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

JohnnyLancer

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Rewatching law and order on my boxset I now notice just how great Steven Hill was in his small role. And seeing NY like that in the early 90s shows howuch character that city had for the longest before the cleanup came. I'm convinced you couldn't have done a show like this " just anywhere". Although wolf has said the succes was always in " the formula ".
 

Rick Thompson

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It always bugged me that the original series never got the love that was lavished on SVU, which I gave up on when it turned out to be a "pervert of the week" show. I'm very happy to have bought the complete L&O series, which was packaged the way they all should have been: a big box with every season in its own self-contained packaging as if it were sold as a separate season. I trashed the big box. I also liked Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury and even LA, though it never seemed to know what it wanted to be. As for SVU, I've only kept the disks that had crossover episodes with the "mother ship." It still bugs me that they never reissued Season 14 anamorphic. You get 16x9 inside a 4x3 box.
 

Matt Hough

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The original show got some love: it's the only one of Dick Wolf's series that ever won the Emmy as Best Drama Series. And for me, the show holds up better than anything else he's done. I can plop into a rerun on one of the cable channels and instantly get drawn into the crime and trial, no matter which season or which actors are present. High praise indeed.
 

JohnnyLancer

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It always bugged me that the original series never got the love that was lavished on SVU, which I gave up on when it turned out to be a "pervert of the week" show. I'm very happy to have bought the complete L&O series, which was packaged the way they all should have been: a big box with every season in its own self-contained packaging as if it were sold as a separate season. I trashed the big box. I also liked Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury and even LA, though it never seemed to know what it wanted to be. As for SVU, I've only kept the disks that had crossover episodes with the "mother ship." It still bugs me that they never reissued Season 14 anamorphic. You get 16x9 inside a 4x3 box.
The complete set was packaged great 👍. I felt svu started good but it became way too preachy to me. Now it's a soap opera but it speaks the the average TV viewer today.
 

JohnnyLancer

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The original show got some love: it's the only one of Dick Wolf's series that ever won the Emmy as Best Drama Series. And for me, the show holds up better than anything else he's done. I can plop into a rerun on one of the cable channels and instantly get drawn into the crime and trial, no matter which season or which actors are present. High praise indeed.
I feel that way too. Especially the first 9 seasons. I wish a streaming service would give us the orginal first few seasons which I feel are the best compared to the Anthony Anderson years
 

WendyCR

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I'm convinced you couldn't have done a show like this " just anywhere".

Well, I think the failure of Law & Order: Los Angeles has proven that to be true. New York City was a character very much in its own right for the Mothership, Criminal Intent, and SVU.

I think Dick Wolf wanted L&O: LA to give the west coast/California the same type of magic, but the "vibe" just wasn't there like it was in the east coast iterations. (Of course, the messed-up time line on that show certainly didn't help it!)

Always something to see NYC from years past on the original and CI (the two versions I personally love the most; stopped loving SVU ages ago, probably when Elliott/Chris Meloni left, if not before!).
 

JohnnyLancer

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Well, I think the failure of Law & Order: Los Angeles has proven that to be true. New York City was a character very much in its own right for the Mothership, Criminal Intent, and SVU.

I think Dick Wolf wanted L&O: LA to give the west coast/California the same type of magic, but the "vibe" just wasn't there like it was in the east coast iterations. (Of course, the messed-up time line on that show certainly didn't help it!)

Always something to see NYC from years past on the original and CI (the two versions I personally love the most; stopped loving SVU ages ago, probably when Elliott/Chris Meloni left, if not before!).
I wish he stayed gone but in a series finale came to say goodbye. The new spinoff series is more soap opera nonsense. Law and order Los Angeles had a fabulous cast but I feel like everything was just off even the theme song lol.. plus we have seen so many shows about cops in LA. LAO in the beginning had a certain moral consciousness and straight to the point way of conveying a story. I rewatched " life choice" which was in season 1 so circa 1990 and it still holds up. Why? Because its not concerned with influencing a viewer or wowing them. It simply plays out two sides of a opinion. From max agreeing with pro life to Logan agreeing with pro choice, and the best part of all is when stone ask the leader of the cult " aren't you responsible for the death of that women and her child?" 1990-95 the show never missed a beat.
 

The Drifter

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Thanks for all of the posts/replies! I'm glad that the original L&O series still has a lot of fans, especially considering the extreme popularity of the various spin-offs. However, I will always attest the this original series is by far the best, hands-down.

I finally finished watching S05 & have started on S06. Interesting that Mike Logan was written off the show at the end of S05 -
re: his hitting that politician outside the courthouse
Ben Bratt was a good replacement for him in S06, and a good foil to Orbach.

Since I recently started S06, I'm trying to figure out when a good time would be to see "Exiled: A Law and Order Movie" (1998), which apparently features Mike Logan (Chris Noth) in a "stand-alone" story. Since S05 is Logan's last season, this would be a somewhat obvious follow-up. However, I also know that 'Exiled' takes place three years after S05 ends. So, I may wait to watch this.

I do know "Exiled" was never released in any of the Region 1 DVD L&O boxed sets - though it should have been, given that it is technically part of the series. However, "Exiled" was released as a stand-alone Region 1 DVD in 2012. I can't speak for the PQ since I don't have this disk. I found some crummy streams of this online, but they are borderline-unwatchable.

Shifting gears, I am really enjoying the '90's setting of this show. As someone who was a young adult during this time, I clearly remember how tech. was slowly but significantly improving throughout the decade - which is clearly reflected in the series. I.e., in the very early seasons very few characters have cell-phones & some use beepers, pay phones (when they were still around), etc. As the decade/seasons go on, more characters are using those original, large cell phones, etc. Also, the Internet isn't prevalent in the very early seasons, but as time passes it does get more accessible & popular. And, obviously personal computers get more advanced as the decade passes.

The first person I knew who had a cell phone was in 1992. And, I clearly remember the first time I used the Internet was in college in the "computer lab", way back in 1995. That was several years before I got a home Internet connection (dial-up - ha ha).
 
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The Drifter

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Recently finished watching L&O S06. Another extremely strong season - superb! It was refreshing & realistic to depict Briscoe & Rey Curtis, his new partner (Ben Bratt) as having a somewhat rough initial partnership. This is something that can (and does) happen IRL when people unfamiliar to each other are forced to work together.

One of the many realistic elements to L&O is that they do - in many cases - depict crimes where the authorities suspect & then even arrest innocent people. In many cases these innocent people are convicted of crimes they had nothing to do with. This sadly happens IRL all the time, and it's good to see this depicted on the show - unlike other crime dramas where the LE always capture the "right" bad guy(s) in every single case. To me, this is one of the many elements that make L&O rise above many supposedly "similar" shows.

Some of my favorite S06 episodes:

"Jeopardy": A magazine editor is found dead in his office(s), and the investigation
uncovers a "family connection" to the crime & corruption in the legal system.

"Humiliation": The murder of a prostitute leads Briscoe & Curtis to a respected/renowned plastic surgeon - who initially appears to be the prime suspect.
However, as the investigation continues, it's revealed that the surgeon's wife actually killed the prostitute - due to being ashamed/humiliated at what her husband was doing.
Amazing episode.

"Angel": A young mother claims that her baby was kidnapped while she was at church.
However, the truth is far more horrific. Very sad episode.

"Remand": A 30-year old case is resurrected when the perpetrator of a vicious crime is getting a new trial. This was based on the infamous 1964 NYC Kitty Genovese case.
 
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The Drifter

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Part 2 of my S06 review:

"Custody": Paul Robinette returns (without his signature flat-top) as a defense attorney here. He defends a young women who kidnapped her young baby from it's adoptive parents. Superb episode, and you really saw a side of Robinette that hadn't been seen when he was a regular on the show. Definitely one of the best episodes in the series -very powerful.

"Savior": A depressed businessman is accused of killing his wife & son, and wounding his teenaged daughter.
However, as the investigation continues the truth is revealed.
Extremely disturbing episode, which shows the lengths that manipulative & evil people will go to get what they want. Horrible & realistic. Guest-starring a young Ellen Pompeo (Gray's Anatomy).

"Trophy": Jack McCoy is accused of concealing evidence from a previous case. This is brought up due to the case being re-opened when new evidence is found, suggesting that an innocent man had been wrongly accused & convicted of a crime years before.

"Aftershock": The season finale. The main characters are all reacting differently when a man they had tried & convicted is put to death. We find out some previously-unknown personal background on McCoy, Rey, Claire, and Briscoe.
I didn't see the end coming - i.e., Claire is killed in a car accident after she is driving Briscoe home from a bar - where she found him drinking. However, Briscoe survives.
 
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Matt Hough

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I remember "Savior" quite clearly. It was the first time I had ever seen Ellen Pompeo, and her performance was nightmarishly haunting.

As for Claire in "Aftershock," sadly, her fate was your latter question.
 

The Drifter

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I remember "Savior" quite clearly. It was the first time I had ever seen Ellen Pompeo, and her performance was nightmarishly haunting.

As for Claire in "Aftershock," sadly, her fate was your latter question.

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, that's what it looked like to me but I was being optimistic - especially since I haven't started S07 yet. I've gone back & modified my post.

I definitely agree that Savior was extremely unsettling/disturbing.
The idea that a daughter would orchestrate having her mother & brother killed is horrific enough, but what made this even worse is that she set up her father to take the fall for the crime - when he was completely innocent. People like this are the definition of evil, and unfortunately do exist IRL.
 

The Drifter

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I just saw this article about the original L&O that I thought fans of the series may find interesting:


I did not know that the show was on the verge of being cancelled after the third season, and that a cast change was suggested to attract more viewers (given that all of the main characters in S01-S03 were male). Obviously, it worked.
 
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The Drifter

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Recently finished S07. Excellent, as always. In this season, ADA Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell) replaces Claire as Jack McCoy's second chair. Good actress, and her no-nonsense approach is refreshing. She typically doesn't allow emotion to get in the way of her job - for the most part. As I've said before, much of the strength of this series are not only the cast changes which keep the series 'fresh', but also the strength of the ensemble cast as a whole.

Some of my favorite episodes:

'Causa Mortis': A school-teacher & mother who was volunteering her time to educate adults is car-jacked, assaulted, and killed in the city. The crime is heard on an audio-tape she was recording, and after investigating the perpetrator is eventually caught. This depicted an especially heinous crime, that was based on a true event.

'Survivor': The murder of a rare coin dealer leads the investigators into some unusual directions & suspects. Guest-starring Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark).

'Menace': A young woman seemingly gets into a car accident, is pulled out of her car by a large man and - in order to get away from him - jumps to her death off of a bridge....in front of numerous witnesses. On the surface, the death appeared to be road rage caused by the car accident.
However, as the crime is investigated, however - it's revealed that the accident was intentional & that the large man had a specific reason for going after the young woman.
Definitely one of the best episodes in the series.

'Working Mom': The killing of an LE officer leads Briscoe & Curtis to investigate two women (living in the NY suburbs) who allegedly run an interior decorating business. As it turns out, there is more to the case (and the two women) than initially meets the eye. Guest-starring Felicity Huffman.
 

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