Friday, May 11, 2007

L&O mothership question

For anyone who's a more regular watcher of "Law & Order" Coke Classic than I am, can you remember the show ever opening with a scene of the murder victim before he or she dies? Because the season (and possibly series) finale does that, and it's certainly the first time I remember them doing it. ("Criminal Intent" obviously does it a lot, but its structure is different.)

17 comments:

Matt said...

Sometimes, there'll be a moment with the random victim when the crime is something like a bomb blast, and of course, many times, there's a second murder later on in which a witness or other character is a crime, but I can't think of any "pre-murder" scenes with the initial victim that lead things off.

(And please, tell me it's not Jack's daughter getting killed, because that's been an undercurrent this year.)

Abbie said...

There was an episode where the victim was a FedEx delivery guy, and he had a few lines before he was killed.

zoz said...

The episodes "Pride" and "House Counsel" each feature the victim for a few minutes in the opening sequence before he meets his demise. I'm positive this also occurs in a few other episodes, but it's rare. Yes, it's sad that I know this much information without actually being in the business.

Anonymous said...

Funny you asked, I believe the episode that is going to air at 3 pm on TNT today, is about a school shooting. The victims are alive at the beginning and actual crime happens during the opening scene.

erosia said...

I remember an episode where a sniper is shooting people. It opens with two women walking down a sidewalk, maybe with baby carriages. One bends down and when she gets up her friend has been shot. I think this was L&O: Original flavor, but honestly all the episodes blend together.

Tom C. said...

This season, I've seen it twice. One episode shows a man being beheaded (well, about to be beheaded). There was also a "inspired by Ted Haggard" episode a few months ago that did a Criminal Intent style opening.

Mac said...

In the Geraldo Rivera episode we saw the Geraldo stand-in before he was attacked, but he didn't actually die. There have been a few others, though usually they're not the focal character of the scene but look like extras.

You think that this TNT thing will come through? I can't imagine TNT paying for a full season of shows based in New York.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You think that this TNT thing will come through? I can't imagine TNT paying for a full season of shows based in New York.

I think if they ditch the entire cast(*) and do only 13 episodes, it might be workable.

(*)One way to maintain some continuity while controlling costs: see if Sam Waterston will work cheaper in exchange for a much-reduced work schedule and have McCoy replace Arthur Branch as head DA.

Matt said...

Well, we pretty much know Thompson won't be coming back, which cuts a not-insignificant salary chunk, and I'd bet Waterston would take that deal. The rest of the cast can't be that pricey, though. Remember that of the six regulars, 2 are new this year (de la Garza and Govich), 1 is clearly out the door (Thompson), and the other 3 aren't big huge stars.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But Merkerson and Waterston have been on the show for forever, and Jesse Martin's been around longer than you'd think, and SAG rules have these mandatory raises for each season you're on a show (above and beyond whatever you manage to renegotiate yourself). It's far cheaper and easier to clean house and start over with new people who have smaller starting-base contracts. It's the same reason John Wells was contemplating a Vinick or Santos-driven version of West Wing. Even though Alda and Smits are relatively big stars, they wouldn't cost remotely what Sheen was costing by the end of his run, and Brad Whitford would have been the only original character to continue (and then only if Santos won).

Dennis Wilson said...

None of the six L&O principals earn anywhere near SAG minimums, even in their first year on the show. For this program to be feasible on TNT, three things need to happen:

1. The weekly salary outlay for all actors including guest cast drops under six figures.
2. L&O swaps out its writing staff, one of the priciest in the biz.
3. Shooting moves to Canada.

Toby said...

"Fixed", the episode that had David Groh's character, Jacob Lowenstein, return as a parolee after being convicted in the episode "Indifference", had him mowed down in a hit and run. But Lowenstein didn't die until later in the episode, and if I remember correctly, he was able to answer questions from his hospital bed.

Lowenstein was one of those ripped from the headlines characters, based on Joel Steinberg.

Matt said...

Well, last night's episode promoted it not as a "series finale" or as a "finale" (which is frequently a weasel way), but simply as the "season finale." Of course, last night's episode also gives Waterston a plot thread that can be used to write him off effortlessly.

Even if the ratings continue at the same level, every episode of Law and Order gets syndication dollars automatically, and they repeat pretty well. Given how many problems NBC has and that they seem to have an almost entirely buzz-free development slate (aside from "Bionic Woman" and maybe "Lipstick Jungle"), I could see them keeping it around.

Andrew said...

Well, maybe someone could lure Michael Moriarty out of his cave with a hamburger on a string and trick him into coming back to the show.

Mac said...

Apparently both the mothership and CI have been renewed - though CI will air first on USA.

Blankity-Blank said...

On screen victim deaths have happened a lot, for all the different reasons listed. It happened just two weeks ago when the Reisen Russian came to the door. Sure, he was vomitting and already on his way, but stiil technically alive when we first saw him.

Anyway, it's all over now I guess, but I think the best way to save the show is to combine it with Criminal Intent and take on their rotating shifts routine. Drop Goren and Eames and get some new guys, promote Jack (although that entails him running a campaign, which seems unlike him), and demote Merkerson (she's established she can get herself in trouble) and team her with Green. This would really just be a way of getting Logan back on Original, which is all I'm after.

LAN3 said...

There was one back in the Logan/Briscoe days (okay, it was season 4, episode 16, "Big Bang,") in which the wife of a physics professor receives from the mailman a mail bomb intended for her husband, and we see the windows blow out as she opens it.

The plot enters the seamy underbelly of peer-reviewed high-energy/quantum physics experiments and journals, and Briscoe and Logan are also nearly irradiated by a cyclotron at one of NYC's many fictional yet pretigious universities.

Actually, most of the episodes involving bombing or fire will feature murder victims alive before the act. Nightclub fire episodes come to mind.

Fourth season, first episode. In reference to on occurance on the Morton Downey Jr. show, a shock-talk-show brings a prison-reformed pedophile to meet his victim, and the pedophile is killed on camera by the victim's father. Stone investigates the show's possibily complicity in the murder.

The question reminds me of Vincent D'Onofrio's superb performance on "Homicide: Life on the Streets" as a doomed man who was pushed in front of a subway car and who is pinched between the car and the platform, his body half alive and half twisted ruin. As soon as they move the train and pull him out, the loss of thoracic pressure will kill him in seconds, so the cops have a few hours to find his girlfriend (Meldrick may or may not have found her, but the woman ignores him) and of course to deal with the emotions associated with meeting their homicide victim while still alive.

I'd also point out that the pre-credits bits are often my favorite part of the show-- a few people being characteristic New Yorkers (or better still, visitors to NY) when they discover a body or the murder happens.

Oh, I just realized. At the start of the second season, Max Greevey is seen through a curtained window being executed in front of his home.