STREAMING TV REVIEWS

REVIEW: Original ‘Law and Order’ series picks up right where it left off 12 years ago

Feb 23, 2022, 2:19 PM

LAW & ORDER -- "The Right Thing" -- Pictured: (l-r) Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price, Odelya Halevi as...

LAW & ORDER -- "The Right Thing" -- Pictured: (l-r) Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price, Odelya Halevi as ADA Samantha Maroun -- (Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC)

(Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC)

SALT LAKE CITY — “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

For 20 years starting in 1990, viewers of the Emmy Award-winning procedural drama “Law & Order” heard those same words delivered by the same monotone voice to begin each of its 456 episodes. Now, just shy of 12 years since it last aired a new episode, the original is back.

Series creator Dick Wolf has called the show’s return to network TV a dream come true.

(Photo by: NBCUniversal)

Yet, even though it has been over a full decade since the show has been on NBC, watching the first episode of season 21, titled “The Right Thing,” it felt like no time had passed at all.

Perhaps that’s due to the show being in constant rerun on multiple networks, having the ability to stream it on Peacock, or having multiple spinoffs, including “Law & Order: SVU” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” still airing new episodes on NBC.

Whatever the reason, it felt like seeing an old friend again when I previewed the first episode of this new season (airing in Utah on Thursday, February 24 at 7PM on NBC/KSL).

This despite only two cast members returning from the 20th season of 2009-2010: Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) as Detective Kevin Bernard, and Sam Waterston as District Attorney Jack McCoy (his 17th season in the role).

But one could argue that the show’s format itself was as much the reason people tuned in as it was to see any particular star actor. The first half of an episode typically involves the police tracking down and arresting a suspect in a crime, then switching to the prosecuting attorneys attempts to get a conviction.

Cases on the show often were written to closely resemble real-life situations that many viewers would recognize, though there was always a disclaimer that ran at the beginning or end saying the story was fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.

The first episode of season 21, airing February 24th on KSL 5, wastes no time jumping into a case to which viewers will likely instantly recognize the parallels.

Without any spoilers for those who’d like to be surprised, newly-acquainted partners Bernard and Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan, “Burn Notice”) investigate the murder of a notorious entertainer. A dispute over throwing out a confession creates a rift in the D.A.’s office between Executive A.D.A. Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) and his boss, McCoy.

Also joining the cast are Camryn Manheim as Lt. Kate Dixon, Bernard and Cosgrove’s supervisor, and Odelya Halevi as A.D.A. Samantha Maroun.

To me, the thing that has always made the original “Law & Order” series most compelling was its ability and willingness to show multiple sides of complex issues and how the law relates to them.  Often the most memorable episodes were the ones where the “good guys” didn’t win.

“The Right Thing” doesn’t shy away from any current hot-button issues, either.  Yet I felt it handled them with the same thoughtfulness the show always has demonstrated. It will be interesting to see going forward how it deals with other divisive topics in our current social and political climate, and also which characters from the previous run of the series will return as guests (hint: you won’t have to wait long for one!)

It’s good to have the original “Law & Order” back.  It never should have left in the first place.

WHAT

Law & Order“, Season 21 Episode 1: “The Right Thing”.

WHEN

Airs Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at 7PM MT

WHERE

KSL 5 TV (next day on Peacock, NBC.com)


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

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REVIEW: Original ‘Law and Order’ series picks up right where it left off 12 years ago