Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I'm a guest on the Law & Order podcast "These Are Their Stories!"

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of Law & Order. My essay declaring Jack McCoy one of TV's greatest characters will attest to that, and I've been known to berate you to track down some of the best episodes of the series.

Thus, when I recently learned that there was a new podcast devoted to Law & Order called "These are Their Stories," my first thought was "How can I become a guest on this?" Fortunately, the creators of the podcast, true crime writers Rebecca Lavoie and Kevin Flynn were kind enough to oblige and booked me an episode from Season 18, the period of the show where Jack McCoy was the District Attorney of New York, and had to deal with an Executive Assistant DA named Michael Cutter who was even more of a maverick than Jack used to be. It's an under-appreciated era of the show, and while this episode in particular, "Tango" is not representative of that era at its best, I think we got a great conversation out of it.

If nothing else,  you can learn my favorite detective team in all the franchise, as well as my favorite legal team. I got the sense that at least one of those answers surprised the hosts.

Go here to listen to the episode. You can also download the episode here.

You can find the homepage for These Are Their Stories here.


  1. I listened to the whole podcast, and I must admit I could not be happier that when I heard your favorite detective and legal teams. There are also my favorite, for almost the same reasons as you do, and I don't know anyone sharing this opinion. I have read all of your articles about Law and Order, and I was once again happily surprised when I realized you also were a fan of McCoy, of the S5-10 area, and that some episodes you recommended also are some of my favorites.
    I must however admit that I may not be as much of a hardcore fan as you are, since I have heard of the show very recently : I have never seen an episode before season 5 or after season 12 (I don't know how much of a mistake that is, but I am afraid of not seeing McCoy as DA...) and I am far from having seen all of the episodes. I have just finished watching season 8 (my favorite), and I was wondering if you had (another) list of your favorite episodes, since I am now wondering what episodes I should watch next ? Thank you in advance !

    1. The thing about seasons 13-17 is that while there are a fair number of competent episodes, the number of undeniable classics become far less frequent. I had to pull up an episode guide to jog my memory of the best.

      Season 13:
      The Ring - Don't read anything about this one. Just watch it.

      Open Season - the murder of a defense attorney makes for a complicated prosecution when McCoy faces off against an old friend.

      Absentia - A witness to a crime turns out to be a long-missing fugitive.

      Couples - the 300th episode, focused mainly on the detectives.

      Season 14
      Bodies - a creepy serial killer story.

      C.O.D. - Jerry Orbach's final episode

      Season 15: Honestly, I barely remember any of these after looking at the synopsis.

      Season 16:
      "Red Ball" sounds vaguely familiar and compelling. The finale "Invaders" is one of the most intense L&O eps of the series's second decade.

      Season 17: I seriously don't remember any of these eps.

      I'll cover seasons 18-20 in a future comment.

    2. Having rewatched much of seasons 18-20, I can say that on average, the storytelling is much stronger. If you pick an ep at random, the odds favor you finding a good one, so consider this a guide to only the very best.

      Season 18: I'd suggest watching the season premiere, "Called Home," which introduces two new characters and establishes the new status quo.

      "Illegal" is one of the best of the McCoy-as-DA era, and a good example of them using him in a completely different way than Schiff. This is a MUST-WATCH. "Burn Card" sees off Detective Green, and the season finale "Excaliber" sets up some recurring threads for the next season or so.

      Season 19:
      "Knock Off" is a good mystery with some clever turns. "Illegitimate" is another case with a unique motive. "The Drowned and the Saved" is another good one where McCoy has real stakes in the case.

      Season 20:
      "Memo from the Dark Side" is essentially Jack vs. the Bush Administration. There's some fun stuff in "Reality Bites." "For The Defense" has another crooked Defense Atty. "Shotgun" features a good guest turn by Elliott Gould. "Fed" has a cameo from Detective Curtis. If you like Cutter, "Innocence" is a good use of his past. "Rubber Room" is a pretty good ep to go out on as the series finale.