November 10, 2008

police report

The number of cops dramas on TV is most definitely overkill, but that doesn't mean there aren't some really solid shows in the mix. A couple of updates on my favorites...

Life was just picked up for a full season. This one was new last season on Monday nights, reemerged in the fall on the dreaded Friday line-up, and was just moved to Wednesdays with promising ratings. It still has my attention because the cases are just quirky and weird, and so are the characters.

Law & Order (the original) premiered last week on Wednesday at 10pm. The show was in grave danger of cancellation last year, and NBC basically gave them one last chance at redemption. They pulled through. We've seen dozens of detectives and lawyers go in and out of this cast. Last season introduced two fantastic characters, which I think saved the show. Jeremy Sisto (Elton of Clueless) was brought on to play Det. Cyrus Lupo (how cool is that name?) as the first suitable partner for Det. Green (played by the fantastic Jesse L. Martin) to even come close to the genius of Jerry Orbach as Lennie Brisco. They had instant chemistry, although I think Martin would have chemistry with a ham sandwich.

The show also welcomed new ADA Michael Cutter (with the force of nature that is Jack McCoy now serving as DA) played by Linus Roache, a British import who has absolutely rocked a role that was so well established by Sam Waterston. Ratings last season remained strong and steady, and we eventually said a sad goodbye to Green and welcomed Anthony Anderson playing Det. Kevin Bernard as Lupo's new partner. I was skeptical at first, but the season premiere last week started to show some strong chemistry between the two. And I would be remiss without mentioning Lt. Anita "Lou" Van Buren played by S. Epatha Merkerson, who comes back every season to basically serve as the glue that holds the show together.

All this is to say, the grandmother of cop dramas is still queen in my book.

Michael Rapaport. On a final semi-cop-related note, Michael Rapaport, who has been playing an FBI agent on Prison Break, is developing a new show for CBS that looks promising. It will be a one-hour drama based on social workers in NYC. We often see social workers as side characters on cop dramas, and I think there are some really interesting and important stories to tell. Rapaport, one of my favorite unsung actors, will produce the show with Denis Leary, so let's hope for a script that brings in a little comedy on what will be an intense premise.


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