My religious commitment to Law and Order has waned in recent years due to a number of factors. I hate Elizabeth Rohm, and wish she would die. I don’t care for Fred Thompson’s character, and I have tended to quite like Thompson in his past character roles. Jerry Orbach in his final years began to strain belief as a police detective. Finally, the writing is bad. It’s just bad. Nothing left in the tank, especially in the lawyer half of the episode. The cop half always remained decent.
Nonetheless, I forced myself to watch last night, largely to see Dennis Farina in the new “old cop” role. I missed most of the first episode, the cop half because I was inexplicably watching a Mariners game, and the second half because I felt an overwhelming need to change the channel when the defense attorney said “I’m going to put the whole war on trial.” In the second episode, I though Farina was quite good, although I suspect it will take them a while to find a good fit between he, his co-actors, and the role as established by Orbach et al.
Here’s an observation from Jesse Taylor of Pandagon:
When Law & Order deals with sensitive political issues in an election year, shouldn’t the show mention at some point that one of the principal actors is a former Republican Senator who served in the Senate under the current inhabitants of the Oval Office? The show is making what amounts to a series of editorial comments on the war, Abu Ghraib, international politics…with no mention that, hey, one of the people on the show was a pretty powerful Senate Republican during the leadup to the war, who himself voted to give the President authority to go to war.
If the second half of the episode were devoted less to the reading of position papers on the major issues of the day, such a disclaimer would be unnecessary.