Created by Dick Wolf
Starring Paul Sorvino, Michael Moriarty, Chris Noth, Richard Brooks, Dann Florek, Steven Hill
- “The Cast: The Early Years” – interviews with cast members
- All twenty-two second season episodes
Released by: Universal
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: A must-own for the fan.
There’s a criminal justice system. And there are cops that catch the bad guys. And there are district attornies who do their best to put said bad guys behind bars. And there are title cards: white letters on a black background, accompanied by some weird echoey sound sting that nobody knows what the hell it is. This is that sound sting’s story.
[ad#longpost]Seriously, though, what else can we say to describe this show that hasn’t already been said? And is there anyone who has been able to avoid this version or its two spinoffs (soon to be three)? This franchise practically keeps New York actors from starving and will probably be still running with new episodes when you and I are dead. Of course, this is good news since pretty much every version of the show is choice; to paraphrase, “The worst we ever saw was pretty good.”
This time around, Max Creevey (who was played by George Dzundza) is replaced by Phil Cerreta (Sorvino), who is now partnered with Mike Logan (Noth). Still around is Capt. Cragen (Floerk). And also still at the D.A.’s office are Ben Stone and Paul Robinette (Moriarty and Brooks), the A.D.A.s and D.A. Adam Schiff (Steven Hill).
As was the case with the previous set, the extras are sparse but what is here is pretty nice. You get interviews with cast members from the first three years (it’s basically everybody from years one and two plus Jerry Orbach, who will show up in the next boxed set). It’s cast only, and they’re pretty frank about what it was like getting the show started. They talk about friction between actors, why Dzundza and Sorvino each lasted a year, and what is was like sitting on a pilot that it looked like nobody wanted. Good stuff.
As always, it’s hard to justify spending the coin on this since, if you have cable, you can scarcely avoid finding Law & Order in some form or fashion almost any hour of the day. So for the casual viewer, sure, avoid this for now. But the fan will want it, because let’s face it, the damn thing’s habit-forming.