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.
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