Thursday, October 7, 2010

Law & Order LA “Echo Park” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU
We should be grateful that Law & Order Los Angeles didn’t begin its run with “Echo Park” as it was a horribly dull hour - lifeless acting, stiff and trite dialog, a boring case. It was a chore to watch. I found myself wondering more about when “Southland” would be coming back, since “Southland” seems a better snapshot of crime in Los Angeles and had far more interesting characters.

Skeet Ulrich is completely uninteresting in his role; thankfully Corey Stoll seems to be able to breathe some life into his own character. I didn’t care one ounce for Rex’s wife Casey, partly because I hate these forced situations that bring in family members, and partly because their scenes together were devoid of drama or chemistry.

But by far the hardest part to trudge through were any of the scenes with Terrence Howard. If he was trying to convey a forcefulness of conviction and being the “moral compass,” all I saw was a man who sounded like he was near tears all the time. Unlike Alfred Molina’s performance in the previous week’s episode, ”Hollywood,” where Molina was a commanding presence, Howard was uninspiring. Peter Coyote, as DA Jerry Hardin, overpowered Howard even with the short screen time Coyote was given. In fact, even the defense attorney, played by Jay Karnes, was far more interesting than Howard. Megan Boone also fares no better. Elisabeth Rohm could have done better (and you know how awful I think Ms. Rohm was on the L&O mothership).

Often when watching crime shows, I have what I call an “Oh, Puh-Leeze” moment, when the evidence is just too tidy or a case gets solved by some strange, off the wall, you-would-not-believe occurrence. In this episode, one “Oh, Puh-Leeze” moment came when the detectives find a photo of the suspect, taken while tending her plants, with the murder weapon held up for the camera. There was also another “Oh, Puh-Leeze” moment before that when Rex Winters said that he noticed some plants had just been pruned with a pruning knife. Really, it was laughable.

I thought I could get used to the show starting without the normal Law & Order incantation, but not if they have to start each episode with a song of the week. When shows do this, I find that if I don’t like the song choice, it starts me off not liking the episode. Maybe the show WOULD be better off with Steve Zirnkilton doing his thing at the intro.

After watching "Echo Park" episode, I am worried that if the show keeps this up, it will drop off viewers’ radar soon. It makes it seem like LA is such a dull place. There wasn’t anything compelling enough in “Echo Park” to create anything but negative buzz for the show.

Here is the recap:
A woman, drinking on the beach, is told by a cop to dump out her bottle when he finds out who she is. She later hears a whistling sound which upsets her. Later, she is found dead, stabbed to death. Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas “TJ” Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) find out she is “Baby” Jane Lee Rayburn (Nancy Youngblut), one of the Echo Park Tribe, a cult that killed some families in the 1970s. The word “GERM" is written on a concrete wall in blood.

The detectives, back at RHD, review the case with the lieutenant (Rachel Ticotin). The Echo Park tribe killed in 1979, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Manson murders. The tribe leader, Denis Watson (Michael Massee) is still in prison. Baby Jane was paroled last year on compassionate grounds as she had breast cancer. They check the original Echo Park crime scene photos and see the word “GERMZ” also written in blood.

At the law office of Heather Benedict, whose father was Baby Jane’s original lawyer, the detectives hear that Baby Jane seemed remorseful. The lawyer plays back a phone message she got complaining that Baby Jane should die like the people she killed.

The detectives head to the home of the caller, Henry Franklin, and they have a warrant to enter. Franklin is not there but they see a wall of pictures and clippings of the case and it seems he has been keeping tabs on her as the tribe killed one of his family members. They later find him and he expected to be arrested, holding out his hands so they can cuff him. He says he got Baby Jane and finally killed her.

At RHD, the detectives question him and he admits he did it. He gives them all the details of how he killed her and said he go the knife from a kitchen drawer. It is clear by what he tells them that his information doesn’t match the knife that killed Baby Jane.

At the Ocean Bay Medical Clinic, they show a doctor a photo array and he hasn’t seen anyone in the photos. He said Jane had asked if tamoxifen caused auditory hallucinations. She said she thought someone was whistling at her.

Back at RHD, they watch a recording taken by someone on the beach that day, and they can hear whistling.

At the Central California Women’s Facility, they speak with Sally Ricks (Dale Dickey), who was part of the tribe. They play the whistling sound, and she says it was a signal used by the tribe. She thinks it’s Denis Watson, the former ringleader. When they tell her he is still in prison, she says they don’t know what he can do and how powerful he is. She says she can’t be in there with them anymore and yells to get out of the room.

The detectives question Denis Watson (Michael Massee) but he thinks they’re crazy. They think he reached out to someone from the outside but he denies it all. He hears the recoding of the whistling and says it is nice someone remembers or they killed to impress him. Winters says it is Denis’ last chance and it he did it, they will find out, and that the death penalty is back on. Watson just laughs. Later, they look through the pile of mail that Watson gets and Winters asks for copies.

Later, at Winter’s home, he and TJ discuss the case and Winter’s wife Casey (Teri Polo) arrives and clears the table. TJ looks at one of the letters and it sounds like someone as trying to provoke Watson to kill Baby Jane. The lingo is straight from the state pen. They wonder if they can get a fingerprint form the original letter.

At the Innocence Coalition, they speak with a law student, Rachel Forester (Samantha Sloyan) who admits she mailed a letter for a prisoner. The head of coalition, Jim Roman (Jay Karnes) enters and they tell him what is going on and that a murder solicitation was included. Her prints were on the envelope. He is advising Rachel not to answer and the detectives must go back and look at who she visited.

Back at RHD, they hone in on a Maura Dillon, who was out of prison awaiting a new trial and lives 10 minutes from the scene of the murder.

At Maura Dillon’s (Bonnie Root), she tells the detectives she was in the same block as Jane. She says she has not been in contact with Jane. She said she lost her children in a fire. She said Jane was like a mother to her and was wrongly convicted. They speak to her about the letter, but she won’t speak with them without a lawyer. She is scarred for the fire when she went to save her daughter, but the detectives think it’s from someone using her as an ashtray,

They later find that cigarette burns are from her prison time – a brand – and that she shared a cell with Jane. Maura also alleged Jane burned her, beat her, and raped her with a mop, but later withdrew the compliant. They compare her complaint and the letter sent to Watson, and the printing looks to be the same.

At Dillon’s apartment, Winters sees plants that were cut with a pruning knife that could have been used as the murder weapon.

Later, in interrogation, they question Dillon and she denies having such a knife. They also found a picture of her holding the knife. She becomes upset that this is happening again. They show her the prison complaint and she says that they are twisting everything and faking evidence. They have to stop questioning when her lawyer, Jim Roman, arrives. They arrest her. As they lead her off, they stop at Winter’s desk and she sees a photo of Winter’s wife Casey Ryan, who is retired from the force, and she says she knows her. She said she is a cop who framed her. Winters admits that is his wife. Roman said they have a problem as Ryan sent Dillon to jail on a coerced confession.

Back at home, Winters speaks with Casey about it. She says Maura was not coerced and she confessed and the arson report backed it up.

At the Linwood County Jail, DDA Joe Decker (Terrence Howard) and DDA Lauren Stanton (Megan Boone) speak with Roman with Dillon present. They outline what they have on Dillon. Dillon says no more lies, but Roman quiets her. He tells them what he plans to do about her wrongful conviction, saying it led to Dillon being locked up with a killer who was also a sadist and it cause psychological trauma. Dekker laughs it off but Roman says he is going to take the system apart.

At the DDA’s office, Stanton and Dekker review the plan with Winters and TJ. Dekker tells Winters that Winters can’t work the case because of a conflict. He tells Stanton to go back to Abner Featherstone, the deputy fire marshal who worked Dillon’s case.

Stanton and TJ speak with Featherstone who shows them Dillon’s case was a classic case of arson. But his facts seem a little off and they find at the time he worked the case, he didn’t have many arson cases under his belt. They later speak with another expect who shows that Featherstone was wrong and the fire was caused by a short from a kitchen appliance.

At Mattawin Studios, they speak with another guy who worked the original case who tells them after detective Ryan was done with Dillon, as if Ryan coached Dillon.

TJ and Stanton return to Dekker with their findings. He says it is some rock to push uphill, and Stanton tells him he gets to tell the boss all about it.

At the office of DA Jerry Hardin (Peter Coyote) , Hardin tells Dekker they are going to make it go away; he should offer Dillon 12 years for the manslaughter, declare victory and get out. But Dekker does not agree. Hardin says they will not apologize for a wrongful conviction and they are considering refilling the arson case. Dekker argues about the improprieties with the first case, but Hardin says that was not on his watch and he cleaned out all the bad apples. Hardin says the police department does not need the black eye. Dekker says what Hardin wants is not good law, and Hardin says it is good politics.

Back at home, Winters tells his wife what is going on. Winters ask her if there is something she wants to tell him, and he won’t be the only one who will ask her. She says she has to check on the babies and walks away.

Dekker and Stanton are back at the prison making an offer to Roman and Dillon, who knows the new arson findings clear her. Dillon gets upset and says they know she did not kill her children and refuses to negotiate. She has to tell them. Dekker takes the offer off the table, he thinks a jury needs to decide this.

Back with Harding, Dekker explains what he did but Hardin is angry. Stanton enters and says that Roman will present evidence of intimate partner battering by her cellmate in prison.

Back at home, Winters and Casey discuss the case. He is worried she will get sued and brought up on charges and they could lose everything.

At Superior Court, Dekker makes his opening statement and so does Roman, who outlines that Dillon was wrongfully convicted and then abused in jail and she killed in defense.

Outside the courthouse, Winters tells Dekker they subpoenaed his wife. She does not know Winters is talking to him and says she is being hung out to dry.

Casey is called to the stand and Dekker immediately asks for a sidebar where he objects to Casey being called, claiming her testimony is not relevant. Roman makes his argument and the judge allows her testimony. Hardin glares at Dekker from the back of the room. Dekker says that the people will stipulate that as a result of evidentiary mistakes and prosecutorial misconduct, that Dillon was wrongly convicted and did not kill her children and if not for that conviction she would have never been in prison with Rayburn. Roman accepts it and Casey is excused.

Later, a doctor testifies about what happened to Dillon and how the abuse affected her. Dekker asks about the length of time form the abuse and the murder, and he says the trauma can last a long time, and that the fear drove her to it.

On the stand, Dillon talks about being in fear of Jane all the time and the terrible things she said about her dead children. Jane said she could always find her. Dillon felt the same even after out of prison and was panicked when she found Jane was out. She had to protect herself so he found Jane and followed her and killed her before she could hurt her.

Under cross, Dekker asks her about her children in heaven, and she says she still thinks about them. She says she feels like they are there listening and she thinks of herself as a good person. She admits Jane looked different than the last time she saw her, from her cancer illness. Dekker says she was sick and harmless and Dillon says she could not be sure of that. Dekker tries to bring out the fact that Jane was too ill. She admits Jane taught her the whistle, and Dekker says Dillon did it to incite fear and to make Jane feel what she felt, and that she was angry and wanted revenge. He asks what she would tell her children about what she did to Jane. She said mommy got mad and made a mistake. She admits she was not afraid for her life, she was just angry at Jane and the people that put her in prison and that is what she thought of when she stabbed her 14 times. Dillon breaks down and said she could not stop, she was just so angry. She says it wasn’t fair and somebody had to pay. She breaks down as she says she is sorry.

Afterwards, Dekker offers her 12 years but Roman is resistant, thinking the jury won’t go for it. Dekker offers voluntary manslaughter with credit for time served, and she serves the full 6 and no parole or early release. She agrees. Dekker says he is sorry for what happened to her, but she says now everyone knows.

Later, Dekker tells Hardin about the 6 years and that he declared victory and everybody got out. Hardin says he has to go to Parker Center and smooth some feathers because Dekker’s stipulation didn’t go over well with the police chief. Dekker says he is sure Hardin will find a way to spin it to his advantage. Harden replies, “So will you, Joe.”

Back at home, Winters talks over the latest with Casey. He asks her what would she have said. She asks what would he think, and he says the truth, one way or the other. She puts her head on his shoulder as we fade to black.

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Esaul said...

Call me crazy, but I completely disagree. I really found this episode more interesting than the first. I thought both Terrance Howard and Megan Boone were great. And it wasn't a "rich and famous" sorta case either. I think that Megan Boone is much better than Elisabeth Rohm, even though I thoroughly enjoyed her too. Again, call me crazy. I admit, at first I didn't really like Terrance Howard, but as the episode progressed, my opinion steadily changed. I think he did a much better job than Alfred Molina. It's still a new show in its early stages, and even the mothership had its low low points as we all know. Doesn't mean LOLA can't work out. Plus, I prefer any of the L&O shows over a lot of the crime shows that are on air right now like the CSI franchise which is kinda old at this point (like a recent episode of CSI NY's preview reminded me of the Willow episode in Criminal Intent), and Bones where the main focus seems to be around Bones/Booth and I just got tired of it...*shrugs* I want LOLA to work, 'cause I don't want to see the franchise die out. Southland isn't on long enough to satisfy me...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like dick may have another 'Trial by Jury' on his hands!

By the way 'All Things', have you heard anything about Katherine Erbe returning to LOCI? Can't imagine one of them would be there without the other, but it's all gone very 'quiet'.

Shelly said...

I think I liked this episode a bit more than All Things did, though I think some of her points (the "oh puh-leeze" moments for example) are right on. I also thought the moment when Maura saw the picture of Winters' wife Casey was just lazy writing. That was a roll my eyes moment too.

But I definitely agree about Southland. Though it and the Closer are completely different styles of telling the LA story, they both tell it far better than LOLA has so far.

gahks said...

This is worrying. Mixed reviews simply aren't good enough if Wolf, Balcer and Masters want the show to last at least as long as the mothership did.

Sad times. :(

All Things Law and Order said...

Diane, as of right this minute, no word whether Erbe has signed back on to LOCI!

Osiris said...

Yep. After seeing both teams in episodes, I am officially done with LOLA. It's terb and horb.

janethyland said...

I think I agree with Nikki Finke of,that Echo Park was much better than the premiere and showed promise.

People might have been put off by the premiere which would partly explain the drop in ratings from last weeks 3.1 to this weeks 2.4 in the 18-49 demo.

However everything dropped this week. SVU dropped from 2.8 last week to 2.5 this week....and alot of shows are already considered for the chop...Outlaw/Whole truth/ Defenders possibly.Those last three were lower than either Law and Order this week.

SVU at 2.5 and LOLA at 2.4 are still in the running.

On the plus side, LOLA had 96% retention which is good because it means most of those who did watch it watched all of it.

I do think the premiere damaged its ratings because it wasnt very goodOn the other hand 3.1 was probably a bit unrealistic.

Anyway both SVU and LOLA are doing better than Mothership last year.I think LOLA will find its audience once people get over the premiere.

Ill write something on it later.

janethyland said...

Just to add and give more context to the numbers...

SVU total viewers was 8.6 million but they were 4th in their slot.

LOLA total viewers was 8.2million but they were first in their they still won the slot two weeks running.

Also the Defenders retention rate was 67%, which means alot of people stopped watching it before it ended.

xfool said...

With all the hype about Terrence Howard I expected more from him. I just didn't see any life in his performance. There was no passion. I don't care for Skeet either and I don't understand why they are playing all these people as so low key. They seem like robots, not real people.

I don't think the show is a good depiction of Los Angeles crime. I agree with ATLAO, Southland nailed the environment and the feel of the city. LOLA could be set in Des Moines Iowa for how low key it is.

It sucked. Expect more viewers to depart next week. Yeah, they will blame that on Molina because they won't admit Terrence Howard is a big bowl of nothing.

Anonymous said...

hey Jane, LOLA was SECOND in the time slot. The Defenders was # 1 with 9.28 million viewers. So LOLA may have retained viewers n the 18=49 demo but overall they were way down and certainly not first.

Esaul said...

They are pretty close in viewership though, it's not like a huge difference between the two shows. And as we all well know too, it doesn't factor in DVR recordings either, so those numbers don't mean nearly as much as they would before DVs came into play. I in fact recorded The Defenders, and chose to watch LOLA.

Rating wise, yes SVU and LOLA are doing better. But in my opinion, the mothership was by far the best out of the whole franchise. It was on for 20 years, which shows something was clearly done right. And as many people have been saying, the last couple of seasons definitely brought life back into the show, the writing was fresh, the actors were all great, and they had an amazing chemistry on and off camera.

And for those who haven't heard, Jeff Zucker got fired a couple of weeks ago. I've been celebrating ever since. xD

Oh and btw, Outlaw is on production hiatus or something like that, no word yet if that show's getting canceled or not. I don't know about the Whole Truth, I haven't seen it, and I do not see The Defenders getting canceled anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 'All Things' - I'm still living in hope LOCI goes out 'properly'; with BOTH people who started it off, 'ending' it. If you hear anything, please 'share'. Thanks again.

janethyland said...

Anon, LOLA was first in demo and according to tvbythenumbers that makes it first in slot.

Overall numbers dont count.

janethyland said...

I continue to enjoy the use of music and lighting, the staging of scenes and attention to detail that gives depth to the scenes. Its visually appealing in the way LOCI was...the outside porch scene especially ,the use of artifacts and paintings in the DA’s office. I think one of those statues was used in an early LOCI too so it might be one of Balcers own collection.

But this week the writing was also better....ironic undertones like the Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics about “east to west” perhaps referring to the franchise move, or the use of film crew paraphernalia criss crossing a scene. A friend of mine also mentioned the use of red files for “Arson”, and the gardening pruning shears reference back to a LOCI episode also involved with gardening.

Lots of thematic layers and recurring motifs to the writing this week too....about what constitutes the “Good Life”, about “taking responsibility” or not as in the case of Denis, Dekker’s pursuit of “Truth, what ever steps they tread on”.

I love that line of Denis as he abandons himself to madness; “It doesn’t make me responsible. Ideas, like children, go where they want.” (much like Manson in the prison tapes he used to smuggle out!)

In fact what’s on trial here is Human Nature in its struggle between the forces of the Irrational (our fears and fury, making mistakes and taking revenge, being childish or drunk or mad) and the forces of Reason (self-control and balance, the Law, Responsibility etc). This struggle is in the theatrical arena of the story , but also in the human soul.

The child’s cry of “It’s not fair” rings out through the episode, the need for natural justice. But can mistakes or revenge ever be justified in a court of Law?

Dekker throws his hand to the day in court to decide..and in throwing his hand to Chance and the Legal Process he combines Irrational and Rational in his “day in court”.

The outcome seems fair and balanced where both sides take responsibility for their behaviour. The State of California is forced to take responsibility for its exposed mistake in open court, and the defendant is forced to take responsibility for the crime she DID commit. Its full disclosure, mature and fair...

Then, just as we feel confident of certainties, there is the ambiguity of the porch scene between man and wife. Would she have told the truth under oath? Its an unknown.

These metaphysical enquiries, the twists and turns of human behaviour, complex interweaving of opposites and paradox, ironic undertones, the compassion of Dekker etc are the hallmarks of Balcer’s work as developed in LOCI.

Loved the exchanges between Dekker and DA. Reminded me of early Moriarty and Schiff.

Caution: dont make Dekker too goodygoody.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that all these characters went to college. This is great for their future earning potential and for the country's economy, but it has made them all careful conformers. Utterly bland. (I'm not sure what made the DDA snide: "I'm sure you'll spin it to your advantage." To his boss. Little snot. And his boss - a former CI villian? - was supposed to be the unsympathetic one.)

Introducing the cop's wife by way of a long-ago mistake (that cost an innocent woman 6 years in jail, 3 of them at the mercy of a sadist, leading to another murder), which she would not even admit to her husband, seemed an odd idea. And the DDA agreeing to go rouge to protect her? Because her husband asked him to? Oh, come on.

The trial scene was embarrassingly bad and seemed to go on forever: did the defense lawyer go out for lunch after the DDA took over? (Did he make a single objection during cross?) Had he not prepped his witness? - all she had to do was stick to the line that she could only see her former tormentor as all-powerful. "What would you say to your children?" - Give me a break.

As for the theme - justice and retribution - they didn't do much with it. Individuals agree to hand over the responsibility for retribution/revenge to the community, the state, in order to prevent eventual complete lawlessness (the ongoing blood feuds under the kanun that Logan & Wheeler were briefly introduced to in one episode). But when justice, or "law & order", leads to injustice - what then? (CI dealt with this at least once, in "Amends": Justice going awry and ruining lives beyond that of the original victim.) So the DDA says he's really, really sorry, and that takes care of things? Where's that defense lawyer of hers - can't she (the only sympathetic character they've had so far) sue LA county, or California? Especially since it was due to misconduct. An over-enthusiastic FBI agent in Boston cost the state $1 million a year for some guys he was responsible for sending away unjustifiably. And those were long sentences. (I've obviously forgotten the details, the defense lawyer will be able to find them, I'm sure.)

The business of seat-of-the-pants fire examiners making bad calls on arson cases involving a parent being accused and jailed unjustly has been overdone. The "Cold Case" version at least gave numerous examples of exactly how you can detect the difference between electrical and accelerant fires. The idea of sending the grieving parent back to jail was original here, though.

The case was treated emotionally, not technically (how the evidence was gathered and misinterpreted) or intellectually (justice vs. revenge/retribution), and I responded emotionally: I don't like these persons, the cops (who tried even to avoid admitting error and taking responsibility) or those in the DA's office.

Maybe we could start discussing "Detroit 1-8-7" instead? Are you interested in starting another blog, AllThings? For refugees from LOLA? janethyland can usefully criticize the lighting, and I'll promise to write shorter posts.

Anonymous said...

Jane, overall numbers DO count, as do the DVR numbers. A show that pulls big numbers from all demos are the ones that get the best ad $$$.

All Things Law and Order said...

To Anonymous at 2:50 - somehow my first response disappeared into the ether so I'll try again.

Thanks for your feedback on the episode and I thought you offered an interesting perspective.

About having another blog, I do have one called "I Like To Watch TV" (the link is on this blog's sidebar) where I cover other TV shows such as The Closer, Mad Men, House, Fringe, Southland, and ocassionally the CSIs and a few others. I started that blog about the same time I started the L&O blogs because I wanted to have somethig built up as a fall back in case the Law & Order brand went away.

I haven't seen Detroit 1-8-7 so I will have to check it out. I have started watching CBS's Blue Bloods and I find that I actually like it a bit, although it is not the same type of crime drama as the L&Os. I may start covering that show on my TV blog.

Anonymous said...

ATLAO, my husband is watching Detroit 1-8-7 and he is loving it. Very gritty and realistic.

I watched both eps of LOLA and frankly I'm totally unimpressed. Of the two teams if I have to choose I would keep Molina and get rid of Howard. Geez, this guy reminded me of Rohm. Complete stinker.

For this they got rid of the mothership?

I'll wait and hope they get Erbe back on CI and watch that and SVU. As for LOLA, I'm done.


Dalton said...

Well, I was unimpressed with the episode. Howard's performance wasn't that great, it seemed so empty. And the "Oh Puh-Leeze" moments were a dime a dozen in the episode, and to me it made the episode come across as a big joke to me.

Corey Stoll and Alfred Molina seem to be the best characters of the cast. I liked the DA, but he seemed like a cardboard cut out of Adam Schiff.

MOTHERSHIP REFERENCE: Did anyone notice that the film studio in one of the scenes was Mattawin Studios, where a big chunk of the scenes from the three part Mothership episode in LA took place? Just figured I'd point that out.

Anonymous said...


First: I too had a problem getting my post accepted (Google told me the URL was (all of a sudden) too long. I went off and sulked for a while, then came back and CTRL + back-arrow (Firefox) and got a second chance.

Thanks for considering the Detroit-based show. If you want to catch up, they have it at Channel 131 ( I'd enjoy reading your take on it, as you have so much experience with these shows. Maybe it sucks and I just don't recognize it? (Shameless ploy: The lead detective is kind of like Goren without Eames to smooth his way.)

BTW, the only reason I'm still watching LOLA is because of your blog - I enjoy the reviews and maybe especially the comments section. (I came sneaking back to read the ones for CI last season after publicly stating after episode 3 that I wouldn't be watching any longer. I didn't, and I find the promise seems to extend to the reruns, so there are some things about the season I am never going to know.) I also like your blog because I can post as Anonymous, since I don't have the imagination to think up anything more clever. (And in any case, as John Munch can tell you, they're watching us, and no nickname is any real protection.)

Anonymous at 2:50

Esaul said...

Yeah Detroit 1-8-7 Is an okay show. I honestly don't expect it to last more than a season, even though I would like to see it happen. I'm really only watching it 'cause of Michael Imperioli and his connection to Law and Order when he filled in for Jesse L. Martin.

andie said...

I haven't watched LOLA and I don't plan too, however reading the mixed reviews all I can say is I hope they axe this and bring back the mothership with Lupo, Bernard, Rubirosa and Cutter. I always enjoyed those episodes and if NBC were to air it right after SVU I bet it would bring in high numbers.

I know this is wishful thinking and I should probably lay the mothership to rest--but when you cancel something that was finally getting really good in terms of material and cast chemistry (at least in my opinion) and replace it with this crap its disheartening.

At least I can still enjoy SVU.

Sara said...

It hurt watching this. I want to like this show, give it chance and all, but it needs to be a win/win situation. This isn't the Law & Order we've come to know and love, it's dumbed down television. With the original L&O, there was an element of suspense and the writing was intelligent. The target audience was credited with brains eliminating the need to explain everything to the point of overkill. LOLA is too formulaic with its very tidy beginning, middle and end.

Michael Massee was another retread from LOCI's Season 7 "Reunion" episode. I expected much better of Terrence Howard and Peter Coyote was trying waaaaaaaaay too hard to be another Stephen Hill.

This one was just plain awful.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked this episode better than the rushed 'pilot'.

Terrence and Alfred (and Stoll) ARE the show; the rest can just GTFO I mean for real, they made it appear like Skeet Ulrich was supposed to be following Chris Noth - they just need to bring Chris Noth to LOLA and let HIM show them how it's done!

Megan Boone - DDA Stanton; a rip off of Kim Greylek (SVU: Michaela McManus) in all ways.

Peter Coyote - DA Hardin; hell no.

Regina Hall - DDA Price; Morales' (Molina's) water girl.

Skeet Ulrich - Det. Winters; another hell no; dryer than Anthony Anderson in the 18th and early 19th season of the original Law & Order.

And I think Blake Masters and Christopher Misiano NEED to step off as EP's and let Rene Balcer do his thing! They should just follow Wolf's rumored plan for Law & Order: Miami, because they are messing up LOLA's stories as well.

It's not the city - it's the crime (or the way it's written).

This show's only good actors are Corey Stoll, Rachel Ticotin, Alfred Molina, and Terrence Howard - they rest; they need to find some more jobs somewhere else; and so do Blake Masters and Chris Misiano.

THEY AREN'T EVEN TRYING TO TREAT "LOLA" as a "Law & Order"! Esp. with NO voice-over and opening sequence - I'll keep watching LOLA, but not every week.

nygma619 said...

As I said in last weeks review, Terrence Howard feels like he should be playing one of the Cops on this show during the police procedure. Not an attorney.

Anonymous said...

ATLAO, if you caught "30 Rock" or "The Office" you might have heard the homages to the mothership. Looks like now that Mother Zucker is history the "what were they thinking" comments can fly.

LOLA looks to be going down soon enough. Hopefully, Comcast will rectify the gross error that the previous regime carried out by bringing back the beloved Mothership.

Anonymous said...

Well ,as a people who watch LOLA but will never be counted by Nielsen(because I'm not an American), the only thing I can say to LOLA is: Good Luck!

I do admit this show's writing is poor and the cast seems not fit the tune of the "Law & Order" brand. But I don't think that's the reason cause the poor performance of this show. I mean, the whole franchise in nowaday can only hold very limited ,small group of the audience. Good script couldn't guarantee the good rating ,and sometime people love those brainless show(and they're HIT!)

Some die hard fans may compare LOLA with the mothership or SVU, and blame it like a nothing,but Why don't you campare the mothership or SVU with nowaday's show like Criminal Minds or NCIS or Modern Family? LOLA's performance is poor,but so dose the mothership(and even SVU)!If LOLA gone ,mothership wouldn't go back too,because complain "how bad LOLA is" just can't avoid the problem that mothership beloved by some hardcore fans ,but couldn't attract other viewers.

So yes, I do think LOLA is not good, not because it "couldn't compare with the mothership",but because it dosen't have its own,NEW characteristic that can follow the trend of today's audiences' preference.

People may still "respect" the "Law & Order" brand , but they chose to watch other show rather than this "Ripped From The Headlines" (which I know is just the stereotype impression)classic, just like many people "respect" Aristotle but never read his "Metaphysics".

Esaul said...

Heads up in case you're unaware Allthings:

Anonymous said...

The economy is still in the doldrums, Pakistan is proving to be an even less reliable partner than anybody thought, Iraq still doesn't have a government ... but at least there's this announcement via Esaul. (I hoped she asked for the sun, the moon, and a few stars.)

Now for Capt. Ross, who must be about ready to leave the hospital in the WitSec program by now to come back to see his boys ...

BTW, did anybody ever find out what they did with all that Marshmallow Fluff?

All Things Law and Order said...

Esaul - yes I did see the news and just came here to post the link as well!

KC said...

1. Pick one DA and stick with him. I would keep Molina.

2. Opening credits should feature actors with pics and their roles.

3. Better writers.

4. Skeet in real life has an amazing and likeable personality, let him bring it to the screen and forget the whole -- he's the serious detective thing. He can be serious with a dark dry wit too. Stop with the one dimensionality in that TJ is the 'funny' one and Winters is the straight guy. That will get old fast because in real life every gets a good shot in once and a while.

5. Less tabloid or sensationalistic type stories and more real life stories.

**** I will stay with it because I feel bad for the actors and writers that the show was so rushed to get to air and the whole Wanda De Jesus firing made it tough to edit and what not. Needs to find it's groove but the bones are there.

mark w. said...

I'm petitioning for Shane Brennan (of "NCIS") to come to LOLA and for them to FIRE Chris Misiano and Blake Masters (as executive producers)!

I just needs to be Rene Balcer, Shane Brenan, Peter Jankowski, and Dick Wolf! It's BOTH the stories and the acting. The writing affects the acting thus making the show a complete failure where it counts - "NCIS"/"NCIS: LA" don't do that crappy celeb crap!

It's been said that Rene Balcer hasn't done any of the writing for the new series... and that's the problem.

janethyland said...

Most of the shows were down in ratings last week so any drop for SVU or LOLA fits the norm. CSI reached an all time low of 2.7.

Heres Wolf talking about LOLA and Echo Park in TV Guide:

"The one on Wednesday night is really interesting because it harkens back to the Charles Manson era and has some really interesting twists in it," Wolf told TV Guide Magazine about the episode which details the mysterious Venice Beach murder of a female follower of a murderous Manson-esque guru after her release from prison.

"You have no idea where it's going. It's a really strong episode and it's Terrence's [Howard] introduction, which is exciting," Wolf said. "[It] has a great moral mystery at its back half. And that's when the show works at its optimum: The first half is a good murder mystery, and the second half is a good moral mystery. And I think the second episode is more in that paradigm than the first one, which was deliberately designed to be 'Wow, see — we're different!'"

I did enjoy the family scenes between the cops. That was certainly different and many wouldnt like it, but Im tired of the run of cops who are socially dysfunctional isolates, and this was a nice change.

You have to give the man his due.Even after the Mothership battle he is undeterred and completely motivated for LOLA.Thats the spirit that made him what he is I suppose.

janethyland said...

About Balcer, its my understanding he presence as management took over from episode 2 and you can certainly see his influence there.

He seems to be picking a variety of writers, some from the old LOCI, some from Criminal Minds and one who was a criminal lawyer.Maybe some episodes will get dark and psychological like Criminal Minds? Anyway it looks like he is trying out things, which is good because it suggest experimentation and not just one thing all the time.

LOLA has the feel of LOCI in the format of Mothership.

Anonymous said...

janethyland -

Interesting about "socially dysfunctional isolates" - apparently they thought they had to turn Goren into one for some reason. In the early years he went out on dates, had old buddies from the time when he didn't wear suits, attended a weekly poker night, and his own personal network of informants ... But something changed, and after his brother mentions Bobby's "partner" to their mother, she tells Bobby she wants to meet "his girlfriend" - not "his new girlfriend," implying there hadn't been one for a long time. People moved on, got married, and a man who was apt to be summoned at any moment by a phone call from his (female) partner or his schizophrenic mother, and one who did not seem cut out to make more than a modest living - if he could even hold onto his job - must have come to seem a decreasingly interesting prospect. As everybody else pairs off, or is killed off, he's left increasingly alone. Which, frankly, does not seem (in Season 8) to be very good for him.

janethyland said...

Nice review in LATimes:

'Law and Order: Los Angeles' recap: Redemption through Charles Manson
October 7, 2010 | 6:29 am
Now, THAT was a solid crime show.

Following on the heels of last week’s cliche-ridden, cringe-able debut, "Law and Order: Los Angeles" redeemed itself Wednesday night. Was it "The Wire"? No. But nothing is "The Wire," and that's not a fair fight, so let's not bother. What it was, however, was a tightly edited hour of non-obvious storytelling that touched (deftly, I thought) on some real issues that cops, prosecutors and criminals deal with in real life. And the much-beloved chung-chung interlude sound is back!

So, some kudos to you, Mr. Wolf, and your pack of writers. Surprisingly, 10 million-plus tuned in to watch that train wreck you offered up last week. I hope enough of them gave you a second chance to keep the suits in Burbank happy. And for the love of all things entertaining, I hope you don't relapse.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I both preferred this episode to the first. Some comments:

Howard and his ADA are 10 times better than Molina and his. The first thing LOLA should do is go to one aDA team.

The lack of an opening theme and title cards is incredibly annoying and is completely taking away from the show. I know it doesn't matter to some but it does to us.

This show lost a lot of potential by the fact they're cancelling CI and cancelled the mothership. First of all, we wouldn't all be annoyed. Secondly, the crossover potential would be huge.

I really wish they'd figure out to really embrace the franchise vs. what they are doing now, which will result in the whole franchise ending in less than a year.

Anonymous said...

The episode "Echo Park" was SO MUCH BETTER than "Hollywood"!

I think if Balcer is the head here they need to make it show more, they need to pull another old L&O EP like Richard Sweren, Mike Chernuchin, or Fred Berner in to give the extra 'umph'.

Most people just hate this show just because it's "Law & Order: LOS ANGELES" and not "LAW & ORDER".

Just like some diehard NCIS fans can't stand "NCIS: LOS ANGELES" with a passion; its just a city name!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you! I prefer Molina than Terrence. I miss the original L&O! I've always liked the court scenes with the original. However, with LOLA it's so dull, especially the Echo Park. Terrence's acting seems off..there's something missing.although, I think he's trying to be sympathetic to the just wasn't good. I prefer Molina, he had a strong presence. I liked the cops tho'...I think they're the only good thing here. Just hope they make the court scenes more powerful like the original..even the script and dialogues are better. Will give this a try again this week