Law and Order: California Love?

After last week’s two episode season premiere of Law and Order: SVU, I’m so excited for tonight’s episode. Law and Order always has a way to make you think you know what’s going to happen but then delivering a plot twist at the most unexpected moment. It may seem like an obvious thing to point out, but did you know that viewers stay riveted to detective/law shows like Law and Order because we feel as though we are solving the case right alongside the New York City based detectives? And although they air the disclaimer that no case is depicting a real life situation, they are more often than not, based on a real-life crime case, which may or may not have been publicized.

What I believe sets SVU apart from the other (failing) Law and Order series (Criminal Intent and the classic Law and Order) is the chemistry between Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), along with the heart strings being pulled by the sexually based crimes, depicted in the show. Psychologically, viewers love the juxtaposition between the obvious sexual tension between Benson and Stabler and the violent, sexual assault/rape storylines. There’s something twisted within us that is drawn to this combination, moreso than white collar crimes, robberies, gang murders, etc. The combination is an instant money-maker. Guaranteed entertainment. Americans are sick perverts. Oh, well.

With all that said, what makes NBC executives, and the Law and Order franchise think they can wow us with the new Law and Order: Los Angeles? I mean they sure are pulling out all the stops to get us hooked. They’ve got an all-star cast (Skeet Ulrich, Terrence Howard, Alfred Molina, and Regina Hall (Death At a Funeral, Love and Basketball)), and a brand new location, in sunny L.A. Are they completely dependent on throwing eye-candy at us? Nope, they’re using another old trick TV executives use all the time.

Tonight’s SVU epsisode will not only lead directly into L&O: LA (also a common practice), but it will do a FULL crossover. Detective Benson will end up in L.A. for some reason and interact with the LAPD in some way shape or form to force us to be introduced to these new characters in a brand new show. This makes me skeptical, or should I give them a break and realize that TV shows can no longer depend on promos since a majority of us fast forward through commercials on our DVR? I’m on the fence. We have no choice in the matter though, if we wish to continue following the SVU storyline, we MUST participate in Law and Order/NBC’s self product placement. How annoying. I’m kind of excited though, I must admit. In practice, I think its kind of a sneaky way to go about getting viewers, but in theory:


Not only has NBC given us Christopher Meloni followed by Terrence Howard in the 9pm hour, they’ve started their Wednesday primetime line-up with Boris Kodjoe (Soul Food, Resident Evil) in new show Undercovers @ 8pm! I can’t even take the gratuitous sexiness NBC has given us. And I’m buying right into it. More about Undercovers in a future post. Have you watched it? What do YOU think?

We’ll see if these attempts to increase ratings are well-played enough to keep the amount of viewers they need. Otherwise, both shows might become the subjects of a C.S.I.: Miami episode, where Horatio tries to figure out how/why two NBC shows were senselessly murdered (womp, womp. bad joke LOL). Will you buy into the hype? Will NBC executives win us over tonight? Stay-tuned, I’ll be watching.

EDIT: so Jennifer Love Hewitt is the victim Olivia goes to LA for. The plot thickens.

2 Responses to “Law and Order: California Love?”
  1. Rick says:

    In all honesty, the procedural nature of the once venerable L&O franchise is stale. I’ve been watching since the original aired in 1990. (Yes, I’m old) And while I agree with you on the fact that the personal nature (Stabler/Benson relationship, sex crimes, etc) is what sets SVU apart from the rest, it’s still a tired old formula. But it’s comforting to viewers. Characters they know and care about, solving crimes that titillate.

    I see that as a problem because it no longer challenges us in narrative structure, plots or themes. If you want a series that is the logical progression of quality cop dramas like L&O, Hillstreet Blues, and Homicide; I’d recommend Southland. It uses the docu-drama angle to great effect. Plus, Regina King is a badass.

    • Faith says:

      Hmmm…I remember you recommending to me another TNT show. If this is the case, I am in full agreement with you that TNT aired shows are typically better written and entirely way more riveting than their Network TV counterparts. I have an obsession with The Closer and HawthoRNe. Actually, wasn’t Southland originally on NBC, and then got kicked off to TNT? Anyway, I’ll check it out!

      But yes, I totally agree with you, but I feel a need to figure out why I still obsess over vapid and/or gratuitous TV programming, and I need to bring others’ attention to the fact that they are being duped. lol.

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