Archive for October 7th, 2008

A break from the political

I was watching an episode of Law and Order last night, as is my routine — something about it comforts me, even when Sam Waterston is yelling — and I thought, “This time, they’ve just gone too far.”  While they often play fast and loose with the law (I think the police portion is the better part of the show), this was just over the top.  I missed the very beginning, but it seems a doctor had been murdered, but the police had figured out that it had been a mistake; the killer had meant to kill a different doctor.  Eventually this leads them to South Carolina and they discover that the intended doctor target had executed — by administering a lethal injection — prisoners who’d been sentenced to death.  So, they gathered, the doctor must have pissed off the family of one of these prisoners.  They somehow figure out the culpable one, but the doctor won’t admit that he’s an executioner since it’s not something that people often brag about and apparently there are (understandably) confidentiality rules in place to protect the identity of those who administer the injections.  Well, this is clearly a problem because now they can’t link the killer to the doctor, or at least not convincingly so.  They need his testimony!  So, what do they do?  Duh!  Obviously they charge him — in New York — with illegally adminstering injections — in South Carolina — because … ?  Oh, right, because the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the prisoners’ petitions for certiorari review, so carrying out the death sentence was premature.  WHAT?  I don’t think it takes a lawyer to figure out that that charge makes absolutely no sense.  Putting aside the obvious jurisdictional issue (which the show shirked by hanging its jurisdiction on the doctor’s license; espcially odd since they had made an earlier point that South Carolina doesn’t require its executioners to be doctors), what kind of crime is it to administer the lethal injection when the Supreme Court hasn’t finished its review?  I mean, sure, it’s completely wrong and it’s a slap in the face of the judicial system.  But where does this crime fit into the New York penal code?  Or, maybe the better question is, where in the world would NYC get its standing to bring such a charge?  Argh, it was so ridiculously bogus even I had to question the comfort I take in watching the show.

Which brings me to my next point.  This episode — on TNT, of course — was followed by a rerun of The Closer, the new-ish cop show with Kyra Sedgwick.  I’ve heard people talking smack about this show, but I don’t understand why.  I’m coming out of the closet on this: I think the show is really good.  I love that it’s actually a cop show.  The only real story we get aside from the crime at issue is about the main character, Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (she introduces herself, I’d say, several times an episode).  I think this is good.  I don’t want to know about every cop’s home life.  I think that that’s the quickest way to turn a cop show into a soap opera, ala NYPD Blue.  Obviously, some like the soap opera-esque shows — I know I do at times — but I also want some cop shows to be cop shows.  And I really think The Closer is.  The show focuses on a crime and the solving of it, which is mainly done by detailed police work + getting the culprit to confess, which is a pretty realistic take on the job, as far as I can tell.  Confessions really make things easier for prosecutors.  Generally.  Anyway, the other aspect I really like about it is that it features a really strong woman as the lead, who is frequently viewed as — if not outright called — a bitch.  I love it!  It’s so spot-on.  She’s not, of course, but because she’s unapologetically (despite her often saying, in her sing song-y way, that she’s so sorry) demanding and a woman, she’s often seen as such.  There’s something about this latter element that strikes me as really rare in television that I just relish it.

Ok, lay into me.  Tell me why you hate it.


October 2008

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