NBC is floating the notion of bringing back Law & Order for a 10-episode limited series, says Deadline Hollywood Daily: "NBC Eyes ‘Law & Order’ Limited Series" 

No details on what story they might tell, but they have approached Chris Noth, Sam Waterston, and other cast members.

I'm curious about the project. Will it be full of "Where are they now" cameos? Would they bring in actors from the other spinoffs? Is Jack McCoy still the New York County District Attorney? Over on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, they've indicated he isn't.

This would be cool if only to give it the proper sendoff it was denied. 

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There's been a Law and Order going on for how long? 20-25 years with some version of the show on the air?

I think one of the strengths--and weaknesses--of the show is that the cast really doesn't matter much.  You can easily replace any character at any time.  That's both good and bad. It's more realistic as characters come and go, but it reduces the ability for the viewer to identify with and follow the characters.  I know I stopped watching around season 5 because it just seemed to be the same show over and over again, just with different characters. Also, too much Law and not enough Order.  The Law part made it fairly depressing.

Well, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has changed over the past three seasons to tell more of the detectives' personal lives. Unfortunately, a lot of what they came up with was hokey -- Sgt. Benson in woman-in-jeopardy plots with a recurring nogoodnik serial rapist and killer, Rollins' gambling problem, Amaro being Hotheaded Stabler 2.0. 

I always thought Law & Order was most fun when it gave us a "ripped from the headlines" tale that had the positive outcome on TV that the real world denies us. It was at its best in the first few seasons, when Michael Morriarty was the prosecutor, and they prosecuted cases and found themselves in moral ambiguity over whether they did the right thing or made things worse. Somewhere along the way, original Law & Order became about setting up yuppie strawmen for Jack McCoy to steamroll over. 

I loved the original Law & Order. Still one of my favorite series. It will be interesting to me to see if they do it, what they do with Chris Noth's Mike Logan. Since it was implied during his last appearance on CI he was going to retire.

Clark said

Well, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has changed over the past three seasons to tell more of the detectives' personal lives. Unfortunately, a lot of what they came up with was hokey -- Sgt. Benson in woman-in-jeopardy plots with a recurring nogoodnik serial rapist and killer, Rollins' gambling

problem, Amaro being Hotheaded Stabler 2.0.

The original went more into the character's personal lives at one point to. Remember when Van Buren sued the department? Briscoe's daughter was killed? From what I remember reading at the time the feedback they got back was less than favorable so they dropped it. I personally liked that we didn't know everything about every character. Just finding out through their casual conversations.

Somewhere along the way, original Law & Order became about setting up yuppie strawmen for Jack McCoy to steamroll over.

Sure they had that, but there were still plenty of gangbangers, and mafia types running around each season.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

The original went more into the character's personal lives at one point to. Remember when Van Buren sued the department? Briscoe's daughter was killed? From what I remember reading at the time the feedback they got back was less than favorable so they dropped it. I personally liked that we didn't know everything about every character. Just finding out through their casual conversations.

I liked that better, too. Like the whole between-the-lines reading on whether Jack McCoy and Claire Kincaid were sleeping together, which supposedly wasn't even clear to the actors -- Sam Waterston thought they were, and Jill Hennessey thought they weren't. (I thought they were.)

One story I always wanted to see -- and this would be a fine opportunity for them to do it -- Ben Stone vs. Jack McCoy in court. I don't even know or care what the case would be about. You know these guys will pull out all the stops, with every procedural motion and legal trick up their sleeves. 

On the one side, you have Ben Stone, the professorial know-it-all, a righteous crusader for making sure the system works, plying his trade like a chess grandmaster. And on the other side, there's Jack McCoy, a streetfighter who just HATES to lose. 

I would pay good, cash money to see that.

ClarkKent_DC said:

One story I always wanted to see -- and this would be a fine opportunity for them to do it -- Ben Stone vs. Jack McCoy in court. I don't even know or care what the case would be about. You know these guys will pull out all the stops, with every procedural motion and legal trick up their sleeves.
On the one side, you have Ben Stone, the professorial know-it-all, a righteous crusader for making sure the system works, plying his trade like a chess grandmaster.

And on the other side, there's Jack McCoy, a streetfighter who just HATES to lose.
I would pay good, cash money to see that.

We were recently watching the first eight seasons of the original series, in order, on Netflix streaming before their streaming contract ended. I think the earlier years were the best but we've watched all the various spin-offs.

I would be great to see Ben Stone again if Michael Moriarty would do it. Being a person who enjoys continuity (done well), I enjoyed seeing former ADA Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) return as a defense attorney and ADA Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell) return as a judge. It was also great to see Mike Logan (Chris Noth) return on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Dann Florek return as a less-wimpy version of Donald Cragen on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

I have never been able to re-watch an SVU episode, probably because they are much more downbeat. The original series and Criminal Intent are enjoyable on multiple viewings. I would go nuts trying to talk to people about Criminal Intent and find that they had never heard of it. ARRGGHH!

I always preferred Ben Stone to Jack McCoy.  Where McCoy bludgeoned his way to getting what he wanted, Stone was far craftier, using the tools available to him like a rapier.

One of my favourite Stone tactics occurred in the first season episode "The Serpent's Tooth", which started off as a riff of the Menendez brothers' murder of their parents.  Here, however, it develops into a case against a hitman for the Russian mob.  In order to nail the case against the accused, Stone needs a witness to provide testimony.  Part of this testimony requires the witness to admit to committing certain crimes on his own part.  In exchange for the witness' frank admissions against his own interest, Stone guarantees the witness and his lawyer that the witness will receive immunity from prosecution by the New York County District Attorney's Office.  Signed and sealed.

The witness testifies, and in the process, reveals having committed a number of crimes involving his own business in Brooklyn.  Following the witness' testimony, a couple of Brooklyn cops show up outside the courtroom, warrants in hand, and arrest the man.  The witness and his lawyer are appalled at Stone's apparent lack of legal ethics.

"You promised me immunity!" spouts the witness.

"Immunity---in New York County, Manhattan," replies Stone.  "Brooklyn is in Kings County.  Next time, find yourself a better lawyer, sir."

Richard Willis said:

I have never been able to re-watch an SVU episode, probably because they are much more downbeat. The original series and Criminal Intent are enjoyable on multiple viewings. I would go nuts trying to talk to people about Criminal Intent and find that they had never heard of it. ARRGGHH!

I'm a late convert to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I only started watching it, really, because original Law & Order wasn't on anywhere, save one local station once a week only at midnight on Saturdays.

Then I caught a TNT rerun of a story where the team was investigating a prostitution ring, and it turned into a political corruption case and they were told to back off -- and to emphasize the point, Captain Cragen found himself waking up in a hotel room with a dead hooker next to him. I had to see how he got out of that, and from there started watching it regularly. 

But I agree -- overall, it's more downbeat. And the turn to more personal stories for the team doesn't always yield the best results.

Happily, original Law & Order became available on USA, WeTV and the Sundance Channel -- the latter two going back to the beginning. I agree the first few years were better.

As for Law &Order, Criminal Intent, I never cottoned to it. I don't believe I've watched even a half-dozen episodes. 

Commander Benson said:

I always preferred Ben Stone to Jack McCoy.  Where McCoy bludgeoned his way to getting what he wanted, Stone was far craftier, using the tools available to him like a rapier.

One of my favourite Stone tactics occurred in the first season episode "The Serpent's Tooth", which started off as a riff of the Menendez brothers' murder of their parents.  Here, however, it develops into a case against a hitman for the Russian mob.  In order to nail the case against the accused, Stone needs a witness to provide testimony.  Part of this testimony requires the witness to admit to committing certain crimes on his own part.  In exchange for the witness' frank admissions against his own interest, Stone guarantees the witness and his lawyer that the witness will receive immunity from prosecution by the New York County District Attorney's Office.  Signed and sealed.

The witness testifies, and in the process, reveals having committed a number of crimes involving his own business in Brooklyn.  Following the witness' testimony, a couple of Brooklyn cops show up outside the courtroom, warrants in hand, and arrest the man.  The witness and his lawyer are appalled at Stone's apparent lack of legal ethics.

"You promised me immunity!" spouts the witness.

"Immunity---in New York County, Manhattan," replies Stone.  "Brooklyn is in Kings County.  Next time, find yourself a better lawyer, sir."

I remember that. It was classic Ben Stone, using the tools at his disposal to a positive end, which is why I favor him over Jack McCoy as well. Stone would bend the rules, but he always played fair; McCoy wasn't above breaking them.

Oddly, it always seemed that District Attorney Adam Schiff didn't trust Stone and kept him on a short leash, but let McCoy have his way, when it should have been the other way around -- McCoy was the one who needed reining in. 


ClarkKent_DC said:

Stone would bend the rules, but he always played fair; McCoy wasn't above breaking them.

Which is why another one of my favourite Ben Stone scenes was able to take place.

I don't recall the specific episode or case, but it was another situation in which Stone needed a criminal to testify against the accused.  The problem for Stone---as it is for all prosecutors in real life---was, if he offered the crook a deal to encourage his testimony, then the defence attorney can raise the existence of the deal in court, during his cross-examination, and plant in the minds of the jurors the idea that the crook simply said what the A.D.A. wanted him to say (in exchange for immunity, a lesser sentence, or some other benefit).

Nevertheless, Stone contacts the attorney of the crook he needs to testify, confirms that the man can attest to the information Stone needs to nail the accused, and states the deal he is willing to give the man, if he testifies.

Fine, says the crook's lawyer, I'm sure my client will accept your deal.  Draw up the papers.

But Ben shakes his head.  No, he tells the lawyer, you're going to have to trust me on this one.

The next day, the crook takes the stand and basically nails the case shut on the accused.  Then, when it's time for cross-examination, the defence attorney confidently approaches the crook and asks, "What deal do you have in place with the district attorney's office, in exchange for your testimony?"

I haven't got a deal with the district attorney, replies the crook.  The defence attorney hits him with the question again, and again, the crook denies having a deal in place with the D.A.'s office.

The defence attorney requests a bench conference with the judge, where he demands the witness' answers be stricken.  Surely, the lawyer insists, Ben Stone has a deal in place with this witness.

"Mr. Stone," asks the judge, "has the district attorney's office entered into an agreement with this witness in exchange for his testimony?"

"No, your honour," replies Stone, truthfully.

Then the witness' answers will stand, rules the judge, leaving the defence attorney sputtering, "But . . . but . . . but . . . . "

Ben Stone was able to procure the witness' testimony on a promise because the witness' lawyer knew Stone to be an honourable man who kept his word and who was ethical to the Nth degree.  Jack McCoy didn't have that kind of currency with the legal community.  A lawyer never would have trusted McCoy to deliver simply on the strength of his [McCoy's] promise.

 Did anyone ever see the Law and Order UK version?  I've seen parts of it but never a whole episode.

I haven't seen it but I understand it was adaptations of U.S. episodes.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

 Did anyone ever see the Law and Order UK version?  I've seen parts of it but never a whole episode.

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