Thursday, January 17, 2008

Law & Order “Bottomless” Rises from the Depths

Last night’s Law & Order episode, “Bottomless”, was much better than the earlier installments of the season. It may be guilty of throwing in too many “ripped from the headlines (RFTH)” twists and stereotypical themes.

The story begins with a RFTH story about a man suing a dry cleaner over a lost pair of pants. The story progresses to murder (not having anything really to do with the man suing about the pants), then twists to a RFTH story about the big bad discount chain (one stereotype) who diverts impure, possibly toxic, toothpaste that was imported from the corner-cutting Chinese (another stereotype), both complicit in their desire to save a penny. Mix in an employee who covers his transgressions with murder. Intermingled in the story is the stereotypical ex-law enforcement person who goes bad in order to protect his own – or his employer’s – interests.

I have to admit that I was saddened – again - to see Lupo’s (Jeremy Sisto) sister-in-law. Ed (Jesse Martin) seems to be getting so sappy about it, to the point that it seems a little out of character for him. I am still not sure that they are writing the character of Ed quite right this season. He seems to have lost his edge. The sister-in-law, who I refuse to legitimize by mentioning her name, needs to disappear from the Law & Order universe ASAP. Jeremy Sisto – although looking a little pale and pasty in this episode – seems to have lightened up in the demeanor category and his character actually did not annoy me this episode. I still wish he’s speak up a bit, though, And it is very nice to see Anita (S. Epatha Merkerson) getting more involved in the story. I think Epatha has been too underused in previous seasons, and I hope they continue to give her the exposure as this did in this episode. How predictable was it that the pants brought in by Anita's ex-boss would be thrown out and not be allowed to be used as evidence?

The case unravels for the defendant when the DA’s office – Cutter (Linus Roache), Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) – dig deeper into the problem and really uncover a mess.

It’s great to see that they are still giving Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) a lot of direct involvement in cases. It’s clear that they will need to do this until Roache is able to fully establish his role of Cutter. One thing that’s different: I don’t think I have ever seen Jack smile so much. It seems a little out of character, but in his case it’s a nice improvement.

Clearly Connie Rubirosa is the brains behind Cutter. The character has really grown into a probably one of the smartest, cagiest ADAs that we’ve seen since Abbie Carmichael (Angie Harmon). I think once Cutter takes off the training wheels, he and Connie will be a powerhouse.

The ending said it all: Jack appearing ruffled that Cutter messed up his deal, and Cutter not really concerned about it. Jack’s smile told it all – Cutter is starting to get it.

One minor annoyance – I still think the camera work is much shakier this season. I never liked shaky-cam for any show because it gives me headaches. So I wish they’d settle it down a bit.

Bottom line: this episode, despite too much RFTH, and too many stereotypes, was actually entertaining and kept my interest. Maybe there is hope for this season after all.

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1 comment:

L&Ofan said...

The dry cleaner storyline was obviously RFTHed from the $54 million pants lawsuit. The real-life defendants, who aren't as bumbling as they were portrayed on the show, are online in a video telling their story at