Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Fortunes of Law & Order

Whilst at the library I came across a recent issue of Fortune magazine, the contents of which included a very interesting article on the Law & Order TV franchise in general, and on series creator Dick Wolf in particular. (Subscription required for full article online.) L&O has never been a particular favorite of mine, mainly because my wife seems to have tapped into some kind of 24-hour Law & Order channel. (Actually it is the NBC, TNT and USA networks, manipulated with a remote control, but just watch -- it could happen.) I get sick of it being on my living room TV all day and all night, but my wife likes it, so I let her have her fun.

What little snippets of the show I do get to see tend to be a bit blood-curdling. I have never said this out loud, but there are times when I want to walk into the living room and shout, "Oh! Are you watching RAPE & MURDER again?" Because that is basically what the show is about. Also, if they show police procedures first, then go through the workings of the District Attorney's office, why don't they call the show "Order & Law"? Seems to me that they got that backwards.

It is also interesting to learn who else watches the show. Charlton Heston mentioned a few years ago that his favorite TV show is L&O. That is especially high praise from someone who admitted to not watching much television. Plus, Heston is cool. Former L&O attorney Michael Moriarty thought so, too. In 2001 he made an appeal to Charlton Heston to team up and stand for constitutional values. No word on whether Heston ever responded.

Moriarty, of course, was still seething from his bad experience with the federal government several years earlier. The encounter with Janet Reno was enough to send him packing and relocating in Canada. See, there is a precedent for all of the leftists who wanted to moved after last November's election.

Longtime cast member Sam Waterston, who replaced Moriarty, has been outspoken on political matters. Days before the 2000 election, he debated Phil Donahue (a Ralph Nader supporter) on Fox News about the Greens taking votes away from Al Gore. Considering the outcome of that election, he may have had a point. Heh heh.

Current L&O Attorney General Fred Thompson, as a former US Senator from Tennessee, has the highest political profile of any cast member. He is a Republican, a rarity in the entertainment world, and made an appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention, as did former L&O Assistant DA Angie Harmon.

I had always assumed that Dick Wolf was another Hollywood left type of guy, and a Clintonite at heart; many shows seemed to espouse a blatantly left of center point of view. According to the Fortune article, however, he is a political conservative. I may need to take a closer look at the show to see if his alleged political leanings can be gleaned from any more recent episodes. It is possible that TV shows and movies are influenced indirectly by the prevailing political wind in Washington D.C. The author of the article implies that Wolf's political conservatism is directly related to the name of the show: Law & Order. That kind of conclusion makes no sense to me. Does this mean that leftists are anarchic and disorderly? Quite the opposite is true. They are statists of the highest order, both in theory and in practice. (Unlike many conservatives, who are statist in practice if not in theory.) If anyone represents law and order, it is the left.

The show might be worth taking a closer look at, too, if they are maintaining the tradition of attractive female ADA's that made it worth watching in the late 1990s. Especially a conservative Texan pro-life attorney like Angie Harmon's character.

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