The new 'Law & Order: LA': What's your verdict?

Alfred-Molina

Image Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

In the city of Los Angeles, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important versions of Alfred Molina. Well, sort of. In the revamped Law & Order: LA that debuted last night, Molina’s character, Ricardo Morales, made a decision that would have been shocking if it hadn’t been so widely reported beforehand: Disgusted by the bureaucracy of the District Attorney’s office, he quit working as a lawyer to become a detective. That wasn’t the only development that rocked Los Angeles’s homicide division — Corey Stoll also shaved off his mustache. And, oh yeah — SPOILER ALERT: Rex Winters, the intrepid detective played by Skeet Ulrich, was shot and killed by the minions of a drug kingpin he was trying to put behind bars. Again, his death wasn’t as effective as it might have been if we hadn’t already known Ulrich was leaving the show — though it was a little shocking that LA‘s writers killed off the character rather than just letting him quit the force or get fired (but not for being a lesbian). Winters’ murder indicated that Dick Wolf & Co. aren’t afraid to shake things up in an attempt to fix this ailing iteration of NBC’s favorite franchise. But how much of an effect will these changes have?

At the very least, Molina’s switch from the courtroom to the precinct — however implausible it might be — seems like a good move for the show. While Morales isn’t as fun as, say, Lenny Briscoe, he does have more gravitas and presence than Winters did. It will also be interesting to watch his principles get tested in the field, and to see how his lawyer brain affects his policing. (Though why, exactly, does he think he’ll be able to do more good as a detective than as a deputy DA, if the justice system itself isn’t going to change at all?)

Morales’ job swap and Winters’ death also means that Terrence Howard’s Deputy District Attorney Jonah Dekker will be getting more screen time. I’m less excited about this, since Dekker has been a bit of a nonentity thus far; hopefully his character will get more fleshed out soon. As for the cases themselves, they’re still boilerplate L&O, with just the slightest West Coast twist: instead of a shooting at a bar mitzvah, for example, there’s a massacre at a quinceaƱera. When a franchise has lasted this long, though, it’s no surprise that the formula feels stale.

Did you watch the new and possibly improved Law & Order: LA? If so, do you think the changes improved the show or hurt it? Will you miss Skeet Ulrich? And does Corey Stoll look better with or without that luxurious ‘stache?

Chung chung!


Comments (308 total) Add your comment
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  • Karen Nelson

    I like the changes and last night’s show really showed Alfred Molina as the excellent and intense actor he is….I am not sure about Terrence Howard yet..he seems too elegant for the role of DA but overall, I am very pleased with the show and look forward to more!

    • Cathyjb

      I’m glad that Mr. Wolf can count on your vote.

      He can count on the fact that I’ve watched the last of this show. As has been said more often than not in recent weeks: No Skeet Ulrich = No Law & Order L.A.

      I’m looking forward to watching the ratings fall and the show hopefully go away soon.

      I have nothing against Alfred Molina. However, Terrence Howard has a little too much (bad) attitude and very little else to offer.

      Cathyjb

      • Jane

        “I’m looking forward to watching the ratings fall”? Gee, Cathyjb, that’s a little bitter. I’m not crazy about the show, but I’m all for jobs in scripted TV rather than another reality show that underemploys and churns out product with the barest of staffs.

      • Cathyjb

        Sorry, Jane, my remark was not intended to be bitter. I do think NBC dumped Skeet for all the wrong reasons — another issue completely.

        To clarify, in editing my original post I deleted comments on the lack of quality in scripts. My remark was intended to convey a statement against poor writing on TV shows. With you, I’ll take scripted writing — actually anything — over reality shows. I want to see better scripts, and ones that include character development as a priority.

      • brandi

        Yea I’m done too. Skeet was the only reason I watched. Now that he is gone, I’m gone. Alfred Monina and Terrence Howard are not enough to keep me.

      • Hannah

        If anything, I thought the ADAs were the dull ones, and either needed to be shaken up or replaced, especially Terrence who sleepwalks through his scenes. He was more alive in SUV, hope he can keep that enery up. I don’t understand why they had to kill off Skeet. If they thought the character they created for him was too rigid, why not just change it. Let him get divorced or have an affair.

      • kamikamkam

        I agree…Skeet’s personality complimented his partner’s personality very well. Even though I do like Albert Molina, the combination of the two will not work well. Plus, Skeet would have been appealing to younger viewers. Mistake killing his character off! I’ll still watch it, but don’t know for how long.

      • karmasabeetch

        Cathy,

        There are a lot of NBC sea-SHILLS floating around in these waters trying to pump up their floating Titanic.

        When the first LOLA aired, only a handful of people were posting and most of them were bellyaching about the MotherShip being cancelled.

        Only a handful of people were posting about liking LOLA or even cared. Now that the ratings dropped 32%, there are more people posting they like the show? Wow, that’s a statistical anomaly you don’t see every day.

        THE REAL FANS OF LOLA HAVE SPOKEN.

        LOLA and the new LOLA 2.0 are DOA

      • marybeth makuta

        I couldnt have said it better myself. Without Skeet this show is over.

    • MrTemecula

      Terrence Howard’s character did a crossover on SUV and he was good. A little sleazy since he was a defense attorney, but passionate. He was an interesting attorney and I hope he keeps that tone in LA: sleazy and passionate.

      • Brett

        I can’t believe the only reason you watched LOLA was Skeet Ulrich. The actor’s good looking, but he has zero personality and walked through his performances like a zombie on Sudafed. I predict the shakeup, and more importantly, the new time slot, will lead to better ratings.

      • Cathyjb

        I’m surprised that you can’t believe the only reason some of us watch LOLA was Skeet Ulrich. BTW, he has tons of personality. His fan base accounted for well more than 50-60 percent of the people who watched the show.

        When a script is written by people who probably are zombies on Sudafed themselves, there is only so much an actor can do with the crap they were provided with. That actually goes for all the actors on this show — the two I liked, Skeet and Corey — and the ones I either couldn’t stand or just didn’t hit me one way or the other.

        I doubt the rating will be better regardless of the time slot and the shakeup. Better writing might have worked. I don’t see that coming. I don’t see this show making it to next season either.

      • sherry

        I won’t be tuning into to LA Los Angelos anymore without Skeet. He made their show big mistake.

    • Jane

      I like Terrence Howard, but I’m not crazy about his acting. Especially in this role, his line delivery sounds like he’s reading off teleprompter. I realize that this is his cadence, judging from his movies, but it doesn’t work when you hear the way he talks compared to the way the other actors say their lines in a less affected way.

    • Trudy

      I’m devastated that Skeet was taken off the show. I tuned in just because of him. Sob! Sob!

      • rachel

        I have watch law and order for 20 years and the only reason I gave law and order was Skeet, so it is over for me

  • Catherine

    I didn’t watch it last night and probably won’t, unless they decide to move it to another night again. Way too much competition on Mondays. I don’t think NBC is going to stick with this show … why do they have it on at the same time as Dancing With the Stars?

    • Brett

      It’s moving to 10. It won’t woo Nathan Fillion fans away from “Castle,” but it gives the otehr 90 percent of America something to watch with decent acting.

      • Gwen

        I watch “Castle” and will use the DVR for “L&O:LA” so that I can see decent acting in two different shows. Nathan Fillion is not the only person worth watching on “Castle” – he is surrounded by an excellent cast.

  • Sara

    I would love to see Rubirosa as more than just the ADA. She really held her own against Jack and Cutter in NY, so it’d be nice to see her come into her own here.

    • Babs

      Ach! You just ripped off the bandaid! I miss Linus Roache.

  • kathleen callahan

    i liked last night’s show but was sadden at the death of rex winters. i like skeet ulrich he is a good actor. i hope to see him again soon in another show.

  • Stanley

    Why didn’t they get rid of the bald guy and leave something fresh like Ulrich.

    • julia

      NOOOO!!! Don’t get rid of TJ. I love him. He reminds me of a real Detective I know. Looks like him and acts like him. Thanks Corey. You have a big fan in me. You are very hot.

      • jdeep

        I agree. T.J. is our favorite. I thought the show Monday was great. Will miss Winters, but glad to see the show back.

      • Lola

        Definitely keep T.J. on the show. He is hot. But please, T.J., grow the mustache back.

      • Jennifer

        He looks so much better without mustache!! He’s way to good-looking to have one in the first place. I like Skeet but Corey is more interesting and fun to watch.

    • chris

      Actually I liked the chemistry between Ulrich and Stoll it worked. Winters was low-key and Stoll was more bouyant and sarcastic, that is why it WORKED. I have no idea why they made the change. The first half of the show was more watchable and engaging. The DA/Law side was only watchable when Molina was the DA. If they had just booted Howard, brought in Alana, and PROMOTED THE SHOW….novel concept, then it could have been a hit. Oh yeah, and better scripts.

  • jrs

    Can’t stand Terrence Howard. Don’t like his acting ability one bit. I won’t be watching this.

    • rubye

      Just wanted to ask if you saw Terrence Howard in the movie “Hustle and Flow?” If you did not, perhaps you should see the acting in this movie. It was superb and it won an Academy Award. Check it out!!!

  • RandyB

    So much harsh criticism of the producer’s efforts to make better of L&O:LA. I don’t think, they should have killed off Skeet Ulrich’s character. I do like the new opening. Feels more LO. Albert Molina’s style will make the investigative portion better and his personality will shine through. The prosecution team, well, typical L&O.

  • allie571

    As a die hard L&O fan, I found the changes to be beneficial to the program. Stoll and Molina have much better chemistry that Stoll and Ulrich, besides the fact that Ulrich is a horrible actor. I also thought the writing was much better last night than on the previous episodes…semmed more like the old L&O. I will continue watching, especially since nothing else is on that time here in MST.

    • chris

      I disagree. I think Molina looks awkward next to Stoll and he made a far better DA in looks and mannerisms. The new team looks like Mutt and Jeff. The only good move was Alana, the rest were all in the wrong direction. LOLA is DOA

  • tracy gallinghouse

    I, too, was disappointed in the way the original L&O LA was going, but I was wowed by the 2 shows last night. They were powerful emotionally, but in a good way. Molina as a detective really works and I LOVE Rubirosa back in the saddle. This is a MUST in my DVR list!

  • rhondala79

    I really liked it, but I will miss Skeet Ulrich-why couldn’t they keep him? He was such a fresh, cute detective. I will continue to watch as I am a Law and Order junkie-ha

  • caro

    I will keep watching for now. Don’t like Terrence Howard, though. I don’t know if it’s him or the character that’s not very likable. Wish they didn’t kill off Ulrich.

  • Eddiehaskell

    I liked it in New York, better than LA just because I like NY better. I liked Skeet Ulrich. Monday night is too full so it will be hard to watch. I have always watched L&O, but I couldn’t watch the whole thing because there was so much on. My DVR can only handle so many shows. I will have to check on demand. Molina is ok, and so is Terence, but I mainly watched it for Ulrich. I do like that they brought back Ruberosa and I hope she is staying.

  • cjsm

    No longer watching this show, killed the only character that was any good. The rest just a lot of hot air!

  • Cathy

    Really enjoyed the episodes last night. The second episode really pulled from the murders by Col. Russell Williams in Canada and the police interview that aired on the Fifth Estate. Thought L&O:LA did a great job with the story.

    • Huh

      It also incorporated aspects of the murders of the Petit family in Connecticut; with the husband being the sole survivor of a horrific home invasion that left his wife and daughters assaulted and murdered. One of the perps in that crime also recorded his heinous deeds with a camera–in addition to accusing the husband of being in on the murders, despite the fact that the husband was found bound and nearly beaten to death.

      • chris

        Cathy and Huh, it was a melding of the two stories. I wish LOLA had the guts to make the killer a soldier, not police — that would have been ballsy but as we know, LOLA is PG13 and that is why it is tanking in the ratings.

    • Allison

      I didn’t see the first episode, but I liked the second. But I couldn’t help seeing Tim DeKay as Peter Burke!

      • LAJackie

        Really? I thought he was miles away from Peter Burke. Tim did an awesome job last night.

    • RJ

      I loved the second episode. It felt very much like L&O SVU or the original L&O. It did a very good job with the story of Russell Williams.

      I didn’t like the first episode too much. They shouldn’t have killed Ulrich’s character. I haven’t been able to find one single source explaining what actually happened there. Why was he fired? Did focus groups say he sucked or something? Anyways, the story was not too good, and that role reversal by Morales was poorly done. As this article asks, what does he hope to accomplish? Also, why were we subjected to bad Spanish all episode long? Can’t these guys find actors who can actually speak both languages well? (There’s a bunch of truly bilingual or multilingual people in the world… why do they keep insisting on getting actors who are not credible as native speakers of another language?) On that note, Molina does speak very well in Spanish. I was impressed.

      Finally, I’m glad they created an opening sequence. It didn’t feel right before. I’m not totally in love with the sequence (the sequence itself is fine, but the music could be much better), but at least it’s something.

      • Scarlet

        Molina’s Spanish speaking had better be “very well”, considering he’s half-Spanish and half-Italian (born in the UK; naturalized American–makes him darn near perfect for playing a cop in LA). Molina is a fabulous actor, love him a LOT, but I doubt I’ll be sticking w/ LOLA. Really too bad–LOLA should have been a brilliant way to reboot the franchise, and would have been if it wasn’t being scripted by a million monkeys on a million laptops smoking a million meth pipes. #sigh#

  • Chris

    There’s already talk that it won’t be back next season…why not just move it back to NY already.

    • SILUCY

      I too am very disappointed with the killing off of Skeet Ulrich, the Star of the show. Perhaps, they can do a Dallas episode of bringing him back remember the dream sequence? Skeet is very appealing especially for the younger audience. Maybe they’ll surprise us and give him another show.

      • tad

        Why did you have to get rid of Skeet Ulrich? He’s a darn good actor and good looking as hell!! Is there a chance that he will be in another show.. I hope??

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