Friday, October 31, 2014

The Top 10 of the Top 100 Law & Order Episodes, The Genius of Dick Wolf and the Legacy

Greetings Pups,

At long last, we have come to the end of Law & Order Month. And now for the final installment of my own personal Top 100 episodes if Law & Order. We have finally reached the Top 10. So, no hesitations. Let's get started...and finished.

#10. "By Perjury" (Season 19) - We have had a few screwed up criminals on this show and also some screwed up lawyers. Well, how about we combine the two. The story here is that an airline is being sued by several people. One of the plaintiffs ends up getting murdered. We learn that there is some dissention in the ranks, as some of the plaintiffs want to settle and some want to continue on. Of course, some of them become suspects, but it ends up leading to their attorney and another case he worked on. What he ends up getting charged with is rather interesting and the outcome, even more so. Although, there is one very memorable line in this. Just pay attention to Cutter when he goes to the guys office and tries to trick him by being friendly. Just listen to what he says concerning his "punishment" for acting up in court. I can't even repeat it, because I will start laughing and not be able to finish this list. Also, I will give a pat on the back to Dallas Roberts who played the attorney. You are good at playing obnoxious, my friend

#9. "Aftershock" (Season 6) - This was the final episode of Season 6, and the final episode for Claire Kincaid. Teardrop. It's also the only episode without a case. Several of the characters attend an execution (sounds like fun), and then they all go off and do their own thing. It's basically a chance for us to get more up close and personal than we ever have with them. Groundbreaking for the series. And, as someone who loves a good character study, this one was a standout.

#8. "Suicide Box" (Season 13) - A cop gets shot and a young black man is charged with the attempted murder. Sadly, we learn that he is motivated by the death of his older brother. The entire situation is terrible, especially when some shady police work comes to light. The good news is we get some Gregory Hines, acting as a defense attorney. No singing or dancing from him, of course, because they don't let you do that on this show. Yes, he is just another reminder that we never got our musical episode. This makes me turn to Broadway and say "Your move".

#7. "Myth of Fingerprints" (Season 12) - I am all for law enforcement doing whatever it takes to catch a bad guy. Unless, of course, what it takes is lying. Whilst investigating the opening scene murder, we end up in a case where a fingerprint technician, played wonderfully by Diana Scarwid, is called into question for testifying to evidence that was pretty much non-existent. The specific case that is being brought to light is the one that started Van Buren's road to her position of lieutenant. It's tough for her because, first of all, this woman was her friend, and second, she was always having to defend herself and her abilities when she got the job. This did not make things easier. And we do get another stellar performance from S. Epatha Merkerson. I know. Shocking.

#6. "Burn, Baby, Burn" (Season 11) - This episode features Mod Squad member himself, Clarence Williams III. I love this guy so much, mostly thanks to his subsequent work on Mystery Woman. But I digress. Here, he plays a guy who shoots a cop, and he also has a past that some consider questionable. It is part of his defense, though. Now, because the victim is a cop, there is a ton of tension in this episode. You can see the struggle between trying to get justice for one of their own and trying to do things the right way. It can't be easy.

#5. "Submission" (Season 18) - So what do we have here? Well, we've got some dogfighting, some winemaking, some betrayal, some crooked journalism, and, of course, some murder. Do you ever feel like ideas for episodes get added by way of Mad Libs? It's okay, though. It all worked out, because those are some interesting ingredients for a fantastic show. Sprinkle some David Harbour and Lara Flynn Boyle on top, and we are good to go.

#4. "True Crime" (Season 13) - So, a female rock singer is found dead with a ton of drugs in her system, though, it is not a suicide. She was, at one time, married to another rock singer, who also died years earlier. He was the leader of a band whose members were not fond of her. One of the former members of the band was actually an ex-boyfriend, who she talked her husband into firing. Got all that? Okay. Turns out, the cops get info from a former police officer who became a true crime author whose book was about the death of the victim's husband and whether it was suicide or murder. A lot of the episode focuses on his questionable tactics. He thinks that, now that he is no longer a cop, that pesky Constitution does apply to him when it comes to searching an apartment for evidence. I guess if you're a writer you can just straight up break the law and call it, I don't know, artistic license. Well, this is going to make my job as a writer so much more interesting.

#3. "Endurance" (Season 11) - After a suspicious fire breaks out in an apartment building claims the life of a disabled boy, his estranged parents are looked at as suspects. It is his mother, however, who turns out being guilty of a mercy killing. This whole episode is so incredibly heartbreaking, and even though it would be no matter what, I give a ton of credit to the performance of Meghan Follows. She does an amazing job of portraying this mother who loves her child so much but who is frustrated to the point of near insanity because she had no idea how to make his life better. She knows she can't, so she chooses to end his suffering. I can sit here and say I don't approve, but I don't know what it's like to be in that situation and what it can drive a person to do. And, if that's not bad enough, we get a reveal near the end, which might make you cry, if you weren't already.

#2. "Competence" (Season 5) - If I had to pick the best performance by S. Epatha Merkeson as Lt. Van Buren, it would be this one. Of course, I loved her work in Season 20 as a whole, but it was this one episode that gave us everything she had to offer. She was straight up amazing. The plot is that she gets held up at an ATM and must defend herself, which results in the death of a young kid. She gets put through the ringer, as it happens, but I was constantly wanting to come to her defense and shout "LEAVE VAN BUREN ALONE!: Yes, I did. But she had to go through it to come out stronger on the other side.

#1. "Smoke" (Season 13) - A famous person holds his baby out of a window and then we find out he is a child molester. I'll give you a minute to figure out what inspired this one. This episode is my favorite for so many reasons. Let's get the shallow thing out of the way first. The way that the detectives get info on this celebrity is through a website kind of like the Smoking Gun, but it's called - wait for it - Up Your Butt.net. I just... I can't even...who thought of that?! And everyone had to say it, except I think for Orbach, who I guess won the raffle that week. But, yeah, everyone else had to say it. And you sort of say to yourself as this episode goes on, "Wow, did I just hear a former U.S. Senator and the guy from The Killing Fields say 'Up Your Butt'? Mind blown!" That aside, there was some great guest acting in this episode as well. We get Adam Ferrara, Larry Miller, Lisa Valez a.k.a Lisa Lisa, a very good performance by a young actor named Jon Budinoff who plays the victim, and also David Zayas who has shown up a lot in the Law & Order universe and is one of the best character actors I've ever seen. Yeah, there are so many reasons why this is my favorite, and in a sea of about a millions or so episodes, I'd say that is an honor.

And there you have it. My Top Ten favorite episodes of Law & Order, preceded by the rest of the Top 100. Wow.

So, as this month draws to a close, a month I have worked on very hard but have also enjoyed immensely, I though I should take a moment to discuss one more thing. I can't let this time pass without mentioning the genius behind it all, Dick Wolf. I mean, I have such a major amount of respect for this guy. He has, essentially, created something of an empire, and it is his masterpiece. It is something so well put together that I doubt it will ever be matched. He made such a complex universe, full of every kind of character you can imagine, getting every kind of actor you can imagine to portray them. It was all inclusive, and, as I've said several times, it had the perfect balance so that everyone could enjoy it. All of these unique characters, who were so different from one another, all had their moments to shine. Everyone had an opportunity to be right and an opportunity to be wrong. No person, or group, or political party was seen as all right or all wrong. Looking back, you can see how difficult that was to do, especially in the entertainment industry. But Dick Wolf did it. I know I said it already, and I really don't use this word lightly, but the man is a genius.

When I decided to do this, I didn't realize how much thought I would be putting into this. I already knew a ton of stuff about the show, but really making myself think about the little things that build this huge thing made me realize what a legacy there is in this series. This is truly the perfect example of what a show should be. Build on a foundation of good writing, good acting, good stories and a good team behind it all, and there's no telling what may come of it. What came of this was my favorite show of all time.

So, I will finish this long, work filled but also joy filled month by simply saying thank you. Thank you to Dick Wolf and all the amazing people who worked so hard to give us twenty years of Law & Order. I will always be grateful.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Kevin Bernard

Greetings Pups,

Even though getting new characters on Law & Order was something we were more than used to, I still looked forward to when someone new was coming to the show. So, when it came to the last new character we were going to get, I'd think they would get someone really fantastic upon whom to bestow that honor. Well, I thought correctly. Join me now as I discuss the final Law & Order main character, Kevin Bernard.

Kevin Bernard was portrayed by Anthony Anderson from the middle of Season 18 to the end of Season 20. I don't think they ever did this, but he actually came in for the last episode of Detective Green, the man he would replace. In fact, at the time, he was working IAB. For those playing the home game, that stands for the Internal Affairs Bureau. They investigate crimes that may or may not have been committed by their fellow police officers. Hmm. That can't make them very popular. In fact, the first time see him, he's there to investigate Green. Yeah, we got off to a rocky start there. Who would have guessed that this would have led him to working in Homicide and being quite a likable character?

Bernard seemed to be a bit more "by the book" than his partner, but that's expected. It gives a good balance and probably makes it easier for some good cop/bad cop shenanigans. Eventually, Bernard and Lupo develop a good friendship, but they do disagree on quite a few issues. I mean, they obvious weren't seeing eye to eye in that first episode, which was before they were even partners. Not because Lupo was trying to help out Green, whilst Bernard was investigating him, but because Lupo brought up that he wanted to get a dog, and Bernard said he didn't like dogs. Oh, no. We're going to have a problem. But he apparently has a good excuse. When he was in Catholic school, the kids gave him the nickname of "St. Bernard". Okay, I guess I understand. But wouldn't that make you hate kids? And if you must hate dogs, why not just the St. Bernard? Why blame all breeds for this? Alright, I'm getting off track. Moving on.

As I just said, Bernard went to Catholic school, and he continued to practice the religion into his adulthood. This most likely plays a part in his personal beliefs and politics. He appears to be Conservative on most issues. In Season 20, we learn that he is pro-life, and, when the subject of illegal immigration comes up, he says he understands why it bothers people so much. Growing up in Compton, he witnessed many jobs being lost to those immigrants because businesses wanted cheap labor, and he saw the effects of that on where he lived. We actually get a lot of references to his youth over the years. In one case, when the DA's office wants to charge a very large group of men fighting in the park as terrorists, he has few problems with it. As those men caused harm to innocent parties and were technically a gang, Bernard was reminded of how he thought gangs terrorized many innocent people and should be held responsible for it.

When it comes to Bernard's personal life, we do not learn much. However, when he was called on to testify during the trial, it was revealed that he had a son, but he does not have a relationship with him. The reason is because the mother was involved with someone else when the child was conceived, so the paternity was called into question. But, even though it was proved to be Bernard's son, they all agreed to let him be raised by the mother and her husband. They thought it was what was best for the kid. I'm not sure I agree with that, but I guess I respect Bernard's decision to not want to disrupt his son's life.

I really like this character, and I really like Anthony Anderson as an actor. He just seems like so much fun in real life. And I have to admire him for taking on this role. The situation seems similar to when Dennis Farina had to replace Jerry Orbach after an eleven year run. Anthony Anderson was following Jesse L Martin, who had been on the show for nine years. Not easy, I'm sure, but he did an amazing job. And as the last new character we got on Law & Order, everyone certainly got the privilege of going out on a very high note.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Law & Order Character Profile: Michael Cutter

Greetings Pups,

So, what does one do when they get a promotion and they are tasked with replacing themselves in their former job? Well, I bet that, either consciously or subconsciously, one may hire a "Mini-Me". Or, at least, a "Mini-Me" that more resembles them in their youth. Time for you to move on up Jack McCoy and let Michael Cutter take your place.

Michael Cutter was portrayed by Linus Roache from Season 18 to Season 20. And this actor is British, something I don't think we've ever had on Law & Order. I mean, they had them on Law & Order:UK, but that was the point. Of course, he hid that accent well, and you'd swear he was a native New Yorker. Now, I was just kidding about the "Mini-Me" thing...sort of. Cutter does actually remind me of a younger Jack McCoy, certainly in the way that he tends to look at the rules sometimes. By that, I mean he looks at the rules and pretty much says, "Yeah, maybe. Maybe not. I guess we'll just see".

I must say, though, it was rather entertaining to see him try and get away with some of this stuff, which he did occasionally. And it wasn't always small stuff either. There was the time he told Green and Lupo they had a search warrant when they didn't. And in the "Not at all about Scientology" episode, he convinced a suspect that he was a member of the religion, just to get the guy to confess. Then, there was the time that he kind of, sort of, in her words "pimped out" Connie Rubirosa when he saw that a juror was crushing on her. And can we ever forget that time he slipped into a Russian accent to convince a witness that he was a spy? Why would he do that? Well, he wanted to provoke the witness into threatening him so that Dr. Olivet would have to order the guy to take his medication...BECAUSE HE WAS SCHIZOPHRENIC! Yeah, no! That is just not right. At least, the guy got the help he needed. And Cutter got headbutted. It was fantastic.

You may be wondering to yourself "What kind of behavior is that? This guy is, after all, a lawyer in the District Attorney's office". Or is he? Yeah, that's another thing. We find out in Season 20 that he never got his Undergraduate Degree, because a few of his credits weren't recorded, but he still went through law school. In short, his entire legal career was called into question. But since he did do the work, the New York State Bar was just like "Whatever. He can be a lawyer".

Now, aside from that little incident, we don't learn much about Cutter's personal life. At least, not in present times. We do know that his parents are divorced, and his father, who he has had little contact with, left when he was ten. As far as politics go, I don't think he ever said what side he was on, straight out. Still, since he was pro-life, I always just assumed he leaned more towards the Conservative side. But who knows? And, speaking of personal lives, it is hinted at that he may have a thing for Connie Rubirosa, but nothing ever comes of it. That's sad. They would have been so cute together.

Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention the one time that he came within an inch of being murdered...in the courthouse bathroom. Use your own imaginations, but I believe it would have made for some embarrassing crime scene photos. Thankfully, Lupo and Bernard came to his rescue. By the way, I don't care if someone LIVES in the courthouse, this should teach us that even they should be subject to the metal detectors.

Look, as I said, I was kidding about Michael Cutter being a clone of Jack McCoy. Of course, because he was taking his job, there were bound to be some comparisons, even similarities. Still, he managed to stand out as his own character, and he was a fantastic one. It didn't hurt that I enjoy Linus Roache as an actor so much. I'm sure he could have just gone in there and been the new Jack McCoy, but he put forth an effort to be, despite the similarities, his own person. He had some big shoes to fill, but I can't think of anyone who could have done it better.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Cyrus Lupo

Greetings Pups,

I am going to say something that applies to all the shows in the Law & Order franchise. I love when I see a familiar face show up in those opening credits. And after having to wait an extra long time to get to Season 18, I was so overjoyed to get one in that first episode. Looks like it's time to talk about Cyrus Lupo.

Cyrus Lupo was portrayed by Jeremy Sisto from Season 18 to Season 20. Yes, I was quite excited about this, because I am from the era of Clueless. And he was in that, in case you didn't know. I actually had been a fan of Jeremy Sisto's and his entire body of work for quite a while, so I was looking forward to seeing him and Jesse L. Martin together. That's right. For the first time, we were getting two, young, male cops partnered together. Thank you, Casting Director. Of course, that did only last for about fourteen episodes, but I'll take what I can get. Moving on.

When Cyrus Lupo first showed up, he was not just thrown into working in Homicide at the 27th precinct. Actually, he had been working overseas investigating terrorists groups and was called back when his brother, Thomas, died of an apparent suicide, which was brought on because he was dying of cancer. When it was discovered that his brother had some Kevorkian-style help, Lupo wanted to assist in the investigation, though considering the circumstances it was a conflict of interest or something. Eventually, due to more assisted suicides, he was able to get involved. By the end of that first episode, Lupo was partnered with Green and working Homicide. Goodie.

I said this before, but I really liked the chemistry that Lupo and Green had. They sort of reminded me of frat brothers, but the responsible kind who aren't obnoxious. Do those even exist? Then, once Green left and he was partnered with Kevin Bernard, that same comradery continued on with that relationship. Even though, I think, on certain issues, it was clear that Lupo and Bernard were not on the same page. Still good partners though. And obviously, good friends.

Actually, this stint working Homicide was not the first time Lupo had worked in the 27th. Early in his police career, he was a patrolman, which I think is like a beat cop. It was during that time that he had the misfortune of walking into a devastating brutal murder scene. He ended up having PTSD, which led to a drinking problem. In fact, he even was drinking when he testified in court. On another occasion, he fell asleep due to a hangover whilst on patrol, which led to the death of his partner, as he was not there to back him up. Yeah, don't drink, kids. But Lupo was so affected by this he stopped drinking and got himself some much needed help.

Much like with more than a few of his law enforcement brethren, Lupo sometimes thinks that it is A-okay to bend the rules a bit. Like emailing himself the contents of someone's phone without their consent. Um, yeah, no. I'm pretty sure that is not admissible in court. And there was that one time when he and Green entered a building without a warrant. Though I think that was Cutter's fault. Still, never trust a lawyer, boys. Also, his judgement wasn't always the best around. There was one time where he got involved, if you know what I mean, with a female victim who ended up being the guilty party. So, you're a detective, right? Shouldn't you just get one of those gut feelings? Who am I kidding? Guys don't always lead with their brains. As long as he learned his lesson. And since Lupo was never involved with that kind of situation again, I'd like to think he did.

One more thing about Detective Lupo is that he was taking law school night classes so he can become a lawyer. I did not even know they had night classes for that, but then I remembered, it's New York. They have everything. So, since he knows more stuff about the law than maybe your average detective, he sometimes lets that creep into his dealings with the DA's office. It is not always met well. There were a few cases of "You do your job; I'll do mine", and I suppose I can understand that. But he's just trying to help. Of course, when the last episode rolled around, he was still doing police work, but I like to think that Lupo became a very good lawyer one day. Because I have hope.

In closing, I have to say that I really enjoyed my time with Cyrus Lupo, and that was probably because I tend to enjoy Jeremy Sisto. It's kind of nice to follow someone from early on in their career right up until he gets cast on the best show ever. I'm happy to report that he fit in perfectly. He upheld the standard of great acting and gave us a memorable character.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Connie Rubirosa

Greetings Pups,

It is difficult to be tasked with taking us back to the Golden Age of any long-running series. After several years with an ADA that many people were not fond of and a small stint with a timid but lovable one, we needed to bring back the more aggressive but admirable type of woman we grew to love in years past. This is why, at the start of Season 17, we clasped our hands together, looked to the Heavens and said "Thank You, Lord, for Connie Rubirosa".

Connie Rubirosa was portrayed by Alana De La Garza from Season 17 through Season 20. I don't even know where to start on what a joy this woman was to have around. Well, let me start with some basic info about the character. Connie Rubirosa has one of the most interesting character back stories of this series. Apparently, she was a kindergarten teacher, and, as someone who is not a kid person, I certainly understand how one can find dealing with criminals and whatnot less stressful than dealing with children. She joined the DA's office in 2004, pre-show, and served under Jack McCoy, who was still Executive ADA in Season 17. Then, when McCoy got promoted to actual DA, she got promoted to Executive ADA. Oh, wait. You'd THINK that's what would have happened, but she just got handed off to the person who actually got that job - a boy! Okay, to be fair, I like Michael Cutter and he probably had seniority over her, but still. Why not one extra moment of glory for the ladies?

Anyway, as a Hispanic woman, she is the first minority ADA we have had on this show since Paul Robinette. And, like with him, this was not even an issue on most days. Of course, certain cases would come up where ethnicity or race was a factor, and it couldn't help but come into play. That's something that Law & Order always handled quite well, and with Connie, it was no exception. Oh, also, the occasional jerk racist may have made comments about her ethnicity, as they do, but she always knew how to handle them. Not in a way that would have required the actor to use a stunt double, as I would have preferred, but she did fine, nonetheless.

As far as her politics go, she seemed to lean towards the Liberal side, and she was an advocate for women's right. On one occasion, though, (spoilers) an abortion doctor had been murdered and his procedural methods were being called into question. By "procedural methods" I mean he killed a newborn baby who had birth defects that were most likely life-threatening, at the request of the mother. McCoy did not want this information to be known by the defense, as they were prosecuting the killer. He expected Cutter, who leaned more towards pro-life, to possibly let the information out, but it was Connie who did it. I bring this story up because they used her character in this situation to exhibit what a perfect balance the show was politically. Despite her personal beliefs, you could see the inner struggle that Connie went through in this case. I give credit for how great this was to both the writer and Alana's acting.

Of course, even with all her good qualities, Connie made her share of faux pas over the years. Don't we all. I'd say the most glaring error was getting involved with former DA office worker, Marcus Woll. I already talked about him when I talked about an episode he was in. To refresh, he was pretty much the worst. Just an awful person. Not even close to being good enough for our sweet Connie. And she paid for her mistake. One payment might have been when she got duped - Yeah, I said duped! - into defending this really obnoxious guy who was clearly guilty. This put her at odds with the people she normally worked alongside, making them opponents. It was vicious. But, despite, the occasional oopsy, Connie Rubirosa was a shining example of what a lawyer can and should be. No wonder they let her move out to California for Law & Order:LA.

I will wrap this up by saying, once again, I love this character and I love the woman who played. For real, she is getting the slow clap. You know what I mean. The 80's and 90's sports movie slow clap? Oh, yeah. She is totally getting that. I, honestly, never failed to be entertained by her. She was a strong, intelligent, funny, beautiful woman, and she brought a special light to Law & Order that it needed.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Law & Order Character Profile: Nina Cassady

Greetings Pups,

For a show that has done so much for female characters, it's rather surprising that they only had one actual female detective on the original series. (Van Buren doesn't count because she was a lieutenant) So, when Season 17 rolled around, they decided to break from the tradition of the old dude/young dude partnerships and get a girl in there. For a little while. Welcome, Nina Cassady.

Nina Cassady was portrayed by Milena Govich for only one season. She was brought in to replace Fontana, against the wishes of Lt. Van Buren, who had someone all picked out for the job. Someone with much more experience. Cassady had just been put in Homicide after she was involved in a shootout in a beauty parlor, causing many to dub her "Detective Beauty Queen". Because for what other reason are we on this Earth than to sell newspaper for others. Well, Cassady was not a fan of the nickname, nor the shades of condescension lingering over it. She felt as though she had a tough enough time as a female cop, and she didn't want anyone undermining her abilities. You'd think that Van Buren would be more understanding of this, and she is. But her problem with Cassady is not because she's a woman; it's because she was very quick tempered and, dare I say it, a loose cannon.

Yes, that is a title given to several cops on this show, and Cassady certainly earns it. Even in her short time on the show, she does lose her cool more than a few times, sometimes causing major problems with investigations. Okay, that's not good, but each time she reacted this way, I kind of understood. Although, I guess I did so more from the perspective of a woman wanting to be respected, but one must realize that keeping yourself in check for the good of putting away the bad guys and helping victims might be something for which we want to aim. I suppose I can see how some of her colleagues had issues with her, but Green seemed to be rather patient with her. As best he could, anyway. I, personally, am not qualified to stand in judgement of someone being quick tempered. Not at all.

All of this behavior continues off and on, right up until her last episode. She kind of provokes a suspect into losing his temper and throwing a chair at the window. And he broke it! Well, there you go, New Yorkers. Your tax dollars just paid for some criminal's temper tantrum. Moving on. Whilst Cassady does make a major faux pas that really ticked off her superiors, she kind of redeemed herself on the stand in court. She kept her composure and did very well. I admired the performance, both from the character and the actress.

Once Season 18 rolled around, Nina Cassady was nowhere to be found. She seriously just fell off the show, because they really never mentioned her again. Like, nothing at all, which is a little mean. But whatever, I guess. I'm also not sure that a lot of people had time to warm up to her, and I'm not sure why. Maybe they didn't like her being so sassy, maybe they didn't like the idea of her as a woman, which is lame. I don't know. Personally, I did like her. It took a few episodes for me to get used to her, but I eventually did. I'm sure that, had she been given more time, I would have liked her even more. Actually, she really endeared herself to me in her first episode, when she told Not Britney Spears to stop smoking around her baby. Because I think bad parenting needs to be called out...always. Anyway, I also really enjoyed the actress. It can't be easy coming onto an established show and stepping into a role that is usually filled by a man, but I think Milena Govich did a fine job. I found both her and her character very refreshing. Gotta love a character who has an attitude of "Yeah, I'm a girl. Whaddya gonna do about it?!" Girl power, indeed.

So, in closing, hats off to Nina Cassady and Milena Govich. In my opinion, this character brought something new to the series, and it helped that she was played very well. And no matter what any critic says, she's still the first and only lady detective, so they can't take that status away from her, and they never should.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, October 27, 2014

Top 100 Law & Order Episodes: 20-11

Greetings Pups,

Welcome back to the Top 100 Episodes of Law & Order list. We are slowly, but surely inching our way to the top today with Numbers 20 through 11.

#20. "Fame" (Season 17) - Okay, let's get this over with. "Hi, Britney and Kevin". Yeah, not even attempting to be vague this time, something fierce. But, look on the bright side, former Mr. and Mrs. Ferderline. At least you two were never accused of murder. As far as I know. Anyway, this plot revolves around a pretty, blonde starlet and her on-again-off-again wannabe rapper husband, being called into question for a lot of things. Their parenting, for one, which is nothing new for them, but also their possible involvement in a shooting. So, I guess things in real life could have been much worse.

#19. "Rumble" (Season 19) - Rumble? Look, I know we're in New York here, but we're not in West Side Story. Trouble starts when a man drops dead after having been involved in a group fight thing. A Fight Club, I guess. Not that you heard it from me. Of course, the police get some evidence because no one can't record things and put them on the internet. Well, the one fight leads to a bigger one with even worse consequences, not to mention some creative prosecution. Also, we get an appearance from one of my favorite, underrated actors, Pablo Schreiber. As per usual, he does not disappoint.

#18. "Charity Case" (Season 17) - In this episode, the husband of a famous actress is murdered on the street, and it all leads back to her shady adoption of a kid from another country. Who could that "actress" be? Anyway, we find out that the adoption got even shadier, to say the least, once they returned back to the States. This is also another cautionary tale - or is it? - concerning who we leave our children with and do we leave our children with others so often that we don't even recognize them when we see them again. That's not a joke. That's a plot point.

#17. "Swept Away-A Very Special Episode" (Season 11) - I remember watching The Real World, a show I had to stop watching once I was too old to be on it. Because...you know. If you ever did watch it, you'll know that there was always that one roommate. THAT ONE! Well, as a "Real World-like but not called that" reality show is being taped in an apartment, one of the roommates - that one - goes flying off the roof of the building. There are many suspects, because everyone hated him, but even when they find the guilty party, he might not be the only one to blame. Oh, and if you really hate Hollywood types who only care about money and ratings and whatnot, you might want to stay away from walls when you watch this. You will feel the need to punch one.

#16. "Panic" (Season 10) - This episode terrifies me. Why? Because a writer gets shot. NO! Okay, she gets shot, but her agent gets shot and killed. Everyone believes she was the intended target, and they are right. All of this leads to some revealing secrets about her personal life. I tell you, though, the thing that really makes this episode special is the stellar guest cast. We get the great Tom Berenger, Linda Emond, who has brilliantly played countless characters in the Law & Order universe, and the wonderful Ruthie Henshall, best known for her theater work and - wait a minute. In this Top 100 list, I have talked about guest appearances by Judy Kuhn, Patti Lupone and now Ruthie Henshall. Apparently, a criteria for getting on this show is being able to sing "I Dreamed a Dream" better than Anne Hathaway. Darn! I knew I should have auditioned.

#15. "Sixth Man" (Season 15) - I really don't know what went through the minds of the people behind in this episode. I mean, an arrogant, pro-athlete with some serious temper problems getting charged with a crime? Wow, writers, why don't you just go work for The X-Files with that nonsense? Kidding aside, I don't know exactly how much of this is based on an actual story, but I think it's safe to say that, if nothing else, it teaches us what can happen if people are constantly allowed to get away with things.

#14. "Rage" (Season 5) - Courtney B. Vance. Yeah, that's really all you need to know about this episode. It's all I have to tell you as a reason to watch it. He was genius in this performance. I get that he is a known actor, and he gets work. Still, is he underrated or what?. It takes a lot for me to get a visceral reaction from someone's acting, but he nailed it here. I will say that, aside from that, this is actually a very well made episode. Gets a bit controversial, but that's what Law & Order does best. And if this is considered a warm-up for when he became a regular on Criminal Intent, it was a good one.

#13. "Killerz" (Season 10) - What is up with the spelling in some of these titles? Well, this is about kids, and kids can't spell apparently. You know what they can do, though? Kill other kids. Sadly, we do have kids killing kids in this one, and it's awful. I did learn one thing, though. It would seem that it is frowned upon to diagnose children with sociopathy. Um...why? I understand that we all tend to grow and change as we get older, both physically and mentally. But there's being immature, and then there's killing people. Yes, maybe spotting this early is a good idea. I mean, I am not a fan of undisciplined children, and this is rather beyond that.

#12. "Couples" (Season 13) - Four homicides and a kidnapping in one episode! Now that's what I call a day at the office. It's amazing. We get the cops driving around a drunk guy, a woman running over her ex with her car and Lennie delivering a baby. And that was just scratching the surface. Just...thank you. I say "thank you" both for the episode and for cops who probably have to go through this for real.

#11. "Reality Bites" (Season 20) - I think the writers of this episode had a fight, because one of them wanted to do a Jon and Kate Plus Eight story and the other wanted an Octomom story. And it was draw because we got both. So, Jim Gaffigan (Yes, we get some awesome Jim Gaffigan) is the father of several adopted children with special needs. His wife is murdered, and he becomes a suspect, of course. Another suspect is a women with ten kids that she had "naturally". And she is played hilariously by Nina Lisandrello. Why is she a suspect? Well, the two families were competing for a reality show. Yes, we are talking about reality television again. Why not? That's where the crazy people are. Apparently.

Join me next time for the final installment.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Nick Falco

Greetings Pups,

This post might be rather short. Very short. Why? Well, this "main character who got his name AND picture in the opening credits" was only that for four episodes. Okay, he also came back a season later for another, but it doesn't count. So here's a question: What the heck was up with Nick Falco?

Nick Falco was portrayed by Michael Imperioli for the tail end of Season 15 as a temporary replacement for Detective Green who got shot/Jesse L. Martin who was filming Rent. And that, apparently, warranted him a "starring" role. I am convinced that Dick Wolf called in a favor so that he wouldn't have to get a relatively unknown actor to temp for him. Although, that is exactly what he did when Eames went off to have a baby on Criminal Intent, but I digress.

Okay, what do I know about Nick Falco? Not much. He had two kids, bit of a loose cannon cop but not too much, and he was studying to become a lawyer. I guess if we want to count that extra fifth episode when he was no longer a main character, I can tell you about him being investigated for the murder of a woman who was found dead in his apartment. He was desperate to help with his own investigation to prove his innocence, which they did not allow. So, to be clear, we are not living by the philosophy of The Ministry in The Avengers ('98, BTW). Of course, he didn't listen much and almost wrecked the whole thing. As you do. And that's about all I know about Falco.

Look, as far as I know, most people were not fond of this character. I don't know how one forms an opinion based on such a short run. To me, he was just a guy who was there until Green came back. I didn't dislike him, but I also had to opportunity to get to know. But I will credit where it's dues, as always. Michael Imperioli is a fine actor, and he did a fine job with what he was given. So, I'll end this by saying "Thank you" to Mr. Imperioli. He stepped in when he was needed and did a nice thing so Law & Order could continue. Good man.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Law & Order Character Profile: Alexandra Borgia

Greetings Pups,

Okay, I mentioned that when a few new people came on Law & Order, they had a tough act to follow. But I think is the only occasion where someone was going to be loved no matter what just because she wasn't the girl who came before her. That's right. We're talking about Alex Borgia.

Alex Borgia was portrayed by Annie Parisse from the middle of Season 15 to the end of Season 16, making her the ADA with the shortest lifespan on the show. Now, if you're wondering why she came in mid-season, it's because she was replacing Serena Southerlyn. As you may recall, a lot of the Law & Order audience was not crazy about Serena. So, basically, Alex could have just sat in a corner doing crossword puzzles and people were going to enjoy her because she was not Serena. Thankfully, she did not do that, and I legitimately did enjoy her, even without comparisons.

I often speak of the strong women of Law & Order, but Alex Borgia was a bit different. Yes, she was strong when she needed to be, but it was also in a more timid and quiet way. I think it was because she generally came of as non-confrontational. For the most part, she did what she was told, never adding to the tension that could permeate through the DA's office. Still, if Alex had something to say she said it. In fact, due to her successful work and preparation in previous cases, she had earned a ton of respect from police officers and lawyers alike. So, she was not be messed with.

If I am forced to make a comparison, especially when it comes to politics and faith, I'd say Alex a gentler version of Abbie Carmichael. So, she is very Conservative, and, while her personal beliefs do not get involved in her work much, she does not think that any criminal is beyond redemption. Not that it stops her from going to battle with a defendant she thinks is guilty. Still, if I had to pick a word for her, I would choose compassionate. Alex, though always holding fast to the law, was very much willing to go to bat for victims. It's another thing that gains her a lot of respect. But, besides all that, she just seemed so polite and nice and sweet. Some people with whom I've spoken felt as though she had a little sister-y vibe to her. Like we all wanted to protect her and not let anyone mess with her. Ever. And that makes what happened to her all the more tragic.

The reason that Alex Borgia departed at the end of Season 16 is because she was murdered. And it was downright awful. First, she got kidnapped, and everyone was working their tails off to find her. Well, Green and Fontana did find her, but not the way they wanted to. I won't go into details too much, but it was brutal and terrible. I don't know if anyone was expecting that. Of course, that pushed everyone into high gear to get the people who did this do her, especially Jack McCoy. Though the circumstances were different, you could see that this was giving him flashbacks to when Claire passed away. I almost think he felt better this time, because at least he had someone to blame and punish for it. I know Alex wasn't on the show for long, but it was still a tearjerker for me.

As I said before, due to the circumstances, Annie Parisse could have come in, rested on her laurels and been okay, but she did not. She did a great job with the limited time she was given. And she managed to create a character that held up the tradition of strong women, but, nonetheless, a woman who was strong in a unique way. If you ask me, that's worth quite a lot.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Joe Fontana

Greetings Pups,

When new characters arrive on Law & Order, no matter how great they are, some of them have tough acts to follow. I don't think anyone had to deal with this more than Joe Fontana.

Joe Fontana was portrayed by the late, great Dennis Farina for Seasons 15 and 16. Which means he came in when Lennie Briscoe/Jerry Orbach left, after an eleven year run. And he was much loved during those eleven years. So, whomever they got to replace him was going to have a hard time. The good news is they didn't just get anyone; the bad news is that even another legendary actor needed time for the audience to warm up to him. Personally, I've always loved Dennis Farina. He just always seemed like a regular guy, and I mean that in the best way. But even I had to get used to somebody knew. It didn't take too long for me.

Fontana was from Chicago, where he was once a cop. Apparently, he left to do some conflict with someone he worked for. Wow, a lot of people on this show has issues with authority. Odd, considering how many people see them as authority. He also worked in The Bronx in Homicide before he started at the 27th Precinct. Immediately, he came across as quite different, not only from his predecessor, but from most cops. This was mainly due to his financial situation. And that situation was that he had very many finances. Whilst most cops on the show would classify themselves as blue collar, Fontana was rich, basically, and he was not afraid to show it off. For one thing, he had a Benz, and, on one occasion, he manged to get some blood on his $300 Italian shirt. His attitude to that was just "Oh, well. Whatever". And don't even get me started on the Gucci loafer incident. Of course, everyone was quick to assume he was shady or crooked or anything else they can think of, even Detective Green. It became obvious, though, that he just happened to have a lot of money. Personally, I think he was just a rich businessman, who woke up one day and thought, "I'm bored. I think I'll start being a cop". Why not?

We didn't learn a whole lot about Fontana during his time on the show. Most of it was in passing, more so than with most characters. He was a very proud and 'in touch with his roots' Italian, and he enjoyed hunting occasionally. Yeah, that went over really well with some of his co-workers. He also seemed to have a very protective nature when it came to everyone, from the victims to his own partner. He was very angry and emotional when Green was shot, and seeing how it affected him showed how close they had become as friends. I think it was that attribute that made it easier for people to embrace him.

Still, Fontana's mission to come to the rescue of victims could sometimes get a little out of hand. Most notable was the incident where he, in order to get a confession, may have put a guy's head in the toilet...a few times...ish. Look, he was just trying to keep the tradition of kind of rogue but still good-hearted cops on this show alive and kicking. Good job. Plus, he was pretty old school. Not just with his policeman techniques, but also with his choice of insults. You tell me where else on TV you can hear someone use the words "little jerk" and "big dummy" with such poise and finesse. Nowhere! Good times, indeed.

At the end of Season 16, Joe Fontana left the show with the simple explanation of retirement. In reality, Dennis Farina just wanted to move onto other things. And he certainly did. He did some more movies, one of which being a fantastic performance in Authors Anonymous, and he also did some more TV, like a recurring role on New Girl. Sadly, in 2013, Dennis Farina passed away. It was sad and a little unexpected. He was only 69, which I consider relatively young, but you never know. Still, he had a wonderful legacy to look back on, and you could certainly see how much respect people had for him as an actor and a person. I am truly grateful that, within that amazing resume, he decided to put in some Law & Order. And I still enjoy what he brought to it.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Friday, October 24, 2014

Top 100 Law & Order Episodes: 30-21

Greetings Pups,

Welcome back. And now for Numbers 30 through 21 of my Top 100 Law & Order episodes.

#30. "Helpless" (Season 3) - I mentioned this episode when talking about the character of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet. I said she should have been a full-on, picture in the opening, main character. This episode is one of the reasons why. It is centered around her and her, let's say, ordeal whilst visiting her gynecologist. Yeah, you can guess what happened. Carolyn McCormack is fantastic in this, and she deserves more props than she gets.

#29. "Family Hour" (Season 17) - In this episode, Harry Hamlin plays this politician with a seriously messed up family. We're talking drugs, abuse, murder, the whole nine. And Jeffrey Tambor plays this judge who is kind of insane in this emotionally unstable way. I can't even describe it. But the strangest casting in this is that of Jeremy Sisto. He's playing the defense. Okay, what's wrong? Well, this is the final episode of Season 17. He is introduced as Detective Lupo in the Season 18 premiere. Maybe you can get away with that when there are several months in between, but this is an age of marathons and binge watching. People will be confused. Still entertaining though.

#28. "Innocence" (Season 20) - It's not good when your past catches up with you, and that is exactly what happens to the lovely Michael Cutter in this episode. He has to go up against a former law professor of his, played deliciously vicious by Amy Madigan, who works for an organization that helps get innocent people out of jail. I know that makes her sound not vicious, but her tactics are questionable and she drags in her students. Well, when threatened, she attacks back...intensely. Even career ruiningly. Yeah, new word there.

#27. "Sweetie" (Season 19) - The author of a very successful and provocative autobiography is murdered, and this leads to an investigation where his validity as a writer is called into question. Keep an eye on Vivica Fox in this one. She's pretty stellar, especially in the last few moments. Here's something weird, though. This story is based on an actual author whose book became a movie featuring Jeremy Sisto. Whoa, that's quite a paradox.

#26. "Thin Ice" (Season 11) - Did I mention that I hate sports? Because I do, and I do for a lot of reasons. One reason is that some people are insane where sports are concerned, even violent, even deadly. Of course, I understand that the latter of those things are the exception. They are good decent people who like and are involved in sports. But they don't make for good episodes of Law & Order. No, we need to focus on the folks who kill coaches for whatever reason. Funny thing, this is hockey we're talking about, hence the "ice" in the title, because sometimes we must be obvious. But isn't hockey from Canada and aren't all Canadians super nice? What is wrong with the world?

#25. "Bad Faith" (Season 5) - On several occasions, religion is the topic of choice for an episode. Here, it is Catholicism, and yes, they will dealing with exactly what you think. The reason this one stands out, though, is because it centers around Mike Logan, who was raised in the Catholic church. One of his friends dies of an apparent suicide, and all of this leads back to a priest who abused a bunch of boys that Logan knew, as well as Logan himself. We often get reasons as to why people are how they are. I think this may have had a serious affect on Mike Logan.

#24. "Persona Non Gratae" (Season 18) - Some people may refer to Law & Order as being cutting edge in some areas. For example, the plot is about people lying about who they are on the internet. That's right. They were dealing with people "catfishing" before "catfishing" was even a thing. Okay, to be fair, this was based on an actual case but with the standard twist we usually get. Although, the reason this episode stands out for me because of one thing - Melissa Leo. She is so good in this. She does straight-up crazy very well.

#23. "Homesick" (Season 6) - I'm all for women being able to do whatever they want in life. I think they can have a family or a career or both, if that's what they want. Of course, if you want both, you might need a little help. Enter a nanny, or, in this case, an au pair. Just make sure that she is...Okay, I'm going to stop dancing around this. We have a baby dying in this one again. That part, I hate, but the rest is good. So, baby passes on and top suspect is the nany. Oh, sorry. I mean, the British au pair. I never would have guessed. Pretty good twist in this one, though. Also, we get the magnificence of Patti LuPone. I wish she was playing a singing defense attorney, but I'll take it either way.

#22. "Life Choice" (Season 1) - Well, that's an interesting combination of words for the title of this episode, considering it's subject. Here, we are dealing with the very controversial subject of abortion. In fact, this is considered the first, and perhaps the most, controversial episode of the entire series. I consider myself pro-life, but when people decide to bomb clinics and kill doctors, it disgusts me. Needless to say, this causes much tension on the show, which is what makes it all so gripping. It's just a very, very well done episode.

#21. "Vendetta" (Season 14) - Remember back in 2003, when that guy tried to catch a foul ball at a Cubs game, and he immediately became a pariah, even though he wasn't the only one who reached for the flippin' ball? Remember that?! Well, here, a guy is killed in a bar fight, and he turns out to be someone who tried to catch a foul ball at a Mets game, which caused them to lose a very important game. As Lennie said, the suspect list was "the greater New York phone book". Funny, because he appears to be a New Yorker still upset the whole thing. Anyway, this dead guy had been harassed big time, but, as per usual, the plot twists us to a completely different motive for the killing. Still, there's another reason to hate the sports.

Join me next time.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Arthur Branch

Greetings Pups,

We have had some very memorable departures on Law & Order, but what of the introductions? Well, one of them immediately comes to mind. Jack and Serena are in his office and the subject of the new DA, Arthur Branch, arises. Jack mentions that he has met him on a few occasions already and that he is a "nice fella". Serena replies with a question of sorts - "And his politics?" McCoy's response? "Nice fella". Mm-hmm. Sound the alarms. Republican alert! Perhaps, the most prominent one of all, but with good reason.

Arthur Branch was portrayed by Fred Dalton Thompson for five glorious years. Yes, that's Senator Thompson, by the way. Maybe that's why they made his politics such a thing with him. He was a very not shy Conservative, and he was so good about it. So, if you have never heard him talk, I will tell you that Arthur Branch is a Southern man, from Georgia specifically, and he stays in New York mostly because his wife, Lillian, loves it there. How sweet. He was elected DA in 2002, and he felt it was because New Yorkers wanted someone who was very tough on crime so that they would feel safer. He was, after all, in favor of the death penalty, quite different from his predecessor. The interesting thing about him is that, even if you didn't agree with him politically, you still liked him. He was a very likable character. Or maybe it was because he was always putting Serena Southerlyn in her place. Heh, heh. Sorry.

To be fair, more than a few people took issue with him. Looking back, I think that sometimes it had little to do with his politics and more to do with the fact that he was very strict about the laws of the land. He pointed to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights quite a few times, just to say, "Yeah, there it is. That's our law. Deal with it". It was pretty concrete to him, whilst some of his colleagues saw it as rather bendy. You know who you are. But, just because he holds fast to the law and has strong personal beliefs, he always had the ability to look at things case by case and make informed decisions. Yes, he supports the death penalty, but if it's not the way to go for a particular situation, he looks for other options. Perhaps, this is why, despite disagreements, people do respect Branch. He sure seems to know what he's talking about concerning the law. He did go to Yale, after all. And Yale Law School. Then, he TAUGHT at Yale Law School. I'd like to think that counts for something. Of course, when all else fails, he would just throw out some of his Southern wisdom, and you sort of involuntarily nod in agreement. No matter what he says. It's practically hypnotic.

Now, Arthur Branch's departure from the show was not as memorable as some of the other cast members. I don't even think it was mentioned in his final episode. Although, the last time he is seen talking to McCoy, he asks if he'll ever run for DA, and McCoy says that he's not a politician. Branch tells him that that's what everyone says. I bring this up because, whilst Branch's departure was nothing to shake a stick at, in real life, it was rather unique. In case you didn't know, Fred Thompson left the show in order to run for president. I don't think that has ever happened in Law & Order world. And, yet, I said many times that I hoped he would run for president one day. Then, he did...for a while. Yeah, before I had the chance to vote for him, he dropped, as many people have done. At least, he gave me a couple of months to dream. Thank you, sir.

I'll end now by saying this - I absolutely love Arthur Branch. He was such fun to have around, and I know it's weird when I say that about a show like Law & Order, considering it revolves around murder and all that. But I can't help it. He made me smile a lot. Maybe because he reminded me of a cross between my grandpa and Johnny Cash. No lie. And to this day, I still love Fred Thompson as well. Again, can't help it. Love how he talks, love what says, just love how he is. For what more could I ask.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Serena Southerlyn

Greetings Pups,

Oh, I have to talk about Serena now, don't I? This one may be a bit...difficult. And maybe a little different.

Serena Southerlyn was portrayed by Elisabeth Rohm from Season 12 to the middle of Season 15. Okay, I'm going to discuss Ms. Rohm and her acting later, but let's get to her character first. I want to make sure I am separating the two, because I have different things to say about them. I was never, ever a fan of Serena's. Like ever. I have never even met anyone who liked her. I'm sure the people who enjoy her do exist, but I have never come across them. "Inept" was a word I've often heard used, as well as "robotic". Yeah, she was not a good character. I'm sorry.

I think I have to dive right in to talking about her politics, since this was a stepping off point for some of her problems. Now Serena was a hardcore Liberal, which made her get along with Nora Lewin. Once Nora left, however, she was alone with McCoy and Arthur Branch. They did not agree often, if ever, especially when it came to the death penalty, since both guys were for it. The problem is this. Whilst there has always been conflict in the DA's office, what with people having disagreements on many issues, it was also done in a very adult, articulate manner. Everyone, even those you thought were wrong, at least sounded intelligent and they made valid arguments for their side. When Serena tried to pose an argument, she just came off sounding like a bratty teenager, annoyed when her parents were trying to tell her what's what. She just always seemed very young, but in the bad way. And this is how they wrote her. I don't get why they made her character this way. I just do not. Explain, someone, explain.

Alright, let's discuss the one thing that always comes up where Serena Southerlyn is concerned - her departure from the show. Major spoilers for the episode "Ain't No Love", by the way. So, in this episode, a young man was accused of a crime, and Serena felt he wasn't guilty. She made it known, and then some. At the end of said episode, Branch called her into his office and told her that she would be better suited to being a defense attorney because she seemed more passionate about helping people legally that way. Never insulted her skills as a lawyer, in general. Just said she was being the wrong kind of lawyer for her talents. Still, he was firing her. Her response: "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" His response: "No, of course not". Audience response: "WHAAAAAAAAAAT?" I don't believe that a single fan of this show was not stunned by what she just revealed. I know I said that this show has never centered around the characters' personal lives, but we still knew things about them. This seems like a thing we would have known. But, OH, NO! It was never even hinted at, in my opinion. And I don't mean that in the moment I couldn't think of anything. No, I went back and watched her episodes. Nothing. I mean, did I miss something? I don't know. This makes me have the sneaking suspicion that they did this just to get people talking. If that was plan, mission accomplished, because we are still talking about it.

Okay, now let me say something about Elisabeth Rohm. I did agree with many people in my dislike of Serena, but some people took that dislike and transferred it to the real world. So, poor Elisabeth got the brunt of people's disapproval. I don't feel this way. I do not think that she is a bad actress. I have seen her in other roles, and she is more than capable. In fact, I watched her in a TV movie called Amber's Story, and she was very, very good in it. I just think the show messed up with the character, and everyone ended up blaming Elisabeth Rohm. It wasn't her fault; it was her job.

So, since I was not quite nice to Serena Southerlyn in this post, I will stop now whilst I am giving her portrayer some well-deserved, and probably overdue, compliments.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Law & Order Character Profile: Nora Lewin

Greetings Pups,

By Season 11, Law & Order was pretty much cemented as an iconic part of pop culture, not to mention that it had been as acclaimed as a show could be. So, it takes a special actress to come along to make the audience say "Wow, they got her to be a regular!" Such was the case when the character of Nora Lewin was introduced.

Nora Lewin was portrayed by Dianne Wiest for Seasons 11 and 12. Yeah, two-time Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest. You know, I always imagined that, if she ever got into an argument with anyone on the show, she could just win by saying "How many Oscars do YOU have? That's what I thought". Okay, she probably didn't do that, but she was an impressive get for the show. Not that we weren't impressed by some of those legendary boys, but, again, girl power and all that. Anyway, Nora Lewin came in after Adam Schiff left to be the New York City District Attorney. She was the only woman to ever hold the title on the show, which is a step farther than reality since NYC had never had a woman DA, apparently. Gee, New York, I thought you were progressive. What's up with that? Now, Nora was a law professor before this job, so some people assumed she wasn't qualified, saying that, while she was knowledgeable, she had no hands on experience. I suppose I can understand that, since teaching law and practicing law in that setting is a bit different. Although, if memory serves, Rudy Guiliani walked her into the office on her first day. That has to be worth something. Especially considering their differences politically.

Yes, Nora was a Liberal, something that caused disagreements with her colleagues, like Abbie Carmichael and even Jack McCoy every now and then. So, you know she had to be hardcore, and she was. Still, it never was to an obnoxious degree. She was one of the best examples of how Law & Order kept things balanced very well politically. One thing that was brought up on occasion was Nora's opposition to the death penalty. However, she was forced to face making a decision in its favor, mostly because of the case and for the hopes that her office would not look as though it was easy on crime. Once that label gets attached to you, the criminals start getting ideas. I really liked that particular episode because you could see how conflicted she was about it. Nora was one for standing up for her beliefs, but you see her truly realize that it's not always just about her. She was representing the people of an entire city, working for their safety. I think the toughness of these types of decisions may have been why she left.

After Season 12, Nora departed the DA's office, deciding not to run for the office, as she was an interim appointed by the governor. They never actually addressed why she left. She just kind of fell of the show, as they say. But Dick Wolf mentioned in one of his books (yes, apparently, there are tie-in books) that she just didn't want to to it anymore. Understandable. Dianne Wiest kind of went through the same thing in real life, deciding that she was done with the role and wanted to move on. Understandable as well.

I have to say that, despite our many differences, I had to admire the character of Nora Lewin. She made her voice known and did her best not to back down from what she thought was right. Even if I thought she was wrong, at least she stood by her convictions. Better than apathy. And, I mean, come on! It's Dianne Wiest, for crying out loud. Do you think she was ever not great in her weekly performances? Yeah, that's right. I consider it an honor that, even for a short time, she graced us with her presence.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 100 Law & Order Episodes: 40-31

Greetings Pups,

Welcome back to the Top 100 Law & Order episodes, in my opinion. Let's continue with Numbers 40 to 31.

#40. "Punk" (Season 9) - I like this episode because it has a good amount of Abbie Carmichael. Here, an inmate she got convicted is a suspect in the death of a corrections officer. Her defense is that he was abusing her regularly, but Abbie seems to brush off her excuse, as though she doesn't even believe it. This episode is one of those wherein we get to go beneath the surface with one of the main characters, and it is superb.

#39. "Doubles" (Season 4) - So, what would have happened if Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were tennis players rather than figure skaters? This episode, that's what! Although, we should probably also throw that whole Monica Seles thing in there, too. Then again, maybe we'll get two red herrings as the plot carries on. Frankly, the most memorable thing about this episode is the guest starring role by a great actress named Stacey Moseley, who I remember from a little show from my youth called Swan's Crossing. A show on which she had a small rivalry with a character played by Mira Sorvino, whoses dad is Paul Sorvino, who used to be on this show. Yeah, that's right.

#38. "Called Home" (Season 18) - This is our first episode featuring Det. Cyrus Lupo. Yay! After the body of his brother is found, dead from an apparent suicide, Lupo is "called home" to deal with everything. Initially, he is not there to come and work on the case, as he is related to the victim and is not permitted to do so, but eventually, the case expands so he can help get justice for his brother. But, wait, you're thinking. Justice for a suicide? One word - Kevorkian. Yeah, they used that story again, but very well, obviously. And am I the only one who just kept calling the doctor "Dr. Chucky"...because it was Brad Dourif? I hope not.

#37. "Red Ball" (Season 16) - Best thing about this episode is that Det. Green comes back after a short absence. So, thumbs up there. Actually, this episode is one of the "I'm Jack McCoy and I do what I want" installments. A young girl is kidnapped, and they manage to find the perpetrator fairly quickly. They do not, however, find the girl, because he has an accomplice, and he will only tell where to find her if he gets full immunity. Not everyone wants to go along with this, bur some do. All I have more to say is that we get a priceless deus ex machina ending from the judge. Thank you, your honor.

#36. "Mushrooms" (Season 1) - Do you enjoy movie previews? I do, and here we get something of the equivalent. What we get is a preview of the marvelous time we would eventually be having with S. Epatha Merkerson. In this episode, she plays the mother of two shooting victims. Do I even have to tell you that she's brilliant? No. Just watch the episode.

#35. "White Rabbit" (Season 5) - I sure do like Alice in Wonderland and the Jefferson Airplane, so, of course, this one stood out for me. I'll assume that this title was chosen because the episode is about some anti-war hippies, albeit from the '70s not the '60s, getting their comeuppance after twenty some odd years. It does raise the valid question concerning whether or not a person should be punished the same for a past crime if they have made a 180 change for the present. The answer is yes, by the way.

#34. "3 Dawg Night" (Season 12) - Yeah. D-A-W-G. Let's move on. So, if an actress was ever needed to play Jennifer Lopez, who should be the lucky lady? If you said Kerry Washington, you should watch this episode. No lie, this episode is about a shooting in a NYC night club, wherein an actress and her rapper boyfriend get pulled into the investigation. Subtle! Of course, this does end differently than in real life. I mean, I doubt any celebrity would hire the guy from Star Trek: Insurrection to be their lawyer. Oh, wait. I already made an Insurrection joke on one of these lists. How about if I mention he was in The Good Son? Seriously, though, Daniel Hugh Kelly is a fine actor. So is Idris Elba, and he's in this, too. Gee, why didn't they point the finger at him? As the guys from Cinemasins said, "Heimdall did it!"

#33. "For the Defense" (Season 20) - As I've mentioned, there have been a plethora of nerve-getting-on defense attorneys over the run of this series. I think that Marcus Woll is one that I most love to hate. And he was only on the show like two times. He outdid himself here, though. A former prosecutor, he once worked with Connie Rubirosa on a case wherein the key witness disappeared. He treats her pretty crappy, but she holds her own and then some, as women on this show are oft to do. By the way, this Woll guy is played by a lovely actor named Jonathan Cake. I don't hate HIM.

#32. "Absentia" (Season 13) - Darn it, Mandy Patinkin. Why do you want me to hate you? I'm not kidding. He plays this really obnoxious character, who, when put on trial for a crime, gives the stangest excuses for his behavior. I don't know if it was hubris or insanity or dumbness. I guess you could pick either of the last two if he happened to be reprising his role from Yentl. What is wrong with you?! Barbra Streisand did not look like a little boy, you weirdo. But I digress. In all seriousness, I do really like Mandy Patinkin, and I thought he gave an amazing performance.

#31. "Illegitimate" (Season 19) - The plot of this episode is so strange that I never would have guessed it was actually based on a true story, though many plots are. First, there are hostages, then someone is killed, then we're dealing with stolen old documents, and finally, the piece de resistance, Christopher McDonald pops up trying to claim he is the illegitimate son of - wait for it - JFK. I just...what?! You know what the really crazy thing is? If you look at Christopher McDonald, he could probably pass for a Kennedy man, so good casting on that one. Also, on a sentimental note, we get one of the final performances of the legendary Rue McClanahan. It's a good way to go out.

Join me next time.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, October 20, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Ed Green

Greetings Pups,

I've noticed over the years that certain shows have felt the need to do musical episodes. When it comes to most of them, I have no idea why. Law & Order is a show that I always wanted to have a musical episode of. Why? Because there are a few musical people who have roamed the hallowed halls of this series. We've had Paul Sorvino, Jerry Orbach, Jill Hennessy and, of course, the actor who played the character who is our subject today, Ed Green.

Ed Green was portrayed by Jesse L. Martin from Season 10 to Season 18. He showed up to replaced Rey Curtis and was partnered up with Lennie Briscoe. Let me just say this right off the bat. Of all the cop couplings on this show, I think that Briscoe and Green had the absolute best chemistry. I loved them together so much. Of course, don't take this to mean that they didn't have their differences and always got along. They had their troubles, but they seemed like such good friends, despite all the teasing about age and other things.

From his very first episode, we learn that Green has a thing for the gambling. And he must be good at it because he's always got a Rolex on his wrist. We also learn quickly of his style when it comes to interrogation, and how flip-floppy some of his colleagues are. No lie. In his first episode, he got scolded for being a little too rough with a suspect, then, the next time, he got scolded for being too nice to this little girl he was trying to get a story out of. Seriously, people. Grow the heck up and choose a demeanor. Of course, Green probably ended up swinging a bit more towards the side of being aggressive. Not necessarily physically, but sometimes verbally. That gave us some memorable moments, and ones we'd get used to. I know I always looked forward to when he was alone in the room with some racist suspect. We all knew we were SO going to get a good line out it. Best one was when they were questioning some scientist who just, out of the blue, turned out to be racist. He learned quickly that one does not mess with Ed Green.

Anyway, as I said, Green and Briscoe had a great relationship, which led to him taking it hard when Briscoe retired. He was able to move on, though, to three more partners. I think he may have the distinction of having the most of any cop, but I'm not sure. That requires me to do math, and...no. So, after Briscoe, came Joe Fontana, who it took him a bit to warm up to. Same went for everyone there, I think. Then, he was partnered with Nina Cassady, making him now a Senior Detective and the only guy in the original show to have a female teammate. And, finally, he was put with Cyrus Lupo, and, next to Briscoe, I think I liked these guys together most. So, of course, we only got them together for like ten episodes or something. Thanks, Show.

I should probably bring up a little predicament Green had to go through in Season 15. That predicament is that he got shot and almost died. Well, it's a cruel world out there. Oh, and this was a crossover with Law & Order: Trial By Jury, so, if you didn't watch the episode of THAT that went along with THIS, you most likely sweated out the entire summer, wondering if Green made it. Anyway, he was out of commission and the show for about the last five episodes of the season. Apparently, this was written into his story arc so that Jesse Martin could go and be in the movie version of Rent. Well, I certainly hope that was worth almost giving me a heart attack thinking that Ed Green was going to die on me. Again...THANKS!

When he returned, Green was back for another two and a half seasons. Well, more like two and a quarter. Sixteen, seventeen and half of eighteen, which was only half a season so...Oh, crap! Math! Green's departure was not unexpected, as we had all gotten the news in the real world. It was quite emotional, though, and so much stuff came out about Green that we were not aware of. After Briscoe left and then passed away, he had started gambling again. Then, in this episode, he was getting charged with shooting some guy he used to know. And there was this woman who was a friend of his involved. I touched on this when I talked about the specific episode. Yes, it was a lot to take in. Still, very powerful, though, and a good way for him to go out, certainly from an acting standpoint.

So, thankfully, we got a good eight and half years with Ed Green. Very good. I certainly had an enjoyable time with him, and I loved watching such a complex character grow and change and learn over the years. Sure, he was a flawed man, but he was a good man. As far as I'm concerned, the only really unforgivable thing he did was be a vegetarian. Okay, fine. Since it's him, I'll let it slide. And I'm sure that one of the biggest reasons I warmed up to Green was because of Jesse L. Martin. I had known him from previous work, and I was so glad to see him to such a stellar job here with a character that was very different. That's what a fine actor can do, and so that is exactly what he did.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Abbie Carmichael

Greetings Pups,

One of the things I like best about Law & Order is how it tends to depict the female characters as being very strong women. Not cold or callous, but more than capable and also full of heart. Still, if I had to call any of the ladies of the show a full on "tough chick", I would go with Abbie Carmichael. By the way, I am using that as a term of endearment, because I consider it a compliment. But while she may have seemed that way on the outside, she was no one-dimensional character.

Abbie Carmichael was portrayed by Angie Harmon from 1998 to 2001. Right off the bat, I liked her. Maybe it was the awesomely, husky voice or the raven hair, but she kind of reminded me of Claire Kincaid at first. That was rather comforting. Although, once we move passed the vocal and...I guess, follicle similarities, these two ladies were rather different from one another. Abbie was a very ardent Conservative. She was pro-life, opposed gun control, had no problem with the death penalty and believed that prison was meant to be a punishment and nothing else. Needless to say, this caused some occasional headbutting between her and McCoy...and Adam Schiff...and later, Nora Lewin. Okay, she knew how to ruffle feathers, but she also knew how to stand up for herself. Hence, why I find her so resilient. Still, I liked her best when we saw both sides of her as a person, because I always saw her as a bit of a gentle soul deep down, even a bit wounded. But a survivor, nonetheless.

There were a few episodes wherein Abbie ended up being a central figure, which lead to us getting to know her better. In Season 9, she had to prosecute a woman for killing the corrections officer she said was abusing her. For some reason, Abbie had almost a vendetta against her, wanting the woman to get life in prison. Even though she was always passionate about her work, there was something quite different about her with this case, like she was pushing away something that she didn't want to face. Or didn't want to face again. In the end, we find out a pretty dark secret from her past. It was nothing she did, but rather something that was done to her. Since this was her first year, I think it was the moment when everyone welcomed her in completely. It sure made me want to give her a hug. And, since it was Jack McCoy in whom she confided, you could see that she was easing her way into what ended up being a good friendship. Another time, we see Abbie's vulnerability when a friend of hers is killed. For someone who seems to set aside emotions a lot, she didn't here.

Still, within the walls of all that angst, don't think that we couldn't get some lightheartedness from Abbie. For example, there were a few times when the cops and the EADA came to blows, trying to prove who was tougher by, of course, acting a bit immature. Because boys. Oh, she reigned them in alright. don't you worry. And I just can't forget the moment when this kind of sleazy defense attorney thought it would be a good idea to hit on her. The look she gave him was priceless. Listen up, guys. Do not pull your crap around Abbie. She WILL put you in your place.

Eventually, Abbie did depart from the District Attorney's office, in order to work at the U.S. Attorney's office. I'm pretty sure that's a promotion. And when she left, it was on a rather high note. Angie Harmon, apparently, wanted Abbie to be killed off in some big to-do, but, after certain similar events that had happened before, everyone else thought it would be too much for the audience, not to mention poor Jack McCoy. Agree. Now, I have heard that Angie Harmon said she was getting discontented with the schedule of the show, and she wanted to do some different roles. Allegedly, she was even up for a part in Charlie's Angels. No offense, but I've seen that movie. I kind of think she dodged a bullet on that one. Just my opinion. Still, I see where she was coming from. As an artist, you don't want to get stuck, and moving on to different things is only natural. I have seen her in different things, by the way, and she is brilliant.

Honestly, Abbie Carmichael is one of my all-time favorite characters from Law & Order. I just love the way she was. I love how she carried herself, and the way that Angie played her made her, I think, one of the most inspirational female characters of all time. So, Mamas, if your babies want to grow up to be Abbie Carmichael, or Angie Harmon for that matter, let them.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer





Saturday, October 18, 2014

Top 100 Law & Order Episodes: 50-41

Greetings Pups,

Welcome back as we continue to countdown my Top 100 episodes of Law & Order, today, taking care of Numbers 50 through 41.

#50. "Can I Get a Witness?" (Season 14) - If you're trying to convince someone to do the right thing, don't show them this episode. Apparently, doing the right thing can cause you some serious problems. In this case, the right thing was testifying in a murder trial. And said problems I mentioned can range from death to getting threatened by an annoying defense attorney. I'm pretty sure that is frowned upon in the courtroom. I guess this guy won't be one of the man defense attorneys to become a judge later.

#49. "Burn Card" (Season 18) - Can no one ever leave this show/the NYPD because of something good happening to them? Like, I don't know, they win the lottery or something. Nope, it's always them getting fired or getting killed or, God forbid, getting transferred to Staten Island. In this episode, Det. Green gets accused of shooting a guy he used to know. Spoilers, he doesn't get convicted or anything, not for lack of trying on Cutter's part, but the stuff that comes out of the woodwork is insane. I mean, we all knew that Green was a gambler, and that is a central point here. But then, there's this woman who he is really close to and she's all messed up in this, and this other guy he used to know. Seriously, I thought I knew Ed Green. Maybe not. Although, this did give us a great transition into our time with Det. Bernard. Well done.

#48. "Born Again" (Season 12) - Relax, my fellow Christian soldiers. Despite the title, this episode is not an attack on us. Which means Stephen King didn't write the script. This is more of an indictment of psychologists or psychiatrists (I still don't know the difference) who use some severely alternative methods. I'm all for trying new things, but not when they result in dead bodies. Also, this has a guest appearance by Wendy Makkena, the little ginger nun with a great big voice from Sister Act. Which raises the question of why did she go to a shrink? Didn't she remember that all problems can be solved by starting a choir?

#47. "Animal Instinct" (Season 3) - When a person has an issue with being delusional in real life, it is a very unfortunate thing, even sad, to see someone so out of touch with the world. When it happens in a show like Law & Order, it's intriguing and entertaining like you wouldn't believe. At least, it can be if you get someone like Frances Fisher to play that woman. Yes, I do give her complete credit as to why this makes the list. I don't even know the last time I uttered the words "Holy crap, she's crazy" more times than I did during the last few moments of this episode.

#46. "Violence of Summer" (Season 1) - In this episode, Stone questions the credibility of a rape victim, causing him to dismiss charges against the three men accused. Later, the cops realize that there may have even been a fourth person involved. Seems like a good plot, but why exactly do I enjoy this episode so much? Samuel L. Jackson and Philip Seymour Hoffman, my friends. That's some good early career acting.

#45. "Murder Book" (Season 17) - So, this former athlete went on trial for killing his ex-wife and got acquitted and then wrote a book about what it would have been like if he had actually killed her. Wow, Show, you are not messing around with this one, are you? Anyway, within the confines of this episode, Bobby Cannavale plays that former athlete, only now he's on trial for another murder, and he thinks McCoy has a vendetta because he couldn't convict him last time. Yeah, he might be right about that one. You be the judge.

#44. "Shangri-La" (Season 13) - After a female teacher is murdered, the cops start to investigate a fellow male teacher who, shocker, has been sleeping with a student. But there's good news for him on two counts. First, he didn't kill the other teacher, and, second, the student with whom he was involved was not underage. Like REALLY not underage. She's actually a grown woman who keeps going to different places with a new identity, so she can go back to high school. Um, what? Who the heck would want to go through that again? To this day, I have no idea if this character really had these multiple personalities or if she just liked messing with people. Watch it and let me know.

#43. "Blaze" (Season 14) - A fire breaks out at a small club where an aging rock band is playing, killing 23 people in the process. Several suspects, mostly those involved with the band, are investigated, but the cops are lead to how a young woman who was attending may have been involved. This character is played quite well by Aleksa Palladino, and when you get to the "twist" I guess, the whole story ends up being even more heartbreaking.

#42. "For Love or Money" (Season 12) - Holy smokes, I love Cathy Moriarty in this episode. She is fantastic as this gold-digger woman who is on trial for the murder of a hit man whom she may or may not have hired to kill her husband. That is cold as heck, lady, but she seriously did an amazing job. And I don't want to undermine the subtle yet wonderful performance by Katherine Moennig who played her daughter. They worked so well with each other, and their last scene together is a classic.

#41. "Ain't No Love" (Season 15) - When a legendary rap artist is murdered, everything points to a young protege being guilty. And, then, shenanigans. There are quite a few twists and turns in this plot, and we do get to enjoy Fontana's reaction to the rap music. It's exactly what you think it is. But, arguably, the most memorable part of this episode happens in the last few minutes. Throughout the episode, Serena is helping the young defendant, as she believes him to be innocent. So, Branch calls her into his office to tell her that, despite her good work as a prosecutor, she would be better suited to being a defense attorney. Basically, he fires her. And then she responds with what may be the biggest "Whaaaat?" moment of the entire series. I'll talk about that detail when I talk more about Serena. But, as for now, I'm not going to spoil this one. You just need to see it for yourself.

Join me next time.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Friday, October 17, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Jamie Ross

Greetings Pups,

As I previously said, Seasons 7 and 8 of Law & Order were kind of just okay for me, personally. Again, probably because everyone else was especially super loving it at that time, and I must be different. Also, again, I am not blaming any particular actor who may have been on the show during those years. No actor, and surely, no actress. Now let's talk about some Jamie Ross.

Jamie Ross was portrayed by Carey Lowell from 1996 through 1998. Yep, Season 7 and 8. I swear I do not blame her for why these seasons were far from my favorite. I think it's yet another case of "tough act to follow". Look, I was nuts about Claire Kincaid/Jill Hennessy, and her departure was a very sudden and unexpected blow. Perhaps, at the time, I was not mature enough to realize that one must move on and accept the new. Otherwise, you might miss out on something rather good. I am now, though, and there is plenty good I can say about Jamie Ross, not to mention Carey Lowell.

When Jamie began working as an ADA, things were a bit shaky, to say the least. Not only was the audience dealing with the blow of what had happened the season before, but her new boss, Jack McCoy, was still stinging from it as well. And she had to deal with that. Jamie was also another one who was rather strict about the rules and held fast to her legal ethics. So, yeah, she and McCoy may have had a few problems in the beginning. Okay, they disagreed a lot for her entire time on the show, and yet, they did become good friends. You can disagree with someone and still be friends with them. I've seen it happen. Plus, like McCoy, she did always come across as being very passionate about her work. That's why Season 8 was such a conundrum for her.

If I'm being completely honest, I have to say that Jamie's personal story arc was one of the best things about that season. It was rather brutal as she was dealing with going through a very bad divorce, which involved a custody battle. Those get ugly a lot. And whether or not you were a fan of Jamie's on a regular basis, you'll totally be on her side when the ex-husband shows up. He was not nice. He was also a lawyer, so he knew how to mess with her through the system, which had a major affect on her work. Eventually, she leaves the DA's office, gets remarried and finds a way to work while being able to devote more time to her family.

Interestingly enough, some of the best moments from Jamie Ross, as well as Carey Lowell, come when she was not even on the show anymore. After her departure, we learn that she has become - what else? - a defense attorney, and she appears in a few episodes in that capacity. Like Robinette before her, it is a bit strange to see her going head to head with her former superiors as well as her successors. Yeah, one time, she and Abbie Carmichael were about an inch away from a girl fight, which would have been wild to see. But, no, because professional. Also the same, her passion for her work with the law is still there, wholeheartedly. And then, in 2005, we see her on Law & Order: Trial by Jury as a judge. Very well done. Of all the former defense attorneys on Law & Order that become judges, and there were quite a few, I'd say she deserved it the most.

In conclusion, I'll admit that Jamie Ross was one that had to grow on me over time. Just because of the situation surrounding her arrival. Still, I can look back now and see her, as well as Carey Lowell, as a very good asset to the franchise. Keeping the tradition of strong women on this show very much alive.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Law & Order Character Profile: Rey Curtis

Greetings Pups,

When a series lasts a very long time, as Law & Order did, there tends to be dips in either quality or popularity. With this show lasting twenty years, I think that certain people have certain times that, while they still liked it, their zealousness may have subsided a bit. Personally, for me, things sloped a little in Season 6, plateaued for 7 and 8, then started to pick up steam again in Season 9. Ironically, I think these were some of its most acclaimed years. Since I have a propensity for going against the flow, I choose not to blame anyone who may have been on the show at these times. Certainly not who I'm talking about today, Rey Curtis.

Rey Curtis was portrayed by Benjamin Bratt from Season 6 to Season 9. So, yeah, you may think I blame him for my thrills calming. I don't think that's true. Sure, I watch these episodes the least, probably, but this character, not to mention the actor, was a good one. It may have been a case of having a tough act to follow, since he came in right after Logan left and, though I complained about him a lot, I really liked him. And talk about a change where that was concerned. You see, Curtis was very into rule following and whatnot, lots of black and white with very little room for gray. Sounds good to me. He certainly did not appreciate criminals avoiding being put in jail because of certain reasons. You know, like "Boo-hoo, Daddy didn't hug you enough, so it's okay that you killed someone!" Yeah, no. Don't get me wrong, though, he has been known to lose his cool on occasion. Usually with a good reason. Perhaps, that sense of right and wrong comes from his religion. He is a practicing Catholic, something that often works its way into his professional life, for better or worse. Also, when it comes to politics, Curtis seems to be rather Conservative. He has problems with in vitro fertilization, violence in the media and affirmative action. Being a minority himself, he believes he got where he is without any extra help.

Now let's talk about that personal life. Curtis was married to a lovely woman named Deborah, and they had three beautiful daughters, Olivia, Serena and Isabel (Two of those are named after Dick Wolf's kids BTW). So, of course, he cheated on her. With Jennifer Garner, no less. What's up with that? Okay, I'm pretty sure that it only happened once, and, yes, the one time mistress was played by Jennifer Garner. Still, it did cause quite a bump in the marriage, as to be expected and as well it should have. They did end up getting some counseling, but then, Deborah was diagnosed with MS. Curtis blamed himself for this, seeing it as punishment from God for his sins. Not sure it works like that, but you can see why he mat have felt that way. Eventually, he chose to leave the NYPD in order to care for his ailing wife. About ten years later, he returns to both New York and the show when she passes on. The conversation he has with Van Buren in that episode is quite a tearjerker.

Also, this one time, we find out that he is a fan of Oasis and Big Brother & the Holding Company. Points, my friend. Major points.

I'll just close by saying this. Initially, I may not have clicked much with Rey Curtis, but I have come to appreciate him over the years, in hindsight. And I certainly can't deny the great acting of Benjamin Bratt. There was something very real and effortless about his portrayal, and I always love that quality in an actor. Therefore, I declare his contribution to Law & Order as great.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Law & Order Character Profile: Jack McCoy

Greetings Pups,

Like I said before, there are certain people and/or characters that immediately come to mind when you think of Law & Order. People like Briscoe and Van Buren and the guy I'm going to talk about today, Jack McCoy.

Jack McCoy was portrayed by Sam Waterston from the start of Season 5 to the very end of the series. Nice long tenure there. He started out as the Executive Assistant District Attorney and then got promoted to actual District Attorney in Season 18. That means he finally got to be the boss. I sure do hope he never lets the power go to his head or does a lot of "do as I say, not as I did" hijinks. Anyway, when he begins his run, we quickly see that he is not much like the man who came before. While Ben Stone was very by-the-book, McCoy had a philosophy of "Rules? Ha Ha Ha!" He might have even had that as a tattoo. What? Prove to me that he didn't. Needless to say, this behavior did not always go over so well with a lot of people. A LOT! In fact, McCoy even got a few contempt citations, something that I wonder if he thought was a badge of honor. Still, he does get quite a few hand slaps from whomever happens to be the DA, but he does do a good job most of the time.

When it comes to his personal beliefs and ideals, McCoy was raised a Catholic but doesn't really practice the religion, even coming off as a bit agnostic at times. His somewhat disdain for the church certainly shows when they are casing revolving around religion, particularly when it is used as some kind of defense. To be honest, that kind of ticks me off, too. He even tried to get a confession to a priest put in as evidence against someone, since he's "not a Catholic at work". Or outside of it as far as I can see. Now, when it comes to the death penalty, he doesn't mind it all that much. In fact, he uses it as a bargaining chip in a lot of plea discussions. Of course, this is back when New York actually had the death penalty. Yeah, no more, as far as I know. Apparently, this caused problems with some colleagues who were more on the liberal side of the issue. Although, speaking of Liberal, McCoy has also been accused of having a Liberal agenda when it came to prosecuting some of his cases. Come to think of it, that happened just in the last few years of the show. So, my question about that is "Are you just now noticing that he does this? Or are you just now bringing it up?" Because, yes, I have noticed this, many times. I guess he's open to using whatever he can to get a conviction. But that's just McCoy. He has a rep for wanting to be a bit rebellious against...well, frankly, anything and everything. Though, I think it's done for the greater good, in his opinion. Oh, and speaking of reputations...

Yeah, when I talked about Claire Kincaid, I mentioned that these two had a little thing going on, but she wasn't the first. Actually, when they initially met, this was one of the first things she addressed, I suppose to let him know that on no uncertain terms would they be getting involved. Right. His response was that, in his 24 years as EADA, he only had relations, as it were, with three women. Okay, but it doesn't help that he only had three women ADA's in total, so...yeah. Not helping your case there, my friend. However, one of those women did become his wife, eventually. Still, his having done all this does occasionally come back to bite him.

So, concerning more about his personal life, McCoy did have another wife, in addition to the aforementioned one. He also has a daughter, Rebecca, with whom he has had a bit of a strained relationship. Because EVERYBODY hates their parents on this show. Happily, though, in the last few years of the series, they seemed to be on good terms again. We even get to see her one time. I've drawn conclusions that McCoy's issues with parenting may have stemmed from his father, who was a cop and abusive to him and his mother. His dad was also, apparently, a racist, punching McCoy once because he dated a Polish girl. And McCoy is Irish, so...Wow, really? There's that much of an issue between Irish and Polish. I had no idea. But he does tend to bring up his father a lot, usually referring to his status as a cop. Maybe he chooses to not forget all the things, good and bad, that made him who he is.

In conclusion, even though I often disagree with McCoy on his methods and other things, I still like him, a lot, actually. Say what you will about him, but you can never say he's not passionate. He will definitely fight for what he believes in. Agree or not, I'll take that over someone being apathetic any day. And, though it probably goes without saying, most of the credit as to why McCoy is so popular goes to Sam Waterston. What a legend. As a matter of fact, when I speak of Jack McCoy and Sam Waterston's portrayal, I've sometimes said that he reminds me a tad of Gregory Peck doing his Atticus Finch. I know that may be sacrilegious to some, but it's all about the way he commands the courtroom. It just reminds me so much of that other iconic character and actor combination. Again, credit where it's due, I think Sam Waterston, and what he did on this show, helped to make it a legend in and of itself.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer