Mike Logan: whether you love him or you're bored silly, very few are dispassionate. In these two essays, Lady V. tries to explain some of the Logan Charm, and Constance (in the second piece) takes a closer look at what makes us worship our favorite actors and characters.
The Logan Mystique
by Lady V


Out of all of the present and former regular characters that have appeared on Law and Order, there is one character in particular that is so revered, that he is still passionately discussed, even though he is long gone from the show. It is such a highly passionate reverence that the show's fans consider this character as not only a highly competent professional, but also a true hero and a dear friend. It is through this character that we have been able to recognize our own private personal tragedies and have been able to witness not only how one can overcome them, but to thrive in spite of them. It is an amazing feat how this character could have inspired in his fans such fierce passion and loyalty, considering how given the nature of L&O, viewers were given very few details about the characters' personal life. However, in viewing the character in his professional habitat, many fans have been able to extrapolate his actions in the workplace to his possible actions outside of his workplace milieu. The character I am speaking of, of course, is Detective Mike Logan.
No offense to the McCoy Toys or the Hearts of Stones out there, but only Logan has the special quality to be able to be cited by the show fans as their most favorite character the most often. It is only Logan who is unique, period. Just what is so special about this man? Just what is it about him that inspires such deep emotion among the show's regular viewers?
When one sees Logan for the first time, the character's physical features strike one as rather quirky. His nose is way too broad by society's standards. His eyebrows are thick and bushy. One can easily say that the man really isn't all that handsome, in the traditional sense of the word. Yet, he exudes such confidence and such strong magnetism that the sheer force of his personality transcends his physical features enough to make him handsome and sexy.
However, Logan's appeal goes far beyond his looks. There are many things about his background that viewers can readily identify with. For one thing, over the five years that he was a part of L&O, viewers learned that he was the son of an alcoholic cop, who emotionally neglected him, and was physically abused by his alcoholic mother. Viewers also learned that he may have been molested by a neighborhood priest as a child. As a result of such a harsh and emotionally empty background, viewers also learned with time that Logan grew up distrustful of others and acted wild and rowdy to disguise his pain. For example, while in a junior high school, looking for an official to interview regarding a dead child's identity, Logan states, "When I got in trouble, I went to the guidance counselor." In addition, viewers hear Logan discuss his girlfriends from time and time. After watching the show for a while, one is struck by the fact that Logan rarely mentions the same woman twice, and that the relationships are discussed in the past tense. Fans can easily infer that his rough childhood may have had something to do with his inability to sustain relationships. However, Logan must have had a supportive person appear sometime in his life, or else an incredible inner strength, to be able to channel such pain into something positive by following in his father's footsteps into becoming a police officer. He also has shown enough insight about his troubled background to be able to empathize with crime victims from a similar background. For instance, while investigating a death of a little girl suspected to have been abused by her parents, when Logan and his partner, Max Greevey discover that the girl's mother had taken her brother home while she was supposed to have been under observation in the hospital, the detectives rush to their apartment to find the mother on the verge of scalding the little boy's hand. Viewers see Logan sweep the little boy up into his arms and console him. In fact, Logan has shown similar strong reactions in cases involving children.
In addition, Logan is shown as a fiercely loyal and honest person. For instance, in a case where he investigates the murder of his partner Max Greevey, viewers see a stressed out and angry Logan force a confession out of the killer. During a meeting with the EADA Ben Stone and his PBA lawyer, the PBA lawyer advises Logan not to sign a statement that read, in essence, that the confession was coerced. Logan goes against the lawyer's wishes and signs anyway, stating, "It's the truth."
These previously mentioned descriptions of the character would make it appear that he is perfect. However, that is far from the case. What keeps the character from becoming a stereotypical nice guy is his humanness. For instance, from time to time, Logan displays a fiery temper, a character flaw that threatened to hamper his career by the end of the character's tenure. He also shows ambivalence towards women. For instance, in a case where the detectives investigate the murder of a fellow police officer, Logan acts condescending to the dead officer's female partner. Yet, in another episode where a mail order bride from another country is accused of murdering her husband, when the detectives interview the owner of the mail order bride business, Logan blurts out, "I don't consider women like groceries." His ambivalence toward women is understandable given the difficult relationship that he had with his mother. But yet it is also understandable in the sense that in an era of rapidly changing sex roles and very little guidance, people feel confused and take out their fears and frustrations about our identities with others. And yet, in spite of such strong characteristics, Logan, in a sense, remains somewhat of an enigma. It seems that no matter how much viewers learn about the character, there is still a shadowy wall that Logan erects between himself and others that doesn't let one get too close to him. It's as if Logan feels that he would get hurt if he allows one to get close to his soul. In an entertainment medium where style is valued over substance, these very human traits are what make Mike Logan so accessible and real to the viewers. To the show's loyal fans, Logan is not just someone who takes up space on the television screen. He is flesh and blood. For as long as the show keeps its esteemed place in television history, the Logan mystique will rage on with its fans.


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