Law and Order(?): SVU

As an avid fan of Law & Order, I was quite excited to see that a spin-off was starting, which the creators named “Law & Order : Special Victims Unit”. TV Guide even stated something along the lines that current L&O fans would be happy with L&O:SVU because it was true to the original.

I will premise my following comments by saying that it has been debated in Usenet and elsewhere whether or not ‘Law’ should mean the legal system and ‘Order’ should refer to the cops, not vice-versa. I like the show, but I’m not so into it that I want to start a debate on the semantics of the TV show’s title. When I refer to ‘Law’ I mean the police scenes shown in the first half of the show. Likewise, when I refer to ‘Order’ I mean the courtroom/lawyer second half of the show.

I was initially disappointed with the first episode. 57 minutes (minus commercials) of ‘Law’ and about 3 minutes of ‘Order’, if that. No courtroom, just a plea bargain. My girlfriend convinced me that maybe since it was the first episode, they wanted to introduce the new detectives and focus on the police side. I was skeptical going into the second episode, and my skepticism was well-founded, once again, no ‘Order.’

Is anyone else disappointed with this show? I un-affectionately call it ‘Law & Dis-order’ considering the lack of courtroom scenes and legal content. I noticed they used a different opening, removing the monologue heard at the beginning of L&O (“In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups …” ), perhaps intentionally to draw attention away from the fact that the show only deals with one of those groups. How can they call this ‘Law & Order’ when it is clearly just the ‘Law’?

My impression is (I don’t like the show either) that they wanted to make a show more like ER, NYPD Blue, etc. I.e. a show which focuses more on the characters than the cases. Hence the character in this show seem to have more flaws/issues/quirks than in L&O (where the only issues the characters have deal with the cases themselves … i.e. Jack is pro-death penalty).

It is officially off my “to watch” list.


What more could you expect from somebody who lets people kick him to the head?

Yeah, that’s what TV guide hinted at, that it would deal more with the psychological impact of the job on the characters. I just think it’s a poor of excuse of using name recognition to promote a show. The funny thing is, they want to focus more on the characters, but I didn’t really find any of the characters that likeable.