Law & Order: Los Angeles.

The Wheel (Law & Order episode)

I enjoy crime drama for several reasons. First is that it challenges me intellectually. I’m always trying to figure out who did it, how, and why before the show reveals its hand. Secondly, it provides me with insight into the way criminals work, the justice system, and various aspects of culture. Thirdly, it challenges me with the presentation of evil. I do not think we should watch evil to enjoy it – but I do think that evil can be portrayed in such a way as humanizes the victim, makes obvious the sinfulness of man, and throws us over our small quibbles toward living for the bigger challenges of life and reaching out to those who are truly suffering and in need.

The Law & Order series has been one of those shows that has effectively accomplished these effects in my viewing. Primarily, my viewing has been constrained to Law & Order: SVU (which most effectively and repeatedly breaks my heart), Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and now Law & Order: Los Angeles. I have not seen any significant quantity of episodes from Law & Order (the original) and while watching a few from Law & Order: New York, have not been as enthralled by the characters or driven by the stories.

Law & Order: Los Angeles is the latest in this family of series…and I must admit that a large portion of my weakness for this particular series is in its cast. Skeet Ulrich garnered my admiration for his nuanced portrayal of a troubled-man-become-hero in Jericho. Corey Stoll is essentially an unknown to me – but has quickly won appreciation for his balanced character. Of course, Alfred Molina is always a joy, and Regina Hall is one of those stars who I can’t particularly recognize from this or that but who always strikes you as capable and professional.

The stories of Law & Order: Los Angeles are not particularly unique – though the latest dealing with medicinal marijuana was quite interesting – not particularly for what it said about the practice but simply for broaching the subject at all.

So, if you are looking for a new show to watch – Los Angeles seems like a worthwhile recommendation thus far. I hope it will maintain its above board approach which couples intellectual and heart-breaking stimulation with a lack of gratuitous violence, sex, and profanity.

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