UPDATE: Deadline commenters are so right: 2nd LOLA outing tonight was vastly improved story- and dialogue-wise. Plus, Terence Howard nailed it. That said, I do hope the next Hollywood plot will suck less…
Previous: Tonight is the 2nd episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles after the first one sucked. Following that unfortunate debut, Dick Wolf stopped by Kate Mantilini restaurant in Beverly Hills for breakfast and conversation with Los Angeles magazine about the series and the city. Look, I love all things Law & Order, and René Balcer, and the franchise’s writing and plotting. But LOLA reeked bigtime. Now I know why: here’s what Wolf said about his desire to have the show portray LA stereotypes: “It is the way of fruits and nuts. We are trying to fulfill an expectation of what LA is about. The first episode was very deliberate — it’s not going to be Hollywood every week, but I thought it really was the best way to introduce the show, to show that it was really different from the New York version.” Well, Dick, you thought wrong. That was precisely the problem with the first show, and I fear it’s going to be the problem with the series’ view of Hollywood as it pertains to LA: You can be cynical. You can be subversive. But, jeez, you just can’t be so obvious and boring. There wasn’t one thing in that first crapfest that didn’t insult my veteran LA resident’s intelligence.
More excerpts courtesy of the mag’s website:
On shadowing the LAPD for research: “I spent about a year going to crime scenes with an L.A. homicide detective which was really interesting and I learned a great deal. It’s sort of bizarre though, on Super Bowl Sunday I got a call that there was a murder in Bell…so I went down there, it was one of those apartments that was sort of a converted motel, and we went in – I beat the detectives there but there were two uniforms sitting in the living room of this motel suite watching the Super Bowl and the dead guy was in the closet wrapped up in telephone cord on his head, and he was watching the game too. It was an interesting moment in crime solving.”
On how LA cops and NYC cops are different: “If you took a 35-year-old NYPD patrolman and a 35-year-old LAPD patrolman, the LA guy looks like he could be in the Wehrmacht — razor-creased, stand-up straight. New York cops all look like they’ve got two-day hangovers. It’s a different rhythm, because New York is community policing and the LAPD is really a paramilitary organization by design. So its a very different rhythm on the street.”
On viewers’ familiarity with crime in NYC and LA: “I think that there is a decided cultural bias against both New York and L.A. across the country. It is Sodom and Gomorrah. Those two cities absolutely, to the rest of the country, represent the worst of America in many ways and that’s an advantage for us because good crime makes good television.”