'LAW & ORDER: TRIAL BY JURY' & 'LAW & ORDER' & 'DEADLINE'
The week isn't even over yet but we already know who'd be the Crossover of the Week. Fans of great TV characters would have known there was never any doubt....
The latest spin-off in the venerable 'Law & Order' franchise made its debut this week. 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' premiered with two episodes in its first week and both of them contained elements that linked it immediately to two other shows.
Obviously the flagship of the line, 'Law & Order', is one of those series for a number of reasons.
1] Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch is a regular cast member for the new show as well as the original, thus making him the Alexander Waverly of the new millennium. (Waverly was the man in charge on both 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' and 'The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.'.)
2] In the first episode, ADA Jack McCoy sat in on a bullpen session among the ADAs to map out strategy for the high-profile case.
3] In the second episode, we saw the return of former ADA Jamie Ross. She had returned once before to the main show as a defense attorney; but since then she had become a judge. And in portraying her as such, 'Trial By Jury' did the same thing as the finale of 'NYPD Blue' earlier in the week: it showed that even though they are no longer on our TV screens, TV characters have lives that continue to develop.
4] In both episodes, the trials were presided over by Judge Amanda Anderlee. She had been seen before in the TV Universe, and of course it was on 'Law & Order' in an episode in which she needed police protection during a very volatile case. (She may have been a character inspired by the real life Chicago judge who so tragically dominated the news this week. More on that in a later entry.)
5] And finally, these two episodes marked the final chances to see a legendary TV character in action. Detective Lennie Briscoe had retired from the NYPD at the 2-7 and was now working as an investiator for the D.A.'s office. He was pale and gaunt and couldn't speak above a whisper at times, but he still had the same brio and pithy wisecracks as he used to display in 'Law & Order' until the end of last season.
Sadly, an episode in the near future will mark the character's passing as actor Jerry Orbach himself passed away near the end of December.
As for the other TV show that could claim a link to 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury'?
Of course, it would be another Dick Wolf production. 'Deadline' was short-lived (It might have done better if he had found some way to stick 'Law & Order' in the title!), but its base of operations was the fictional newspaper the New York Ledger. The Ledger made many appearances over the years on all three of the other 'Law & Order' series, including 'Special Victims Unit' and 'Criminal Intent'.
Lately, I began to fear that the newspaper had been phased out of our 'L&O' memories, as mock-ups of the Post and the Daily News were being used instead. I was afraid Wolf didn't want any reminders that 'Deadline' had failed to snare an audience.
But in the second episode, defense attorney Mike LaSalle proudly held up a copy of the New York Ledger with its front page story blaring a big story about his cop-killer client. So that prop gave props to another show in Dick Wolf's corner of the TV Universe.
It would be interesting if some future episode of 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' had its ADAs go to the offices of the New York Ledger in preparation for a big case. The reason I say this is because ADA Tracy Kibre is an exact double for one of the editors at the Ledger, Nikki Marsucci.
And by an "amazing coincidence", both of them look like a psychologist in Boston named Lilith Sternin Crane......
While 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' establishes itself, more than likely other characters from the franchise will be making appearances on the show, just as they have done on each other shows already. But unless it has some kind of sensational value, more than likely these appearances won't be enough to grab the Crossover of the Week honors again. It's that "been there, done that" quality that makes these cameo appearances expected.
But who knows? Sooner or later, I'll come up a cropper crossovers and might have need of such a standby.
We shall see what the Great Link brings us.....