Thursday, April 24, 2008

McCoy the White

Overall, the revamped Law & Order is kind of terrible. They've restructured the opening to be more like Criminal Intent and less like the original formula where some bystander doing a great bit of business would happen upon the aftermath of a crime. And last night's farewell to Jesse Martin was terrible because it was so leading-character-driven. What is this, CSI? Part of the genius of Law & Order is that it's never actually about our protagonists. When Curtis or Briscoe left, it wasn't because they had become part of the story! (This didn't hold true for the ADA's, of course.)

All of that said, there was a small and very wonderful moment last night when we are told that Lenny didn't just leave, but that he later died. It's one of the only times I can ever remember an off-screen, real-life intrusion feeling perfectly natural and earned in a work of fiction.

And let's praise the amazing work of Sam Waterston as the new DA. In the service of reinvigorating the Jack McCoy role, Waterston has played him as almost an entirely different character. McCoy has shed his old manners and habits because he realizes that his office requires him to be more than himself. Waterston's job here calls to mind Ian McKellan's choices in transforming from Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White, where he chose to play them as almost two different characters.

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