Spot inspection: 'Law & Order'

Laworder_lI think we here at PopWatch might have mentioned once or twice in recent months (or thrice, or four times) that we’ve been looking forward to this season’s reboot of NBC’s Law & Order(pictured, left to right, Jesse L. Martin and Jeremy Sisto). For me, though, there’s always been a quiet doubt that’s undercut the anticipation: Are there really enough cast substitutions and conceptual change-ups in the world to revitalize a show that’s been on the air for 18 seasons?

Well, I’m happy to report that the new season of L&O is doing even better than I’d hoped so far. As promised, the plots have been way more nuanced and character-driven than usual. I’m tempted to describe last night’s episode as a small masterpiece — a look at gentrification and urban violence that actually acknowledged the complexity of those issues, believe it or not. The guest characters felt refreshingly like real people facing difficult moral choices. It wasn’t HBO-level genius, okay, but it was miles ahead of the easy, twist-driven melodrama that late-period L&O might have made out of this case as recently as last year.

And the show’s cast has really been stepping up to the challenges ofthese stories. New additions Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roache have broughtL&O the same understated intensity they showed on NBC’s unjustly canceled Kidnappedin fall ’06. Jesse L. Martin is more comfortable patrolling the streetsalongside Sisto than he’s been with any partner since the late, greatJerry Orbach; and Alana de la Garza’s starting to come into her own asRoache’s fellow prosecutor. Up in management, Sam Waterston is bothnewly magisterial and more human than ever after being promoted to headManhattan D.A. And S. Epatha Merkerson has been getting lots of screentime, which is always a good thing — warm and concerned one moment,fearsome and tough as nails the next, she’s good cop and bad cop rolled into one.

All in all, I’ll definitely keep tuning in this season. Who’s with me?

Comments (53 total) Add your comment
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  • JL

    This is SOOO much better than the last few seasons. Last night WAS an outstanding example of Law and Order excellence. It feels more gritty without being disgusting like other procedurals.

  • Sina

    L&O has gotten way better. I am loving this season and the new Adian Quinn look-a-like DA is a good addition but Jeremy Sisto and Jesse Martin have a comfortable chemistry. I have put this on my DVR because I have to watch Project Runway live.

  • Nicole

    I am loving the new show. Finally a good mix. Less of the pretty non- acting attorney and more of Jack and mini-me Jack. Sisto is great, but he seems to shrink Martin’s role. It has taken them a long time to get a good mix since Harmon’s exit and Orbach’s death. Both were great in their roles. Merkerson is also getting the screen time she deserves.

  • Gringo

    I was never able to get into ‘L&O'; however, late last season I tuned into an episode of ‘L&O:SVU’ and got hooked. I was still resistant when it came to the original, though. At least until I heard that they were giving it a slight reboot. I must say that I’m rather impressed and look forward to it each week.

  • Louise

    I have loved Linus Roache since “Wings of the Dove”. He’s such a fantastic actor and soooo sexy. I don’t understand why he’s not a huge star.

  • Working Girl

    I agree completely! I’ve read about Jeremy Sisto’s push for more backstory for the detectives, and I love it! And love the new DA – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Linus Roache before in my life, but I’ll IMDB him now. I don’t know if he’s sexy, exactly but he’s… mesmerizing. L&O is BACK!!!

  • Jennifer

    I have never been a L&O fan. I only watch L&O:SVU but I will give L&O a peek. I have also began to enjoy L&O:CI w/Chris North and his new partner. Love them together. They have great chemistry as well. Welcome back L&O, we have missed you!!

  • ami

    Chug every time Jack McCoy says “Make a deal.” Simple as that. Best D.A. since Adam Schiff.

  • DalGal

    The original L&O is back with great cast members and good writing. I was very surprised at the end of the episode and really liked the ending. L&O and L&O CI are always on my DVR but sadly I have dropped SVU. Terrible season on that show.

  • Matt

    I’m pleased with Sisto and even more w/ the new ADA. He’s a great fit for replacing Watterson.

  • robert t. cooper

    …Sisto and Roache rock …making this show a must see for us every week…Waterson has finally found his niche…Bravo

  • bee

    Having a great time with this season. Sisto has great smoldering appeal. Whenever can we have a female DA? Why are they always men?

  • ns

    Bee, they’ve only had 3 people in the role of ADA, so it’s not like they’ve cast a dozen men in a row.
    I like the idea of having detectives who are more like peers. It’s a way around the gaping hole created by Jerry Orbach’s death.

  • karen collins

    I never watched TV until someone recommended Law and Order SVU, I got obsessed and never stopped watched it I even have it on Tivo so I dont miss any programs, its the best

  • Sms

    I’m with you… I loved the poetic justice at the end of this week’s episode. IT feels less exploitative and more thoughtful this season.

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