Thursday, January 03, 2008

Doink doink!

So normally, I dedicate these blog entries to literary items. Books I've read, random musings about writing (not so many of those lately, but that may change this year). But I had to sound off a little on the season premiere of Law & Order.

I have been a fan of the original Law & Order for quite some time now. I remember getting hooked by one of their infamous "ripped from the headline" cases, one based ... er, ripped from the story of JonBonet Ramsey. There have been highs. There have been lows. Lately there have been new cast members every time I blink. But I have remained faithful for one reason: Jack McCoy.

Jack McCoy (played so ably by Sam Waterston) is the man! I love this guy. I love the clever way that he traps defendants on the stand. I look forward to his closing arguments. I savor his gruff demeanor in the office. He is the sole reason I've endured the revolving door casting on this show.

When Fred Thompson announced his candidacy (or whatever it is he's supposed to be doing in Iowa), I was delighted. Not because I wanted Fred Thompson to run for president. Primaries aren't my thing. No, I was excited because I realized that, thanks to the equal time rule, Arthur Branch would be gone from the "big chair" and, based on some of the hints dropped in the last season, there was a very real possibility that Jack would finally ascend to become not just the executive District Attorney, but the main man himself.

And imagine my delight when, on a recent episode of Law & Order: SVU, I learned that it had happened. Alexandra Cabot is called on the carpet by the new DA. And I was thrilled! Sure, Jack wouldn't be prosecuting cases anymore, but it would be fun to see him with even more on his plate.

And my delight kept growing. Thanks to the writers' strike, Law & Order returned to its rightful slot on Wednesday night! And it was a two hour premiere! What a deal for me!

I have to say, by and large, I was satisfied with what I saw tonight. Two very good episodes with some fun twists to them. But all is not well in my fanatic little brain. I have a major gripe with the way Dick Wolf reshuffled his cast. And it has to do with Jack McCoy's staff.

I assumed, when I learned that Jack McCoy had become the head cheese (how many more synonyms can I come up with in one post?), Connie Rubirosa (played by Alana de la Garza) would get bumped up to first chair in terms of prosecution. Now that would be something. The original Law & Order has never had a female chief prosecutor before. Sure, SVU has, but not the original. I was actually looking forward to seeing Rubirosa drill into a defendant and do more than just run on down to the precinct when she was needed to listen in on an interrogation.

Besides, Rubirosa's promotion would also dispel a nasty notion that I've had in the back of my head for a few years now. It would prove that Dick Wolf doesn't have it in for female prosecutors. Let's see here: he's killed two of them (Claire Kincaid and Alexandra Borgia), almost killed another (Alexandra Cabot), had one savagely beaten (Casey Novak), and had one come out of the closet completely at random (Serena Southerlyn). To have Connie Rubirosa actually go up instead of crashing and burning like the majority of the female ADAs in his shows would have been kind of cool.

But no, that didn't happen. Instead, Wolf brought in the new guy, Michael Cutter (played by Linus Roache).

Now, don't get me wrong. I liked what I saw. Roache resembles a somewhat gaunt Michael Douglas and his accent is really cool. His energy seems to be a good counterpoint for McCoy's demeanor and I like the fact that he ordered the cops in without a warrant (watch the reruns). And the way he clinched the case against the kidnapers was almost McCoy-esque. But would it have been so horrible for Cutter to be the ADA and let Rubirosa take the lead chair?

But I guess that isn't going to happen. Oh well. In the meantime, I'll get used to seeing Michael Cutter on cross. I'll delight in seeing Jack McCoy calling the shots. And I'll hope that Connie Rubirosa keeps her life insurance premiums paid up.

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