The hit television show, Law and Order, has been one of the most popular shows on USA Network since it started in 1994. The show follows the everyday activities of the New York City police force and the legal department. It features an eclectic cast of characters that span the spectrum of both the police force and the criminal justice system. The lead characters are Major John DiMaggio (Law and Order’s Frank Sinatra) and his fellow precinct detective Det. Detective Lanny Ehrlich (John Mahoney) and Kate Becket (Alyssa Milano). Together, they pursue the ultimate bad guy, organized crime boss, Richard Castellano (David Hyde Pierce), and his associates.
Since its inception, the show has followed many of its interesting twists and turns, which have been successful on both the entertainment network and the ratings. For example, in season four, Det. Lt. Frank Sinatra was killed in a shoot-out with terrorists from Pakistan. Though Sinatra was the main suspect, the producers allowed his character to die an untimely death, so that he could be related more to the story. This helped to build anticipation for seasons to come and to develop the cast and characters more.
In season five, the writers once again delved into the issue of criminal intent as it pertains to the investigation of crimes. They explored how a criminal mind would form and what drove people to commit a crime. In the final episodes of season six, Frank Sinatra was murdered. This marked the end of the first wave of season six, and a new wave of characters was introduced.
The most prominent of these new characters was Inspector Harry S. Finch, played by FOX’s Michael Chiklis. A brilliant detective with a curious mind, Finch was a thorn in the side of District Attorney Ellen Burstuth before she decided to take on the job. After she is brutally murdered, Finch jumps into the case. He tracks down Charlie Root, a low-level criminal who worked for the Feds but was allowed to remain free because of his connections. At the end of the episode, Finch learns that Root planned on framing him and eliminating him.
This marked the first time that the CSI team found themselves in the midst of an intricate investigation. Michael Chiklis also had a great part playing Charlie Finch. His calm, collected facial expressions added much more depth to the character. It was obvious that the writers adored this guy.
Then there was Private investigator Ruth Myers. She was a seasoned detective and handled several minor cases of murder and rape during her career. Her relationship with Frank Sinatra was romantic at times, but also somewhat tense. Her relationship with Harry Page was complicated. She couldn’t stand the guy and was almost afraid to let him know what she knew about the case that he was working on.
There was also John Hartley. He was a former convict that went on to become one of the best detectives in the department. He had a love of dogs and seemed to really enjoy working with the dogs. This along with his cold demeanor and hardworking personality was just enough to make him an interesting and likable character on this show.
There are many more characters that this show used to bring new and interesting angles to crime shows. These additions definitely helped the show to grow in popularity. The writing, acting, and directing were all top-notch. It is not surprising that this show ended up on my list of favorites.
The characters that this show brought into the public eye also did a great job. Jake Paltrow’s character was great. He made the show look easy, and he got a lot of screen time. Mike Epps was an amazing detective that handled many difficult cases that were very believable.
The main theme of this show was the conflict between good and evil. This was a great twist on the typical police shows that usually have the cops at odds with the criminals. It was a welcome change for many people because it gives them a new and exciting angle to take.
I would definitely recommend Law and Order to anyone that is looking for a good hour or two of television that is well worth the time. The characters are great and the show had a lot of build-ups. It is a shame that it ended so early. I wish they had stayed around for a few more seasons. I would imagine that I will be very happy to see what they do next.