You guys know how much I love Law and Order: more than is reasonable. I remember feeling super validated when way on back in 2002 a less-wrinkly version of myself read an article on Slate about mass numbers of women watching repeats ad nausuem. I am she.
So as my network TV programs wind to a seasonal close (I’ll miss you, Richard Castle!), I know that I can look forward to summer on the couch, watching my pals deliver justice in 60 minute or less. Over and over and over and over.
So why DO I love it so?
Lenny Briscoe/Jack McCoy: Guys, if there are better characters on TV, I am unaware. And I watch a lot of TV. Okay, a medium amount, but still. Sure Tobey Ziegler’s cynic-meets-optimist mashup was inspiring, Ms. Chanandler Bong was hilarious, and Carrie Bradshaw had a closet that made me dizzy…but? Can any of them hem and haw and wisecrack in loveably frumpy way like Briscoe? Can any of them express righteous leftie rage while pulling a sneak attack on the defense like McCoy? Uh, no? These two epitomize the law/order combo in a way no other characters on the show—and its myriad iterations—ever could. And for that, I will love them forever. Or at least three times a week in nightly mini-marathons on WE.
Predictability: It’s no secret that I’m Type A to the gazillionth power, so routines are super important to me. L&O hits the jackpot on this one in two ways. One, I’ve seen every episode 900 times, give or take, so I usually know what’s going to happen by about six seconds in. No stress there! Two, on the off chance I can’t remember the ep or whodunit, I can carefully follow the plotline and predict what’s going to happen. You know the suspect they round up right away is no dice—it’s the one they start talking to around minute 22 that’s the sucker to pay attention to. And if you think the court case is coming to a close before the 50 minute mark, you need to go back to L&O school. You should know to anticipate a major curveball if it appears the trial is wrapping anywhere before that key moment. There is comfort in routine, and Law and Order delivers big time.
Da-Dunk: HOW GOOD IS THE LAW AND ORDER NOISE? Like really good, right? You can be well out of decent earshot of the TV, hear the slightest kerplunk and feel your heart swell with love. Or is it just me? (It is not: reread the Slate article above.) For 20 seasons, the da-dunk kept this iconic show plugging along with a little help from its faithful sidekick, the interstitial time/place screen. Because of COURSE I want to know that Lennie and Ed are at Hudson University at 3:00 p.m. on October 25. Doi. Da-dunk.
I could go on and on and on, but let’s be real: There are repeats of Law and Order to be watched. I gotta go.