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The 'Law & Order' Reboot Is Still Bad

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 23, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 23, 2022 |


After a decade-long hiatus, the original Law & Order returned earlier this year with a 10-episode season. It was not good. Laughable, at times. It tried to be “woke” while also calling out “wokeness,” and instead of sticking to the cases, it insisted on getting involved in culture wars. It was bad writing, and poor Sam Waterston had to deliver lines well beneath him.

Given the summer off and hopefully some additions in the writers’ room, I had hoped L&O would at least attempt to reconnect with its former glory. If the season premiere was any indication, there’s little hope of that. It was the third part of a three-part crossover with SVU and Organized Crime, and while I didn’t watch the first two, it didn’t seem to matter other than the fact that the episode felt like it began in the middle.

Essentially, the first two episodes took care of the police side of the equation, while Law & Order handled the legal side, which meant we barely got to see Anthony Anderson’s replacement, Mehcad Brooks, so the only thing we got to learn about him is that he’s not scared to take on a hulking bad guy. I’m not going to recount the entire episode, except to say that it involved two bad guys, Sirenko and Rublev, who were involved in the murders of several people, and a witness named Ava who was being protected by the cops.

The protection didn’t go well: An SVU cast member, Amanda Rollins, who is being written out of the show, was shot and nearly killed. She didn’t die, but I expect this is the beginning of her end in the Law & Order universe.

The case itself is basically one where E.A.D.A. Nolan Price had to cut a deal with the slightly less awful bad guy, Sirenko, to put away Rublev, the even worse guy. Rublev, however, tried to cut his own deal by offering up information about Vladmir Putin, but Rublev was shot and killed during a transfer, which meant that Sirenko got a reduced sentence even though the guy he was going to testify against was dead. Justice did not prevail.

This all led to a woefully awful final sequence that was also terribly out-of-character for the OG Law & Order. While Detective Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) — the racist cop — is having lunch with his daughter, she bemoans the fact that the guy responsible for killing 5 people only ended up getting 20 years in prison. Detective Cosgrove responds by delivering a ridiculous, painfully tone-deaf speech, which I will transcribe here:

Daughter: There has to be some way to punish these people so we feel safe.

Cosgrove: I wish there was, sweetie. I wish there was. But there isn’t. It’s impossible. There’s no magic wand I can wave or speech I can give. So we do the things we can do. By rescuing the victims by making them feel safe and whole. It’s not always easy or possible, but we try. We do our best to arrest the criminals and predators so they can’t hurt anyone else. But there’s still a lot of good in this world, so we need to focus on that. All those simple, priceless moments we seem to overlook. Like, right now, you and me, having lunch. Or watching the sunset. Or the view of Manhattan late at night from the 59th street bridge. The world isn’t perfect, Lily, but it’s still beautiful.

Thank you for that, Detective Wes Bentley in American Beauty.