Why do I watch Law & Order?" There is no easy way of answering that. I need to take a trip down memory lane first and I must also explain to you how different is being a L&O fan in Greece.
Some time back in 1992, when I was still at school, I turned on my VCR to tape a movie. The movie was, I believe, Ladyhawke, with Michelle Pffeifer and Rutger Hauer. My VCR, which has since gone to VCR heaven by the way, was on LP mode (long play) so after Ladyhawke it also recorded another movie (Blue Velvet, it scared the hell out of me) and something called Law & Order. Not realizing it was around one hour long (isnít it?) I thought this was yet another movie. A really cool movie. And it wasnít even the greatest episode ever, it was The Reaperís Helper. I left it at that until about a year later I stayed way over my bedtime one night and at around 2:00 AM I run across another episode. After it finished they showed yet another one (two episodes back to back). I was hooked. "They", those insane people who gave prime time spots to crap like Melrose Place and Baywatch and buried L&O at 2:00 AM, showed two episodes back to back around three times a week. All that when I was supposed to go to school the next day (those monsters showed them on weeknights). My VCR obstinately refused to be programmed to record them so I had to risk my fatherís wrath and steal to the living room where I would watch L&O with the sound as low as possible, grateful for subtitles. I was baffled. "They" werenít showing episodes in order so at some point Mike Loganís partner would be Greevey and at another it would be Briscoe. I had read somewhere that actor Paul Sorvino had been on the show but I hadnít seen him. Actually, I didnít get to see Phil Cerreta episodes until about two years ago. It seems that initially "they" hadnít bought any.
The "six episodes a week orgy" lasted for around two months and even though I didnít manage to watch them every night (I would have had to drop out of school to do that) I knew "they" only had a dozen or so and were playing them over and over again. And then, "they" stopped. For about 2 years. Ok, I sort of had a life but still, I missed the show. Running across it again sometime in 1997 was like hearing from a long lost friend. It was good to see Logan again and Ben Stone to whom I had grown very fond of. And then, one horrible night, as I was looking at the credits, waiting for that familiar face to show up, I saw someone else. I knew some people had been replaced, Paul Robinette had given his place to a charming young lady, Don Cragen to a woman, Mike Logan had had three partners. But to replace Ben Stone? It was insane. To add to my misery, "they" were showing all episodes in a completely mixed order to the point where I didnít know whether I was going to get Ben Stone or the other guy. Iím not a McCoy hater about to feature him as a child molester in my next fan fiction. I canít write about McCoy at all because I hardly know him. Sam Waterston just never appealed to me while at the same time Iím still trying to figure out what it was about the Ben Stone character and Michael Moriarty that made my heart beat faster. Heís my father age, Iíd say, heís tall and awkward and walks funny, heís balding and he wears suspenders. And despite all that I couldnít take my eyes away from him. But even though I cursed out loud at seeing Sam Waterston at the credits, there was still Mike Logan. After the Law section I half-heartedly followed the Order section just to see what would happen.
I first got worried when I read somewhere that Julia Roberts was dating a guy from Law & Order. I could picture her with Chris Noth but the article also said that the actor was younger than she. Something didnít add up. And then, oh, I donít want to think about it, another nasty surprise, thereís Jerry Orbach/ Lennie Briscoe, this looks like L&O but where the hell is Mike Logan? I was devastated but still I watched from time to time because I was fond of Claire Kincaid. I mustnít have been paying much attention because the suggested romance between her and McCoy flew right over my head. I just remember one scene which struck me as odd, it was when he changed into his jeans in front of her. That made an impression but she had looked annoyed to me more than anything else.
I must have run across one or two episodes featuring Jamie Ross and one or two with Abbie Carmichael.
What Iím sure you donít understand is this: they didnít show episodes in order so I didnít realize any sort of explanation was given for characterís disappearances. "They" never showed (or I never saw) the episode where Greevey died. I never saw Old Friends and only this year I found out from the net that Mike punched someone and was demoted and Claire Kincaid is dead (reading Apocrypha fan fiction should make this sink in, I suppose, but I still canít believe itÖ). Maybe "they" didnít even buy these episodes.
And then, this September, what did "they" doÖ "They" started showing four episodes a week at an almost decent time (00:30) mainly from the first, second and third season. I finally got to see Phil Cerreta and I had a regular dose of Mike Logan and Ben Stone almost every night.
So, why did I watch it? It was late, it relaxed and helped me sleep. It was great fun even though at first I had to watch it with the sound turned low this time in order not to wake up my roommate. Eventually I passed the bug on to her so we watched it together. I love this show because it treats me like an intelligent human being. I love it because the good guys donít always win and because it fits so much in so little time. I love it and miss it even though Iím years behind in developments in it and it will always be this way. I donít think Iíd recognize Carey Lowell and Angie Harmon if I saw them on the street not to mention whoever is playing Ed Greenís character.
Iím in France right now. I get a craving for L&O especially when I canít sleep at night. The show has never aired here as far as I know. If they do start showing it here I guess theyíll dub it. I cringe at the thought of Ben Stone speaking French but the worst would be Mike Logan doing the tough guy, bad cop routine in French. I donít know. Maybe it wouldnít be so bad but at the same time it would feel like a sacrilege.
So, why do I watch Law & Order? I donít know whether I give a coherent answer. Probably not. You people didnít need to hear the story of my life and Iím embarrassed over how I went on and on describing under what circumstances I watched L&O and not really why. But the two of them are connected I believe. I watch it because I havenít seen all Ben Stone or all Mike Logan episodes yet but I believe I would still watch it, though with less fervor, even without those characters. This Abbie Carmichael seems like an interesting person from your fiction and maybe McCoy would grow on me.
If youíre still reading this, thank you for your patience. It felt good to get all this off my chest.