Did y’all forget in your Lost-mania that the veritable TV institution that is Law & Order is also ending? Tonight, in fact! Yes, the cruel hacks at NBC have bumped our beloved cops-and-lawyers procedural off the air after 20 years, just one season short of the record set by Gunsmoke. Fun fact: Law & Order debuted six months after my youngest brother was born. That’s not really relevant to anything, but I do tend to measure time with his life. Like the time he mentioned how awesome “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is and I was compelled to yell that he was FOUR, GODDAMMIT, FOUR when Kurt Cobain died. For another angle, S. Epatha Merkerson has been playing Lt. Van Buren since your precious mindfucker J.J. Abrams was working with Jim Belushi. And now it is ALL NO MORE. Sob.
My favorite period of the show is the Lennie Briscoe–Benjamin Bratt–Angie Harmon stretch, which happened to coincide with my high school years. (Yes, I know his name is Jerry Orbach. I saw him at Daily Soup once. It was the highlight of my early years in New York.) But I also really enjoyed the Jesse L. Martin years, although you could have fooled me that he was on the show so long. Seriously, ten years?! That’s one of the many great things about Law & Order; thanks to the city’s tax subsidies, the show gave literally hundreds of New York theater actors a way to earn a more comfortable living and still do stuff like Hedwig and the Angry Inch off-Broadway. Ha! I was right! I actually guessed that!
Further: I never really cared for Dennis Farina and I missed the whole “Is this because I’m a lesbian” WTFery altogether. But lately I’ve become engrossed in what I think is a late-period renaissance. They’ve been doing some extremely satisfying headline-ripping for the past couple seasons, Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson are wonderful as Lupo and Bernard, and I just love Linus Roache’s cute, pinchy little face and the way he gets all shirty about Constitutional issues. The show also gave us this frigging EPIC discourse on Center Stage, which cross-references all the grown-up actors with their episodes of Law & Order, from Original Recipe to Criminal Intent. I kind of wish they’d do the same thing with Can’t Hardly Wait and Six Feet Under.
Even though the reruns are on TNT, well, all of the time, I am quite sad that Law & Order is coming to an end, and for such a crap reason as, pick one: Dick Wolf didn’t want to cut his fee, the cast is too expensive (I find that difficult to believe), or NBC wants to concentrate on launching Law & Order: Los Angeles. Those are all dumb reasons, and are great examples of the skid toward crappiness that the Peacock network has been on these past few years. That’s the subject of another rant, but for now suffice to say that I am very disappointed and I will miss Law & Order so, so much. And not just for the possibility of seeing famous people in my neighborhood. Although that time I saw Chris Noth on University Place was AWESOME and really impressed my mom when I called her ten seconds later. Farewell, cops who are a little handsy with civil liberties, righteously indignant ADAs, smarmy defense lawyers, and crotchety old DAs. I will see you in the reruns. Chung chung!
ETA: Also! Olympic champion and outspoken Law & Order fanatic Lindsey Vonn makes a special appearance on tonight’s (er, right now’s) episode. Look at this! How effing cute is that?! I have held a Vancouver Olympic medal (it was Seth Wescott‘s) and Sisto and Anderson look as excited as I was. Dammit, I love everything about this show.
2 comments May 24th, 2010