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NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
'Law & Order' Never Said it Would be This Way
December 11, 2018  | By Noel Holston  | 32 comments
 

Weird. It's like we're all watching Back to the Future in a huge movie theater and a third of the audience is pulling for Biff.

Feeling mischievous and snarky, I posted that analogy on Facebook not long ago. I was hoping to get a rise out of the few Donald Trump supporters I know who haven’t unfriended me yet, but it also reflects my genuine befuddlement about the popularity among a portion of our national population of a graceless crumb bum I can’t imagine anyone wanting for a relative, neighbor or boss, much less a commander in chief.

I haven’t figured out the disconnect, but I think I have come up with another analogy that’s better and certainly more appropriate to this particular website.

It has to do with the TV series I suspect George W. Bush (right) was talking about at his father’s memorial service in Washington when he recalled how aging George H.W. loved watching police show reruns while holding First Lady Barbara’s hand.

It’s (cue the famous sonic clang that evokes a judge’s gavel, a slamming cell door and the finality of Judgement Day) Law & Order.

First off, there’s the matter of Law & Order’s attitude toward wealthy New Yorkers. Almost a decade after it ended its 20-season NBC run, the flagship of the L&O empire is still showing on so many cable channels that there’s an episode available for viewing pretty much every hour of the day. Dick Wolf, the mastermind, is approaching the Vatican in wealth. But Wolf, for all his residuals, either despises Manhattan’s silver-spoon set or figured out early on that he would never go broke making them look smug, selfish and privileged in the eyes of hard-working viewers in fly-over land.

Only a fraction of the murders annually in New York City involve people who live in penthouses overlooking Central Park, but over the years L&O focused dozens upon dozens of times on crimes committed by men and women who wore designer clothes, lived in high-altitude apartments and often treated the NYPD detectives questioning them as if they had tracked dog poop in from the street.

How many times did we see Detective Lenny Briscoe (Jerry Orbach, left) and his younger partner du jour interrupt a dinner party or a board meeting or a political event to lead the upper-crust suspect away in handcuffs? Why make a simple, quiet arrest when you can humiliate?

Though Trump is not currently residing in his Manhattan tower, he’s a quintessential L&O suspect type – ostentatiously wealthy, convinced of his own superior intelligence and lawyered-up since prep school. He’s the kind of guy, on TV at least, nobody wants to see get a walk.

And that’s the other thing. On Law & Order, defense attorneys used every legal trick in the law library to keep their clients out of prison. Like Robert Mueller, the Independent Counsel investigating Trump and his campaign’s concealed, possibly treasonous ties to Russia, Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy had to build solid cases while devious lawyers for the prime suspects tried to quash subpoenas, challenge warrants, and get confessions and other evidence ruled inadmissible – in other words, get their clients off on technicalities.

And if Law & Order viewers – if law and order loving Americans, period – hated anything, it was witnessing crooks flaunt the justice system and get off on technicalities.

But that was then, and this is now, and that was Earth, and this is Bizarro World.

Hunt witch. Collusion no. HAPPY.

 
 
 
 
 
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