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November 22, 2014

Law and Order

Five Ingredients That Make USA Network Shows Work

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 14th 2010 3:11PM
The character-driven shows of USA Network...'Burn Notice,' 'Royal Pains,' and 'Psych'
A while back, while announcing the season premieres for 'Burn Notice' and 'Royal Pains', I briefly mentioned the reason why these original USA network programs, as well as their other offerings, work so well. As I thought about it some more, I realized that it wasn't just the focus on characters and the mix of comedy and drama that made these shows click with audiences. There was more to it. In fact, three more 'its' to make a TV Squad list. How's that for ironic!

So, if you'll indulge me for a moment, here are the five things that make USA network shows resonate with viewers.

1. Actual character-driven shows -- When USA uses the tag line "Characters Welcome" they aren't kidding. Every original program since 'Monk' has been character driven. They haven't relied on special effects, or musicals, or unanswered questions that, when answered, produced more unanswered questions. It's characters that drive the shows and move them forward.

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Sam Waterston Will Cross Over to 'Law and Order: SVU'

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 13th 2010 1:36PM
D.A. Jack McCoy gets involved with the Special Cases squad on the April 28th episode of 'Law & Order:SVU'In an earlier item on S. Epatha Merkerson leaving 'Law & Order' I mentioned how it takes the departure of a long term cast member to draw the attention of fans and viewers. Well, the other thing that snaps those same folks to attention is the crossover of a character from one 'Law & Order' show to another. That's because these people have rarely made appearances in other members of the franchise in the 250 years its been on television.

In this instance, Sam Waterston's Jack McCoy will be appearing on an episode of 'Law & Order: SVU.' Now, while Waterston has appeared on the show twice before in his office, this will be the very first time that District Attorney McCoy will show up in the SVU squad room. It will also be the first time that Waterston works with actor Christopher Meloni. It'll be interesting to see how these two characters react to each other.

This "very special episode" of 'Law & Order: SVU' premieres on April 28th with special guest star Sharon Stone.

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What's On Tonight: 'American Idol,' 'Lost,' and some show named 'Glee'

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 13th 2010 12:30PM
After four months, 'Glee' returns to FOX with all new episodes
Here's tonight's TV lineup (all times Eastern). All shows mentioned are new, unless otherwise noted.


8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'Dancing With the Stars' -- Results show
The CW: '90210'
FOX: 'American Idol' -- 88 minutes long. See below.
NBC: 'The Biggest Loser' -- Two hours
PBS: 'NOVA' -- Focus on the ever-expanding universe

9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'Lost'
The CW: 'Melrose Place'
FOX: 'Glee' -- Starts at 9:28. Stupid FOX!
BBC America: 'Survivors'
Discovery: 'Deadliest Catch'
PBS: 'Frontline' -- Profile on President Obama's administration
TLC: '19 Kids and Counting'

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: 'V'
NBC: 'Parenthood'
BET: 'Tiny & Toya'
Bravo: 'The Millionaire Matchmaker' -- Season finale
Food Network: 'Chopped'
FX: 'Justified'
HBO: 'REAL Sports with Bryan Gumble'
LOGO: 'The Big Gay Sketch Show'
MTV: '16 and Pregnant'
TLC: 'The Little Chocolatiers'
Travel: 'Food Wars'
USA: 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'

11:00
Bravo: '9 by Design' -- series premiere

Check your local TV listings for more information. After the jump, the late-night talk shows.

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S. Epatha Merkerson Leaving 'Law & Order'

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 4th 2010 10:42PM

S. Epatha Merkerson is leaving 'Law and Order' after this seasonCast departures and changes within the 'Law & Order' franchise are are a dime a dozen these days. So much so that most fans tend not to notice when they occur. The exception is when a long-running cast member decides to step down. Fans take notice then because, frankly, there aren't too many more long-running cast members left in the franchise (except the amazingly stable group at 'Special Victims Unit.'

This time the honor goes to S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Lieutenant Van Buren in the original 'Law & Order'. After 16 years, the actress has decided to leave the series at the end of this season.

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Michael Imperioli Cast as Cop in ABC Drama

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 3rd 2010 12:44PM
michael_imperioli_nbc_headshotOn 'The Sopranos,' actor Michael Imperioli excelled at playing Christopher Moltisanti, a goodfella in every sense of the word. A made man. Definitely on the wrong side of the law. Since the HBO series has ended -- and even before that -- Imperioli has found work on the other side of the badge. He's doing it again. Michael Imperioli will star in '187 Detroit' for ABC, a new cop drama.

The premise of '187 Detroit' is kind of 'The Office' meets 'NYPD Blue' in Michigan. It's a funny take on a Detroit homicide squad if they were to have a documentary crew following them around on cases. Imperioli will be Fitch, the hot-tempered, veteran detective who boasts an impeccable record for closing cases and catching killers.

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Lindsey Vonn Lands Bit Role on 'Law & Order'

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 1st 2010 2:09PM
Lindsey_Vonn_cropped_head Was that a real moment between Bob Costas and Lindsey Vonn during the NBC coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Saturday night ... or just a typical cross promotion for the Peacock network? You be the judge.

The gold medal winning American downhill ski champion, one of the darlings of the Vancouver games, appeared with Costas. At the end of the interview, Bob reminded Lindsey that she's the biggest 'Law & Order' fan in the world. Lindsey didn't deny it. She said it was true and the video they showed of her visiting the set and gushing about the show looked very sincere.

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Ann-Margret joins Jaclyn Smith on 'Law & Order: SVU'

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 23rd 2010 1:02PM
Ann-MargretWell, this episode of 'Law & Order: SVU' is turning into a greatest hits of sexy women from years gone by. Actually, that's not quite accurate. Both of these women are still quite attractive. We already told you that former 'Charlie's Angels' star Jaclyn Smith will be appearing in an episode of the NBC drama on March 31. Now another famous star has been added to the episode.

Ann-Margret will appear in the same episode. TV Guide says that she'll play a woman who starred in commercials in the 1970s who gets involved in the case that Stabler and Benson are working on. Smith will play a detective involved in the same case. And if that's not enough beautiful TV women for you, what if we add Susan Anton and Morgan Fairchild to the mix? This episode is shaping up to be more 'Diagnosis: Murder' or 'Murder She Wrote' than 'Law & Order: SVU,' but it sounds like fun.

Well, I don't know if any episode of any 'Law & Order' show can be described as "fun," but this sounds like it could come close.

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Jaclyn Smith to Guest on 'Law & Order: SVU'

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 21st 2010 10:03AM
jaclyn_smith_headshot_tiltedWhen it comes to guest stars, few shows do it as well as NBC's 'Law & Order: SVU.' The past few years the Emmy-winners in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category have come from actors who've visited the show, including Leslie Caron, Ellen Burstyn, Cynthia Nixon and Amanda Plummer. That said, one of 'Charlie's Angels' may need to make some room on her bookshelf for a trophy.

Perhaps that's jumping the gun, but it's still promising to hear that Jaclyn Smith will do a guest turn on 'Law & Order: SVU.' The actress, who'll never be more famous than she was as Kelly Garrett, one of the original 'Charlie's Angels,' gets to appear on the NBC show as a former police officer.

That's pretty ironic, too, because the whole twist about the 'Angels' is that they were frustrated as policewomen and Charlie plucked them out of going-nowhere careers fling papers and writing tickets to make them professional, private detectives in the thick of the action.

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Is Christopher Meloni Really Done with 'Law and Order: SVU'?

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 5th 2010 4:02PM
christopher_meloni_law_and_order_svuThings haven't really been going very well on NBC, and now here's another kick in the shins. Actor Christopher Meloni is talking about leaving 'Law and Order: SVU' at the end of this season. That's right. No more New York detective Elliot Stabler. What's going on and why?

Well, after a dozen years pounding the pavement and fighting the good fight as Elliot, Meloni is interested in doing something else with his career. In an interview Down Under with the Australian Courier-Mail, Meloni said, "I think 12 years is enough." Eight is enough, yes, but twelve?

Anyway, Chris goes on to say that he has interest in doing film projects and returning to the theater. As for the future of Elliot on 'Law and Order: SVU,' Meloni believes he's giving the writers plenty of time to work out a satisfactory exit. He said, "The writers will have fertile ground to figure out how to arc [his way] out to another place, whether it's this world or the next."

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NBC's new 10 PM lineup includes Seinfeld, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 14th 2010 4:02PM
NBC logoIn the middle of the raging late-night war, NBC has let word about their post-Olympics 10 pm schedule slip to those in the know, including Joe Adalian of TheWrap.com.

As NBC entertainment president Jeff Gaspin explained earlier in the week, the slot will contain a combination of reality and scripted shows, and news. The pleasant surprises: Parenthood is slotted at 10 PM ET on Tuesdays, after NBC's hit The Biggest Loser. It starts March 2. Law & Order starts continues its season with a two-hour episode on March 1, and will settle into a Monday at 10 slot on March 8. SVU goes to Wednesdays at 10 on March 3, led in by reruns of the show.

On the reality front, Jerry Seinfeld's The Marriage Ref will air at 10 PM ET after the Thursday comedy block, starting March 4 (it sneak previews after the Olympic closing ceremonies on Feb. 28). And on Fridays, a two-hour Dateline will bow at 9, preceded first by the reality series Who Do You Think You Are, starting March 5, then Friday Night Lights on April 30.

Got it? There will be a quiz later.

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Law & Order + Los Angeles = Dragnet?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 11th 2010 5:02PM
Law & OrderThere's good and bad news coming from NBC's decision to cancel the 10PM Jay Leno Show. It's going to free up five hours during the week for more scripted shows. That's the good news. The bad news? One of those hours might be filled with yet another Law & Order spinoff.

Yup, the network wants a Los Angeles-based Law & Order from Dick Wolf to add to the franchise. They're calling the new show LOLA, which is probably what we're all going to have to get used to typing since I'm sure this show will be given the green light and we'll be writing about it in the next year or two. Of course, a Law & Order set in Los Angeles sounds a lot like Dragnet. And hey, wasn't Southland set in L.A.?

Soon, all that will be on TV will be different Law and Order, CSI, and NCIS spinoffs and nothing else. Oh and reality show. Lots of reality shows.

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Sharon Stone to guest on Law and Order SVU

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 5th 2010 10:02PM
sharon_stone_earringsRemember how Sharon Stone first made her claim to fame? No, I don't mean her imitating Cybill Shepherd in the comedy Irreconcilable Differences with Ryan O'Neal, Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore. I'm talking about Basic Instinct, of course. As Catherine Trammell, she had perhaps the most famous crossed-knee move ever in the movies.

Well, now the star will be returning to the crime genre. Sharon will be appearing on NBC's Law and Order SVU later this season.

Stone will be appearing in a four-show arc, playing a former cop who's become a prosecutor, an assistant district attorney. That means instead of answering questions, she'll be asking them.

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NBC chief vows to renew Law and Order

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 2nd 2010 9:00AM
law_and_order_nbcIf Dick Wolf's Festivus wish was to get Law and Order renewed for another season on NBC, he got what he wished for. NBC chief Angela Bromstad has vowed to renew Law and Order for season 21. That'll mean that Wolf's show will break the long-running record of 20 seasons for a dramatic series held by Gunsmoke.

Bromstad's vow presumably extends to Law and Order SVU, as well, especially since it does better in the ratings. Of course, nothing on the NBC slate is doing particularly well this season with the exception of the National Football League and The Biggest Loser. All the scripted series have struggled in the Nielsens. The Jay Leno Show experiment has been anything but a boon for the prime time schedule, no matter how NBC spins it.

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Best TV of the '00s: Dramatic Actor

by Jane Boursaw, posted Dec 30th 2009 11:06AM
Bryan Cranston, Breaking BadMore of our best of the decade coverage, which started on Tuesday. You can read the other posts at the link above. Here, we talk about the best dramatic actors of the decade. And, boy, was it a tough choice.

From a meth-making chemistry teacher to a damaged 1960s ad exec, the guys populating the dramatic actor category in our best of the decade are nothing short of brilliant.

It's hard to choose favorites when you're dealing with the likes of Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Mark Harmon, James Gandolfini, and many others, but the TV Squad team has spoken.

Did your favorites make our list? If not, feel free to add them in the comments below.

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Bill O'Reilly gets in snipefest with Law & Order

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 11th 2009 6:43PM
As part of his never-ending quest to make himself the news, the "Culture Warrior" has lobbed another fireball on the world of popular culture. This time it's Law & Order SVU creator Dick Wolf, because the show mentioned him.

This week's episode, titled "Anchor," featured a character who kills children birthed by illegal immigrants in America. His attorney, played by John Laroquette, fashions a defense that the TV and radio talking heads who rail against illegal immigrants are responsible for his actions. He even puts one on the stand, played by Bruce McGill, who seems to be channeling a Warner Bros. cartoon version of Lou Dobbs.

The attorney mentions O'Reilly by name, along with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, as a "cancer spreading ignorance and hate." O'Reilly not only ripped Wolf a new one for working him into his show, but also brought in fellow pundit Laura Ingraham who frankly seemed more upset that she wasn't one of the name smeared in the episode like a jilted prom queen who only scores "Miss Congeniality". Well, darling, there's always Criminal Minds.

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