While most of the public’s attention toward network television — a vestigial, if fading, interest remains — was directed last night toward the return of Leno and Letterman in the middle of the writers’ strike, we were more interested in the season 17 premiere of NBC’s Law and Order. New actors, new plots, Sam Waterston is the new district attorney, supplanting Fred Thompson.
Same old predictable, bad writing though. And, surprise, business was the bad guy!
The second episode of the evening involved a kidnapping and murder, a wealthy wife and daughter taken for ransom during a major citywide blackout. The real culprits? Utility executives who conspired to create the blackout and coordinated other electrical outages to force the city into buying more expensive electricity.
Now, granted, in the first episode the malefactors were a Dr. Kevorkian-type character, his manipulated daughter, and a pompous TV newsman, so the writers are spreading some of the cliches around. But it still looks like the writers are continuing the trend of recent years of making businessmen and women, entrepreneurs and corporations reliable villains, motivated by greed and malice.
We anxiously await the L&O episode about a left-wing political hack exploiting the poor to provide propaganda support to an anti-American tyrant.
Gratuitous slams against Fred Thompson, too. (Probably just writers snickering among themselves.) In an exchange in the D.A.’s office, the new ADA played by Linus Roache comments that Arthur Branch — Fred Thompson’s character — used to have the walls lined with nicknacks and awards. Waterston replies, “It’s a working office now.” Meowww.
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