, though, he is too tempered. Probably the most outwardly clinical of the three doctors, I think he tends to have a very textbook, rigid approach. He gets the job done, but not in such a colorful way as the others.

So Dr. Skoda is my doctor of choice. If I had to have my head examined, he’d be the one I’d chose to do it. And I’d even provide him a nice meal.

J.K. Simmons can now be seen starring in “The Closer” on TNT.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Criminal Intent: What’s in the Major Coffee?

Maybe you recall Mike Logan (Chris Noth’s) first appearance on Law & Order Criminal Intent, in the episode “Stress Position” (aired February 13, 2005). When Mike appears at the Major Case Squad, this conversation takes place:

Captain James Deakins: As you said, we're Major Case. Let me discuss it with my detectives.

Detective Mike Logan: No problem. Maybe I'll have some of your Major coffee.

I’m starting to wonder exactly what is in that Major coffee. You see, this past October, Vincent D’Onofrio announced that he and his wife Carin were expecting a baby. Not to be outdone, Chris Noth announced in mid-November that he and his girlfriend Tara Wilson are also expecting. Add the earlier pregnancies of Kathryn Erbe and Julianne Nicholson, and one has to wonder. That really must be MAJOR coffee.

I think I’ll pass on it.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Law & Order SVU – Has it bottomed out?

There’s something wrong with Law & Order SVU this season. Did the writers go on strike early and not tell anyone? Has the show turned into a soap opera while no one was looking? Did someone open a Pandora’s box of the personal lives of the characters and now we’re being overloaded with too much information? These are only a few of the burning questions.

Not to forget the questionable addition of Chester (Adam Beach), who seems to know everything there is to know about EVERYTHING, and has super special instincts. Beach’s wooden acting puts Elisabeth Rohm (Serena, Law & Order) to shame. About the same time Chester makes his appearance, the gradual virtual disappearance of Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) begins. The entire chemistry of the team seems to be thrown into a tizzy.

Last week, Casey Novak (Diane Neal) seemed to be working for the defense, helping the defense attorney in just about every way she could. She got a much-needed butt kicking from new District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston). That in itself was another mystery. The big event that all Jack McCoy fans have been waiting for, and it doesn’t happen on the original series – AND the network never promoted the event.

This season, we’ve been bombard with personal information and story lines about many of the characters. Stabler’s wife is pregnant, Stabler (Chris Meloni) “goes blind” (well not really and not for long), and the preview for next week – “the car crash.” (I won’t say any more so as not to spoil you.) We hear all kinds of things about newbie Chester, including that he was brought up in the foster care system. We are finally hearing less about Olivia’s parentage and issues as a child, do we now have to start with Chester? This show is clearly moving outside the L&O formula that says we should get as little information about the characters’ personal lives as possible.

And dumb mistakes and questionable judgment abounds. Case in point, and episode from two week ago titled “Svengali”. In it were several gems:

1. Requiring the tech team (TARU) to process a crime scene photo through an image recongition program to identify it as the Venus De Milo, one of the most recognizable sculptures in art;

2. After a threat was made on her life, Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) gets a pizza delivery she did not order, no one questions it and no one actually opens it to see that there’s a pizza in there. Of course it’s a bomb and it explodes when a hungry Chester throws it on his desk.

3. Again, there is still a threat on Olivia’s life, the station had been bombed, yet Olivia goes home without a protective detail. She has to twist a loosened sconce light in her outside hallway before she unlocks her door. Of course someone is waiting in her apartment to attack her.

I could go on, but it’s too painful.

Law & Order SVU used to be a gritty crime show about subjects most people don’t talk about. The detectives had their issues, but they didn’t over dramatize them and continue to fling them in our faces. The show featured an ensemble cast, which had great chemistry. It now seems to have all but disappeared in favor of episodes showcasing individual characters. It’s as if the show has reduced itself to begging for Emmys.

Of course being a faithful fan of all things Law & Order, I will continue to watch. But even Law & Order junkies have their limits. I may be reaching mine with SVU.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Law & Order actors in other roles: Featuring Sam Watertson

Law & Order actors in other roles will probably be a recurring topic on this blog, since so many of the L&O actors have done other work outside the show.

Today, I’m featuring a movie starring Sam Waterston called Rancho Deluxe. I had never heard of this movie, but I received an email yesterday alerting me that another website had reviewed it. When I clicked on the link, I got quite a surprise. The article included a photo of the cover art for the movie – and there was Sam, wearing a huge black hat, holding a huge gun, and sporting a huge smirk. (I’ve included the photo and a link to it below.) Needless to say, the picture made me laugh. A lot.

The review on the website “This Distracted Globe” (link below), written by Joe Valdez, says, “Jeff Bridges gives an early variation on the societal goober he’d play throughout his career, but Sam Waterston (it’s strange to see this dude not wearing a tie) is sublime, playing a Caucasian looking Indian who could either be the smartest character in the film, or the dumbest.” Mr. Valdez’s overall review makes the movie sound like it’s worth checking out.

I think I just might.

Picture of Sam Waterston on cover art, and link:

Link to review:

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Addicted to the Law & Order franchise? Take my test

You watch a lot of Law & Order, SVU, and CI. A lot. How do you know when you're addicted and you’re a serious Law & Order junkie? Take my test and find out. Keep count of the number to which you can relate, and find your score at the end.

1. You can recite the intro from memory for every show in the Law & Order Franchise

2. You’re upset that they changed the intro music on Criminal Intent from a hard rockin’ sound to something more orchestral.

3. You’ve seen every episode more than once. OK, more than twice. More than three times…you get the picture.

4. You know how the repeat episode is going to end after watching only the first few minutes of the show, but you watch it anyway to the bitter end.

5. You are glued to TNT in the afternoon, and in the evenings. You record even the episodes that they show in the wee hours of the morning. You catch every new episode on NBC and USA, of course.

6. You’ve got names for each one of the shows in the franchise, like “the mothership” or “original recipe” for Law & Order; “SUV” for SVU; and “L&O extra crispy” for CI.

7. You have a hard time watching “Aftershock” because you know what’s going to happen at the end, and started watching “Crossing Jordan” so it would seem that Claire was not really dead after all.

8. You were upset when Jerry Orbach died.

9. You’re excited when you have to serve on jury duty. Then you annoy the rest of the jury because, since you watch L&O, you have all this legal expertise.

10. You find yourself talking back to the television, giving Jack McCoy (Sam Waterson) or Casey Novak (Diane Neal) legal advice. (You usually shout more at Casey than at Jack, by the way.)

11. You can identify all the “repeat offenders” (actors who have starred on other roles on any of the L&O franchise), even when they show up on other non-L&O shows. (Ritchie Coster really gets around in the L&O Universe.) Sometimes you’re incredulous that, for example, Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) doesn’t recognize one of his criminals as someone who played an attorney in a L&O episode.

12. You look forward to episodes with repeat appearances from people like Danielle Melnick (Tovah Feldshuh), Randy Dworkin (Peter Jacobson), and Shambala Green (Lorraine Toussaint) because you know there will be fireworks or an outrageous defense.

13. You frequent all the message boards and forums to talk about and rate each episode after it’s over.

14. Your bracelet, “WWJD” stands for “What Would Jack Do?”

15. You frequently say along with, what Dann Florek called “The Doink-Doink” (some call it the “chung-chung), when scenes change.

16. You’re crazed if you miss a new episode because your DVR didn’t work, you forgot to program the show, you had a power failure, etc.

17. You feel happy, yet someone odd, when something personal about a L&O character creeps into the show, because you’re really not supposed to know them.

18. The phrase “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” has crept into your life as an excuse for everything, and you’re not even a lesbian.

19. You read the paper and pick out stories that you know will become “ripped from the headlines” episodes.

20. Characters from the Law & Order universe appear in your dreams.

How did you score?
0-5: You’re dead or you don’t own a television
6-10: You watch the show occasionally, or not all shows in the franchise
11-15: You’re developing a problem
16-18: Addicted, a junkie
19-20: Get a life!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Criminal Intent - A show with a split personality?

When Law & Order Criminal Intent started its run, Detectives Goren and Eames (Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe) were the featured detectives of the major case squad. Sometime in 2005, however, the show decided to add another detective – and dimension – to the mix, with the return of Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth). In my opinion, it was a welcome change to the show. LOCI seemed to be slightly confused on exactly which Bobby Goren we were going to see each week. Would he be the intense detective who found an obscure clue to solve the case, or would he be the loose cannon detective who seemed like he was one step away from going off the deep end?

As the years passed, the character of Goren seemed to become more fragmented. During that time, Vincent D’Onofrio was hospitalized, twice, for exhaustion. Shortly following these events, the show introduced Mike Logan to the mix.

The character of Mike Logan seemed to be a little more world-weary, but seeing Logan in action was a nice change of pace. The only problem is they paired him with a rather lifeless Detective Barek, played by Annabella Sciorra. I’m not quite sure if Barek was written to be lifeless, or if Sciorra was just going through the motions. Either way, she didn’t seem to work. Logan has been paired with two other detectives since then, and seemed to have relatively good chemistry with Detective Megan Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson). While Julianne was off having a baby, she was replaced by Alicia Witt (as Detective Nola Falacci). I find that either Witt's character is being presented as particularly annoying, or, if she’s doing the annoying act very badly. I find myself thinking that someone like Erbe could have pulled it off better. So right now I’m giving this new detective a low score as far as being a good match for Logan.

Since the show alternates the detective team each week, it sometimes seems like a different show each week as far as writing style and even the cases handled. And I like that. Maybe D’Onofrio really needed the reduced time, and maybe the show needed to close out some issues with Goren, but the character seems a little more stable. Likewise, Chris Noth has taken Mike Logan up a notch by making him the (gasp!) voice of reason in the episode “Courtship.”

It may seem like we’re seeing a series that’s got two personalities, but I like the change. Sadly, the show is no longer on NBC, and I’m forced to watch it on USA, which I don’t get in HD. So while the quality of the show has taken a step forward, my ability for my eyes and senses to enjoy it have taken a step back. But I’m still a faithful fan.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Are you suffering from Law & Order Withdrawal?

I’m an admitted Law & Order junkie. I’ve probably seen every episode of the “mothership” several times over. I try to catch the reruns of SVU and CI as well, although they don’t have the coverage that TNT gives the original series.

I didn’t initially think it would be so bothersome that we’re not getting any new episodes. But with CI now on USA (and I don’t get USA in HD, a major annoyance) and with SVU starting the year with some awful episodes (more on that at a later date), I am missing my weekly dose of new L&O shows. One can only watch so many reruns on TNT before it gets confusing. After all, you can see and older and worn Jack McCoy in one hour, and the next, he’s much younger. Or, one episode he’s got Claire as his ADA, the next it’s Serena. I feel like I am time shifting. I am even trying to catch the ancient Ben Stone and Paul Robinette episodes when TNT sometime shows them in the wee hours of the morning. I wish TNT would show MORE of the “oldies.”

While the quality of L&O has gotten a little stale in the last several years, they finally made a big change by moving Jack to DA, and bringing in someone new to replace him. The rub is that we have to wait what seems like forever to see if this change will revitalize the show, or, drive it to the grave. After all, the show teetered on the grave during the Elisabeth Rohm years. The show was also hurt, in my opinion, from NBC moving it from the Wednesday night slot.

I’m still turning to TNT for my fix, but I can’t last much longer. I hope that the show has enough scripts prepared so the writer’s strike won’t delay its season premier even further.

I don’t think I could take it.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Sam Waterston

OK, I'm a day late. Sam's birthday was November 15. He turned 67.

We'll have more on Sam - who plays newly promoted District Attorney Jack McCoy - in upcoming days. In fact, his first appearance as District Attorney almost went unnoticed on this past week's episode on SVU titled "Blinded" (airdate 11/13/07). But first, I thought I'd share an old picture of Sam that was shared on Flickr. The notation on the photograph said it was from Mademoiselle magazine, in the April 1970 issue. Enjoy!

And happy birthday, Sam.

Link to picture:

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

Welcome to All Things Law & Order!

Welcome to All Things Law & Order, the place to share information about anything and everything dealing with the Law & Order franchise. This includes the Law & Order (also know as the "mothership" or "original recipe" show). Law & Order Special Victims Unit (SVU), and Law & Order Criminal Intent (CI).

Here you'll find the up to date news - and old news - about the shows and the people involved with the show.

Stay tuned!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,