USA Network: All 'Law & Order' all the prime time

Dick. Wolf. Are there two sweeter words in the English language? Not according to the USA Network, which just gave in to every cable channel’s most primal impulse and wallpapered its primetime lineup with 70  to 80 percent Law & Order. Can I get a chung-chung? Yes, I can. Almost anytime I want, it seems.

Law & Order (and its spinoffs) are kind of like cable’s screensaver. I think this is because televisions themselves enjoy watching Law & Order. Another fun fact: Did you know that if you laid every Law & Order episode end to end, it would be one long Law & Order episode that would end with Sam Waterston coughing up his own battered larynx? Also: Did you know that Dickwolf was the working title for Airwolf, until cooler heads prevailed? Rip that from the headlines, yo.

Here’s my question for you, reader: What do you do while watching Law & Order reruns? Me, I eat. Time the whole meal to the act breaks. Aids digestion. So go for it: What’s your L&O ritual? And what’s the craziest thing you’ve done while some random L&O was playing in the background? Keep it relatively clean, or else two complete strangers, bickering over something random, will find my body in an alley tomorrow.


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  • mike

    I don’t watch nor have I ever watched for than a minute in route to something much better, Law & Order. It’s the current version of the test pattern. If parents turn to Nick Jr. to put toddlers to sleep. L&O is what 80 year olds nap to.
    The only time I watch USA is during the US Open.

  • Kate

    Oh geez…USA is taking my life away…the worst for me was when I found myself in my hotel room in Hawaii watching L&O reruns on a beautiful beach day.

  • Ceballos

    It’s true, pretty much 85 percent of all L&O episodes (so that’s what? 900 something??) begin with two random people bantering and finding a body.
    Me?? I either play spider solitaire, or drag my lazy behind up and do some situps/pushups while it’s on in the background. It turns out, you don’t have to actually be looking at your TV screen AT ALL to follow what’s happening (try it, you’ll see).
    Plus, I haven’t been compelled to actually look at L&O since the smokin’ Angie Harmon left. (what was that? 18 years ago?)

  • Kate

    I will never leave the house — but my house will be spotless. My L&O routine is to clean my apartment while it’s on. Why? Because that’s what my mother used to do when TNT ran the repeats back to back. Yes, that is how long the show has been syndicated.

  • colbyfan

    I cannot get to sleep without a L&O playing on the Replay TV – with the commercials skipped. I prefer the Jerry Orbach episodes because his voice is so paternal. The chung-chung ( or is it ching-ching?) and the debates once the law part of the show kicks in are so soothing, I usually have to watch the same episode 2 or 3 nights to see the ending. That being said, I have seen every episode repeatedly and still find it enthralling programming. XOXO to Dick Wolf.

  • kriselda jarnsaxa

    While watching L&O, I’ve been known to eat, read stuff on the web, do homework (for Masters degree classes at that!), play computer game among other things… for me, the episodes are interesting, and after so many years, the characters are kind of like having roommates that you can hear chatting out in the other room giving you that feeling of not really being alone…
    Pathetic, huh?

  • Anna

    “Because that’s what my mother used to do when TNT ran the repeats back to back. ”
    Kate, when you say “used to do” do you mean yesterday? Because that’s the last time they ran back to back on TNT.
    I only watch L&O when I have absolutely nothing else to do. It’s not a bad show but it’s too formulaic. I’m more of a “Homicide: Life on the Street” person.

  • Meg

    I’m so pathetic that I can be listening from the kitchen and identify what episode it is by listening to the first few words, regardless of when in the episode I tune in. If I’m really good, I can tell you who the defense lawyer is and what the verdict was in those same few seconds.
    I oh so need a life and am clearly not going to be getting one anytime soon.

  • california

    Law and Order is the best show ever. Spike TV does reruns of the original CSI but I can’t rewatch those episodes like I can the Law and Order ones. I own several seasons on DVD and I can still watch them over and over and over again without getting bored. I love the ripped from the headlines, especially when you know the real story and how the episode is twisting and turning from that. Law and Order is timeless like the reruns of Gilligans Island, Star Trek, or MASH. (And is anyone else still trying to recover from Original Recipe’s season finale where the ada was murdered, INTENSE!!!)

  • Charlotte

    What do I do when L&O comes on? I change the channel. However since every channel save the Food Network seems to be all L&O all the time, I usually turn off the TV. One script, repeated endlessly with little variation, does not make for compelling drama.

  • aggiekim2000

    I have Law and Order narcolepsy. I must have the sound of the “ching-chings” and good ‘ole Sam Waterson’s rightous tone of indigination to fall asleep.

  • newbie

    There has to be some sort of support group out there! USA had 2 all day Criminal Intent marathons within a two month period and I watched BOTH, completely forgetting I possessed a remote.There is just enough formula that you’re able to pay bills, clean, etc, and just enough ick, drama, & sarcasm to make you stay. I had never watched that variation on the L&O theme & now I’m hooked!And hey, if playing all of the L&O pays for Monk and Psych, it’s ok by me.

  • keely

    love al of the L&O’s in all their variations… the craziest thing i have done while it was playing in the background was start an extra-marrital affair- but he had to reach over and turn it off half-way through- apparently SVU is a bit of a mood killer…. ;)

  • Joe

    Time was Johnny Carson was what put adults reassuringly to sleep. I like to play the game of “What Season?” by scanning the episode’s cast credits. “Let’s see…Orbach, Bratt, Waterston and Angie Harmon….that’s gotta be…`98-`99!” (Personally, like with other long-running shows, I have favorite periods. The Orbach (God, I miss him and his world-weary show-opening one-liners ever the more so…) and Bratt years were my favorite.)
    And my favorite, like the cherry on a sundae, is the opener — and not just for Orbach’s cynical punchline. It’s the random pairing of two bickering characters yammering about politics, physical aesthethics or last night’s Knicks game. Here’s how weird I am: I drool over the possibility of guest-star appearances by famous characters as the body-stumbling bickerers: Seinfeld’s George and Jerry, NYPD Blue’s Sipowicz and Simone, The Muppet Show’s Statler and Waldorf, and others.

  • ******

    I can waste hours when L&O is on. Days, probably. Usually when I switch to TNT or USA it’s because nothing else is on, I am bored, and then it’s L&O time. I will never know if anything else comes on TV after that. I got on the bandwagon late (like 6 or so years ago) so I always get excited when an ep I haven’t seen yet comes on. I have gotten nookie that I wasn’t supposed to be partaking in while it plays, but if it’s an Orbach ep it is a little disconcerting; I keep thinking: “When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong…You looked wonderful out there….If he resists shoot him…Wash that stuff of your face before your mother sees you.”
    Joe, that would be freaking awesome. Jack and Karen, Phoebe (the only Friend I ever liked)…
    It may pay for Monk & Psych, but why didn’t it pay for Touching Evil? I am still mourning that one.

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