Law and Order: Pants and Switch

By January 17, 2008Briefly Legal, Energy

We just tossed off a gibe at “Law & Order” yesterday, based solely on the advance blurb, “Bottomless — A dry-cleaning mix-up leads to a murdered attorney and a trail of corporate corruption and greed.” Just what America needs, another “Law & Order” screed against business and greedy exploiters.

But, hope! The story turned out to be ripped from the headlines, i.e., the headlines about Roy Pearson, the Chungs, and a misplaced pair of pants. The TV adaptation has the detectives investigating the murder of a lawyer, a daughter defending her parents, immigrant drycleaners from China, against a lawsuit for losing a pair of suitpants.

So, an episode about obsessive plaintiffs, the predations of the trial bar and the suffering of small-business owners, right? What a pleasant break from the usual anti-corporate agitprop.

Wrong…in your usual L&O plot twist, the real culprit turned out to represent a huge, mass market retailer, “Safe-Mart” — gee, wonder who that might be — conspiring to cover up its imports of poison toothpaste made in Chinese factories. Heck, why stop there? The toothpaste, sweetened with anti-freeze, was pawned off on nursing homes and hospitals.

Not very creative, writers. You should have also had McCoy sue Safe-Mart under public nuisance statutes.

NBC provides online highlights of each episode, a series called “Two-Minute Hate,” er, “Two-Minute Review.” For yesterday’s L&O, click here.

Anyway…almost every week, another episode of a widely watched, supposedly credible prime-time drama sends the viewing public the overwhelming message: BUSINESS IS BAD.

It’s hackwork.

(Hat tip to our buddy Darren at the American Tort Reform Association.)

UPDATE: (Noon, Friday) The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher has more, having actually watched the show.

Bottom line: The writers clearly concluded the pants suit could not sustain a full hour of television entertainment–and it needed a homicide and a corporate scandal to fill an hour of prime time. Also: The original $65 million demand by Pearson was apparently judged not believable, so they changed that to $20 million.

Ach, du lieber.

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