This week’s Law & Order: Los Angeles did a great job of returning to the roots that made the franchise a success.
In "Benedict Canyon," the detectives work as a team and actually have to detect; the prosecutors actually have cases that present problems they have to work around, and there is even a bit of a surprise towards the end.
All that being said, the show is far from perfect.
The biggest detraction may be actually be the shift from New York to L.A. I know this seems like an odd reason for the show to be hitting bumps, but the show is either trying too hard to push the new city onto its viewers, or they are truly over infatuated with the city themselves.
The location titles to the show have become a bit of a tired motif and vastly different than the crime relevant titles of the other franchise series. A small annoyance, but the little things kill.
Secondly, the crimes have a detectable Los Angeles feel about them; from killer surfers to murdered stylists of the stars the crimes committed on this series have to occur in LA.
As for the other series, the crimes might be depraved enough to be committed in New York, but one could imagine them happening in any number of locations.
This episode takes it a little too far, causing this little complaint, with the guest "star" a bloated boxing Khloe Kardashian, who actually has the line, “It’s called acting.”The cameo performance did not fail to bring her butt into the conversation. The whole scene, including the playful banter between her and TJ, felt cheap and forced.
Now that some of the pitfalls of the episode are out of the way what did they get right?
TJ and Morales actually begin to work more as a cohesive team; with each contributing to the investigation, instead of a one man show.
The show also accomplishes their bond by eroding the relationship between Morales and the DA’s office. The strongest, yet subtle sign of the growing bond between Morales and TJ is when Ricardo insists on his partner remaining present during a private conversation with Terry Briggs, the former cop gone bad.
The relationship between the two detectives allows the show to have a more complex investigation creating more intrigue for the show. Also a much more enjoyable back and forth, give and take between the detectives gives the show much needed balance.
Dekker and Rubirosa also even out their roles in the DA’s office. In Rubirosa’s previous episodes she had small minor interviews with persons of interest. In “Benedict Canyon” her role in the prosecution of Jennings is a bit more involved with a few more single interviews than previous episodes and gives advice to Dekker than just following his lead.
Also the prosecution team has to overcome issues in the courtroom. The tension created by the case being dismissed and then fear of a mistrial due to a witness death keeps a healthy level of anticipation and curiosity concerning the outcome of the case.
For those of you keeping track, or maybe gaining an interest, this episode recalls the real life murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.
Overall the show still has some hurdles to jump in order to equal the other series of the franchise, but it looks like it might be on its way.
How do you feel LA measures to the standards created by the other Law & Order series? What, if anything, would you change about the show?