Suffering through the worst flu I’ve ever had has brought only one benefit. I’ve had a lot of time to watch Law & Order. (If you have cable, satellite or even more than five television channels, you know, at any given time, one of the many flavors of Law & Order is always being broadcast.) Among the many, many things to love about Law & Order, we true aficionados especially enjoy how the show always delivers on its promise to show something “ripped from today’s headlines”. Just in the past few days, I’ve seen episodes loosely based on the Michael Jackson child molestation case, The Central Park Jogger, the Yuppie Murder Case, Jon-Benet Ramsay, the murder of actress Adrienne Shelly. The list goes on and on. In fact, Law & Order has recently gotten very good at pumping out an homage episode before the cable pundits are done hashing over the real case. In the case of Bernie Madoff, I swear Law & Order’s episode was on the air only a few weeks after he was arrested.
So there’s real life and there’s the Law & Order universe. Why do things always turn out so much better in the latter?
Just a few examples:
1) The perps almost always go down. Oh, once in a while they let one get away, but you know whatever dynamic detective duo is on the case will eventually get them. In fact it often happens in a follow-up episode.
2) Redemption really is possible in Law & Order universe. How many times have you seen a serial killer or crack whore in Law & Order turn up on L&O: SVU or L&O: CI as a defense attorney or witness? (The only time this doesn’t work is if you were a fairly prominent actor once but now have few offers. Then the only path open to you is a second life as a particularly nasty serial killer.)
3) It actually is a lot easier to avoid crime in L&O universe than you might imagine. Just stay way from Brighton Beach. It’s full of Russian mobsters. And whatever you do, never enroll yourself or your child in Hudson University. Don’t take a teaching position there. Heck, don’t even get off the subway anywhere near it. The place is a hotbed of murder, rape and mayhem.
4) It’s a tougher life for the rich in L&O Universe. Every wealthy family has a black sheep member who is a killer, a pervert or will spare no expense to protect one. But they all turn on each other in the end, which is very helpful to Briscoe, Green, et al.
5) Cops never push suspects around. In fact, the vast majority being questioned fob off the detectives with lame excuses such as “Well, I have to get to class now” or “I’m really very busy, Detectives.” Doesn’t help. The cops catch them anyway.
6) Luckily for law enforcement, nobody, but nobody knows to keep their greasy mitts off a soft drink when in the interrogation room. Don’t they know the detectives will immediately dust it for prints and link them to the crime?
I could go on and on. Instead, I may email New York’s Attorney General and tell him to put Lupo and Bernard on that Madoff case. They nailed his TV alter ego, they can nail him. Oh, and ADA Connie Rubirosa will trace that money with one half hour session with the resident Asian L&O computer geek. Yeah, they’ll take him down. Maybe first they should put Madoff in an interrogation room with Stabler and Finn. Those two guys play hardball.
And now, I’ve got another episode to catch.