Law & Order: Los Angeles -- TV Review
Sept. 29, 10 p.m. (NBC)
Have a care for "Law & Order: Los Angeles," a series that carries more baggage and expectations than any premiere rightly should.
It has to battle giving franchise fans what the original delivered expertly while struggling to be its own unique creature despite the 20-year-old collar around its neck.
"LO:LA" creators are trying to straddle both sides, with mixed results.
Franchise creator and premiere story/writer Dick Wolf has crafted his tale with an expert hand and literary flourish -- it opens and closes with paparazzi flashes -- peppering the dialogue with industry insider references to "appearance fees" and "gifting suites" in the way his original did with "recusals" and "LUDs."
But the first episode comes across as too busy and unformed, with bland, friction-free detectives (a G. Gordon Liddy-esque Corey Stoll and Skeet Ulrich) investigating a home-invasion ring that ropes in a Lindsay and Dina Lohan-like mom-daughter pair.
Fortunately, the pace picks up considerably once the show slips into its legal second half as sad-eyed ADA Ricardo Morales (Alfred Molina with an unfortunate haircut) exercises a presence and authority that is otherwise lacking. He's a welcome reminder of the intense energy the best episodes of this franchise keep boiling just beneath the surface.
So far, sort of good: twists in the tale, the doink-doink sound, few if any establishing shots. But the series takes a truly unfortunate turn when it follows the villains around, giving away the whodunit and scattering the tension to the Santa Ana winds. It's an ordinary, dull device employed by most cop shows and is in part responsible for the sinking of "Criminal Intent," so it's hard to imagine the logic in employing it here.
It's equally as hard not to watch "LO:LA" without yearning for the very things that made this franchise so distinctive: intelligent stories, raw camerawork and a feeling of verisimilitude that slashed through the ho-hum murder-of-the-week shows. Two decades on, for this franchise to stand out, it still should be doing some slashing and burning -- and a lot less spewing of lines like: "Mom shoots a burglar, daughter holds a press conference. I love L.A." The last thing this series wants to do is blend in -- and thus far, it's no standout.
- Prince Takes Over the 'Arsenio Hall Show,' Debuts New Funky Song
- A Train, a Trestle and 60 Seconds to Escape: How 'Midnight Rider' Victim Sarah Jones Lost Her Life
- 'Divergent' Star Shailene Woodley: The Next Jennifer Lawrence?
- 'Noah' Banned in Several Middle Eastern Countries
- Lindsay Lohan's OWN Series Gets First Official Trailer (Video)
- MOST SHARED
- MOST POPULAR
- Sheila MacRae Dead: 'Honeymooners' Actress Dies At 92
- Russell Brand Says There's Only One Explanation For Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death (VIDEO)
- This Guy's Acapella Version Of Mike Tyson's 'Punch Out' Will Make You Nostalgic (VIDEO)
- Conan O'Brien Gives Body-Slam Filled Review Of The WWE 2K14 Video Game