Law And Order: Season One

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Law And Order is the Everyman of cop and court dramas. Originally hitting UK screens in a graveyard slot on BBC2 around 10 years ago, it has since been thrust into the Saturday evening limelight by Channel 5. Rather than concentrating on the victims of crime, it focuses on the investigative process and is divided between the story of catching the suspect and that of trying him/her from the prosecutor's point of view.

In a sea of cop drama, which is victim-orientated, or defence-based, its unique perspective helps it to stand out from the crowd.

In being neatly split between the police squad portion of the story and the court room, it appeals to a much wider audience. This splitting between two teams of actors also ensures that in the event of one of them moving on to pastures new, there are enough familiar faces to maintain the show's ratings.

Many of the names in this first series of the New York hit are familiar - Michael Moriarty, on top form as the investigator, and Christ Noth - before he made it Mr Big - are just two of the regulars. The incidental actor list also reads like a Hollywood Repertoire company, with Six Feet Under's Frances Conroy and Samuel L Jackson being just two of the names on the roll call.

Another endearing aspect of the drama is its fearlessness in tackling current issues head on - and frequently letting the criminals "get away with it". Because Law And Order doesn't rely on soapy backstories, there is plenty of time for plot, making the series pacey and addictive. One of the other advantages is that if you miss an episode, you can easily catch up, though obviously owning this on DVD will circumvent that problem.

Reviewed on: 21 Jul 2003
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Law And Order: Season One packshot
Original series of America's longest running cop drama.
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Director: John Whitesell, EW Swackhamer, Vern Gillum, Charlie Correll, John Patterson, Martin Davidson, James Quinn, Michael Fresco, Aaron Lipstadt, Gwen Arner, Don Scardino, Daniel Sackheim, John Whitesell, Fred Gerber

Writer: Ed Zuckerman, Robert Palm, Thomas Francis McElroy, David Black, Robert Stuart Nathan, Dick Wolf, Jacob Brackman, Michael Duggan, Joe Viola, Michael S Chernuchin, René Balcer, Joe Morgenstern

Starring: Michael Moriarty, Chris Noth, George Dzundza, Richard Brooks, Dann Florek, Steven Hill, Cynthia Nixon, Frances Conroy, Samuel L Jackson

Year: 1990

Runtime: 993 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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