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"Law and Order" original series on DVD (1990 - 2010) discussion thread (1 Viewer)

The Drifter

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Couldn't find a dedicated & comprehensive thread discussing all seasons of the original & iconic Law & Order series, so wanted to create one.

I never saw the show on TV, but did catch a handful of episodes on the early DVD's - back in the 200X's. However, recently I decided I wanted to watch the show in chronological order from the beginning, and am watching this on the DVD sets. Excellent series! Though the show is very formulaic, it's well-done & interesting, with an iconic opening theme song/imagery & also a great score throughout. I really like the "time capsule" element re: the depiction of NYC in the '90's (in the early seasons). In fact, NYC may as well be another character in the show itself.

Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Phil Ceretta (Paul Sorvino) are well cast as partners in the first 2 1/2 seasons. Then, Sorvino's character is written off the show (he gets seriously wounded about half-way through the season, and then has to work a desk job) and Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) is his replacement.

Obviously, also important to the series are Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) & Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) as the main lawyers in the show. The interactions between LE & the lawyers are an integral part of these cases.

And, Steven Hill had a significant role in these early seasons, as D.A. Adam Schiff. (Prior to this series, Hill was probably best known for his role as Dan Briggs in the 1st season (1966-1967) of the iconic TV series Mission Impossible; he played the lead in the series. After some alleged disputes, Hill left the series & was replaced by Peter Graves as Jim Phelps from S02-on).

I'm almost finished with the 3rd season, and am looking forward to the rest of the series. It's amazing that it lasted 20 years, and was popular enough to generate several spin-offs (none of which I like as much as this original show).

It's evident that some/many?! of these story-lines are based on real-life crimes. It's also interesting that in at least some of these cases, you do feel sorry for the criminal(s) involved.

Too many great episodes to list, but here are a handful of the most memorable; these are all from the 3rd season, which I find the strongest (so far):

"Forgiveness": A young woman is found killed near where she left a going-away party the night before.
The trail leads back to her estranged bf, who she had just broken up with. Very sad episode.

"Night and Fog": An elderly man is accused of killing his wife, who had a lot of ailments. As the investigation progresses, the man's activities during WW II in Europe come to light.

"Conduct Unbecoming": A wild party involving military personnel on leave in NYC results in the death of a female officer.
Briscoe & Logan investigate, and the prime suspect is another officer. The finale court-room scene in this episode was excellent, and reminded me a lot of the penultimate/iconic scene in the great film A Few Good Men (1992) - which had just been released the year before. Well-done homage.

This is a great extended version of the original opening theme:

 
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JohnnyLancer

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For me the first 4 years are golden thanks to Ben stone. Sam waterson is a great actor but Jack mccoy bugged me to no end. I bought the box set just to have the later years since the whole show isn't on streaming which doesn't make sense to me. Peacock said they were going to have the orginal series and several spinoff in tact. All of the orginal 10 to 11 seasons aren't even on there at all.
 

Matt Hough

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I watched all but the last couple of seasons on live television as they premiered. It has always been and will always be one of my favorite shows. I found it remarkable as the casts changed little by little over the years, the quality of the drama and the effectiveness of the stories never diminished. And really one never knew how the verdicts were going to go. That was one of the great joys of the series.
 

Jack P

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Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Phil Ceretta (Paul Sorvino) are well cast as partners in the first 2 1/2 seasons. Then, Sorvino's character is written off the show (he gets seriously wounded about half-way through the season, and then has to work a desk job) and Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) is his replacement.
George Dzunda as Sergeant Max Greevey was Logan's original partner in Season 1. Dzunda then quit the show (he didn't want to stay based in New York) and his character was killed-off in the Season 2 opener (off-camera) and Sorvino then became Logan's new partner.

Dzunda's character was only referred to one more time in the entire broader canon of L&O when Captain Cragen mentions him in an SVU episode ten years later. Sorvino's character Ceretta I don't think ever got so much of a mention again.
 

JohnnyLancer

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George Dzunda as Sergeant Max Greevey was Logan's original partner in Season 1. Dzunda then quit the show (he didn't want to stay based in New York) and his character was killed-off in the Season 2 opener (off-camera) and Sorvino then became Logan's new partner.

Dzunda's character was only referred to one more time in the entire broader canon of L&O when Captain Cragen mentions him in an SVU episode ten years later. Sorvino's character Ceretta I don't think ever got so much of a mention again.
Always felt Dzundas departure was too premature just like David caruso on nypd blue. Max and Logan really worked well dramatically where Phil and Lenny to me had no emotional weight as characters at all to me. Liked to see Paul on a good show but wished his character was given a bit more personality.
 

John*Wells

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I Have all 20 Seasons of the Original as well. However, I think Seasons 15-20 more closely resembled SVU in their level of Creepiness .. I Couldn't stand Jeremy Sisto's Character when he showed up either
 

JohnnyLancer

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I Have all 20 Seasons of the Original as well. However, I think Seasons 15-20 more closely resembled SVU in their level of Creepiness .. I Couldn't stand Jeremy Sisto's Character when he showed up either
I love the early seasons of svu but it became a soap opera later on and I gave up. 15- 20 of the orginal show I felt went on past its years. It felt like a show that should have been canceled years earlier but because of name and status it kept going... Jeremy Sisto was just off all around. And why would they bring Anthony Anderson on that show?

But from the set I really love seeing the 90-99 seasons because I feel they did a great job remastering those seasons.
 

The Drifter

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George Dzunda as Sergeant Max Greevey was Logan's original partner in Season 1. Dzunda then quit the show (he didn't want to stay based in New York) and his character was killed-off in the Season 2 opener (off-camera) and Sorvino then became Logan's new partner.

Dzunda's character was only referred to one more time in the entire broader canon of L&O when Captain Cragen mentions him in an SVU episode ten years later. Sorvino's character Ceretta I don't think ever got so much of a mention again.
Thanks for the correction/clarification. It's been a while since I saw S01 of L&O & had honestly forgotten that Dzunda was Logan's original partner in S01. I guess he didn't make much of an impression on me.
 

Nick*Z

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Couldn't find a dedicated & comprehensive thread discussing all seasons of the original & iconic Law & Order series, so wanted to create one.

I never saw the show on TV, but did catch a handful of episodes on the early DVD's - back in the 200X's. However, recently I decided I wanted to watch the show in chronological order from the beginning, and am watching this on the DVD sets. Excellent series! Though the show is very formulaic, it's well-done & interesting, with an iconic opening theme song/imagery & also a great score throughout. I really like the "time capsule" element re: the depiction of NYC in the '90's (in the early seasons). In fact, NYC may as well be another character in the show itself.

Mike Logan (Chris Noth) and Phil Ceretta (Paul Sorvino) are well cast as partners in the first 2 1/2 seasons. Then, Sorvino's character is written off the show (he gets seriously wounded about half-way through the season, and then has to work a desk job) and Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) is his replacement.

Obviously, also important to the series are Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) & Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) as the main lawyers in the show. The interactions between LE & the lawyers are an integral part of these cases.

And, Steven Hill had a significant role in these early seasons, as D.A. Adam Schiff. (Prior to this series, Hill was probably best known for his role as Dan Briggs in the 1st season (1966-1967) of the iconic TV series Mission Impossible; he played the lead in the series. After some alleged disputes, Hill left the series & was replaced by Peter Graves as Jim Phelps from S02-on).

I'm almost finished with the 3rd season, and am looking forward to the rest of the series. It's amazing that it lasted 20 years, and was popular enough to generate several spin-offs (none of which I like as much as this original show).

It's evident that some/many?! of these story-lines are based on real-life crimes. It's also interesting that in at least some of these cases, you do feel sorry for the criminal(s) involved.

Too many great episodes to list, but here are a handful of the most memorable; these are all from the 3rd season, which I find the strongest (so far):

"Forgiveness": A young woman is found killed near where she left a going-away party the night before.
The trail leads back to her estranged bf, who she had just broken up with. Very sad episode.

"Night and Fog": An elderly man is accused of killing his wife, who had a lot of ailments. As the investigation progresses, the man's activities during WW II in Europe come to light.

"Conduct Unbecoming": A wild party involving military personnel on leave in NYC results in the death of a female officer.
Briscoe & Logan investigate, and the prime suspect is another officer. The finale court-room scene in this episode was excellent, and reminded me a lot of the penultimate/iconic scene in the great film A Few Good Men (1992) - which had just been released the year before. Well-done homage.

This is a great extended version of the original opening theme:

One minor correction, Drifter. Season One costars Chris Noth and George Dzundza as Max Greevey, who was assassinated gangland style in the first episode of Season 2, at which point Paul Sorvino came into the mix. Loved the entire cast, even the changes, right up until they killed off Jill Hennessy's Claire Kincaid who, at least for me, represented everything that was smart, sassy and sexy about a woman assistant D.A.

The gals who filled that roster afterward, except for Carey Lowell, who I found rather sexless but smart, and, Angie Harmon, whose chronic laryngitis left something to be desired, were all fluff and no substance. No one's mentioned Dan Florek who did Donald Cragen proud, or S. Epatha Merkerson, who followed him as Lt. Anita Van Buren and was even better IMO. For me, the show died when Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt stopped being partners. I couldn't get into Jesse L. Martin, and, after Orbach died, the chemistry between Martin and Orbach's replacement, Denis Farina just wasn't there.

Always looked forward to Steven Hill's brief, but memorable appearances as the crusty but benign Adam Schiff. Fred Thompson was solid too. But Dianne Wiest left me flat. If I had to pick the 'dream team' years for me, it would be the Season when Noth and Orbach were a team, Hennessy had just come aboard as Assistant D.A. and Michael Moriarty was still D.A. - a defender of the law with a compassionate soul. What a wonderful character.

My favorite reoccurring non-regular has to be Lorraine Toussaint as Prosecuting Attorney Shambala Green. The antagonistic chemistry between Green and Ben Stone was legendary and fun. Never forget the moment when, embroiled in a highly toxic pre-trial debate with Max, who did not see eye to eye with Stone, Stone replied, with his level of frustration welling up inside, "Do you have any other personal views on this subject you'd like to air before we walk into court and Ms. Shambala Green hands us our asses on a platter?"
 

John*Wells

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I Was surprised we never Saw Ben Stone Come back as a Defense lawyer like Richard Brooks (Paul) did. Im guessing that may have had something to do with Michael Moriarty's departure and the reasons behind it
 

jcroy

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I Was surprised we never Saw Ben Stone Come back as a Defense lawyer like Richard Brooks (Paul) did. Im guessing that may have had something to do with Michael Moriarty's departure and the reasons behind it

Not entirely clear what happened. Moriarty moved to canada after leaving the show.

He seems to have become a political activist of some kind, and doesn't really want to go back to america.
 

Jack P

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There was a lot of bad blood between Moriarty and the producers in the years after he left the show and he wrote some pieces denouncing the slant of the show in its final years (which to be honest, really picked up after Thompson left the show).

Stone was referred to just once in the first episode where Richard Brooks Paul Robinette came back the first time and I have to admit I was really put off by what happened to his character. At one point Robinette threatens to have Stone subpoenaed for his case and later its mentioned that he's "traveling in Europe." I think that's the only time he was ever mentioned again in the series.

I always regretted the departure of Dann Florek's Captain Cragen after S3 because I never cared for Van Buren. One reason I was able to endure the early years of SVU (despite the subject matter being more distasteful to me) was because it was a chance to see Cragen again.

Even with the cast changes, it's nice that the show is one where you can go out of sequence and not have to pay attention to underlying storylines (though on some rare occasions a few were intruded). That's why I found it a good time killer now and then to pluck a random episode here and there and enjoy.
 

John*Wells

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There was a lot of bad blood between Moriarty and the producers in the years after he left the show and he wrote some pieces denouncing the slant of the show in its final years (which to be honest, really picked up after Thompson left the show).

Stone was referred to just once in the first episode where Richard Brooks Paul Robinette came back the first time and I have to admit I was really put off by what happened to his character. At one point Robinette threatens to have Stone subpoenaed for his case and later its mentioned that he's "traveling in Europe." I think that's the only time he was ever mentioned again in the series.

I always regretted the departure of Dann Florek's Captain Cragen after S3 because I never cared for Van Buren. One reason I was able to endure the early years of SVU (despite the subject matter being more distasteful to me) was because it was a chance to see Cragen again.

Even with the cast changes, it's nice that the show is one where you can go out of sequence and not have to pay attention to underlying storylines (though on some rare occasions a few were intruded). That's why I found it a good time killer now and then to pluck a random episode here and there and enjoy.

Yeah, I watched SVU when they Had Ben's Funeral .. I was sitting there thinking "What????"
 

Jack P

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I was unaware of that, or that Stone's son became an SVU regular since I bailed out on the franchise long ago, but it's too bad that's how they decided to resolve the character's history.
 

The Drifter

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Recently finished watching S04 of L&O. I'm exclusively watching it on the DVD sets, and strongly feel that this is the best way to watch the show. Overall the DVD's have solid PQ, and I also like the inclusion of the deleted scenes; most of these don't really add much to the episodes, but they're still interesting to watch.

S04 had some major cast changes. Paul Robinette was replaced by Claire Kincaid, and Cragen was replaced by Van Buren. Good actors, and I've always found cast changes like this in long-running shows to be important in keeping a show "fresh". In fact, I found S04 to be extremely well-done, and almost as strong as S03. Some of my favorite episodes:

"The Golden Years": An elderly woman is found dead in her apartment, and her grand-daughter is charged with neglect & being responsible for her death. When investigating the crime, however - things become "hazy" as to what actually happened. The episode really shined a light on how, in many cases - the elderly & infirm are neglected & ignored by those who are assigned to care for them. Extremely sad & realistic episode.

"Big Bang": A well-known & respected physicist's estranged wife is violently killed by something that was sent through the mail.
This was traced back to a former student of the physicist who had his valuable scientific work stolen by the physicist, and wanted revenge.
Very disturbing episode, and this was obviously based on actual events that were occurring ATT.

"Wager": A well-known & supposedly wealthy young baseball player's father is killed in his apartment. LE initially thinks that the crime was committed by a loan shark, given that the father was thousands of dollars in debt due to his gambling addiction.
As the investigation progresses, it's revealed that the murder was accidentally committed by the baseball player who had gotten tired of his deadbeat father constantly shaking him down for money - so that the father could pay off his gambling debts.
 
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Rick Thompson

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Jerry Orbach's character intro was classic. He arrives last to the scene and . . .
Logan: Don't you have a pager?
Briscoe: What I was doing I don't wear a pager.
 

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