John Oliver is not a fan of Dick Wolf or Law & Order.
The comedian hit out at the portrayal of law enforcement on the NBC franchise during Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight.
Oliver said that Wolf had a "close, behind-the-scenes relationship with the NYPD, employing officers as consultants and boasting about the access he had."
Oliver said that a prior interview with a writer on the mothership series in the Law & Order franchise previously said that had the police been portrayed in a more realistic manner, the NYPD would make it difficult to film in New York City.
Oliver said that police shows "significantly distort the big picture of policing."
He said that these shows give a "false narrative" of cops, showing "exceptionally competent cops [are] working within a largely fair framework that mostly convicts white people."
"It’s presenting a world where the cops can always figure out who did it, defense attorneys are irritating obstacles to be overcome, and even if a cop roughs up a suspect, it’s all in pursuit of a just outcome,” Oliver said of Law & Order.
“And it blasts that fantasy at you in endless reruns and marathons in the guise of very well-produced, extremely entertaining TV."
"But underneath it all, it is a commercial — a commercial produced by a man who is, in his own words, unabashedly pro-law enforcement.”
Oliver also touched upon an almost 20-year-old interview in which he said Law & Order is "the best recruiting poster that you could have for being a New York City cop."
“It’s completely fine to enjoy [Law & Order shows], and it’s completely understandable to want Olivia Benson to exist,” Oliver explained.
“But it’s important to remember just how far it is from representing anything resembling reality… [Wolf] is selling a complete fantasy that many people in this country are only too happy to buy — which is fine, as long as we don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s an ad for a defective product.”
The Law & Order franchise is still a solid option for NBC, with the network programming three shows set in that universe on Thursdays.
Check out the entire segment below.
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Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.