It's October and the big event for this month has always been Halloween. 'Bewitched' and especially 'Roseanne' always had episodes centered around the "holiday" just as other shows celebrated Christmas.
This year, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame is paying tribute to the cast of 'Law & Order' in memory of the late Jerry Orbach. And with October's entry, we wanted to induct a character who might suggest the spirit of Halloween.
In the past, the inductee in October has usually been a monster of some sort - Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein's Monsters, Lee Harvey Oswald.
The 'L&O' character I have in mind for induction could conceivably be cast as the Frankenstein monster in some future production. And there's something about him that might strike fear in a little kid that might stumble across him in a darkened alley - that deep voice, the bald head, the sombre manner....
Dr. Emil Skoda.
Hell, even that name summons up images of Dracula's Castle!
So, it's with good-natured ribbing that we're inducting the psychologist who works for the District Attorney's office into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
Dr. Emil Skoda has appeared in about 42 episodes of 'Law & Order', the main show in the franchise. In the beginning, he alternated with earlier inductee Dr. Olivet, but when she lost favor with ADA Jack McCoy, Dr. Skoda was called upon almost exclusively.
The cops at the 'Special Victims Unit' have had occasion to call on his services as well, even though they usually have Dr. George Huang available. He's appeared in at least six episodes of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'.
He also appeared in an episode of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', but apparently never got the chance to show up in either 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' or in 'Conviction'. (By that time in the career of the actor who played him, JK Simmons was deeply involved in filming 'The Closer' out in Los Angeles.)
But there is an episode of a TV show in which we might assume that Simmons was appearing as Dr. Skoda, even if it was on another network.
In 'New York Undercover', Simmons played a psychologist in the episode "Mob Street" (February 12th, 1998). (Two years earlier, he played Sgt. Treadway in the episode "Unis".)
'New York Undercover' was broadcast on the FOX network, but it was a production by the Ubermeister of the 'Law & Order' franchise, Dick Wolf. And Dr. Olivet appeared on the show in an episode as well. So it is an established part of the franchise, whether the two networks like it or not.
So I'm thinking it's safe to consider that psychologist played by JK Simmons to be Dr. Skoda.
So Happy Halloween to our latest member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!
And since we've hit the half-way mark for the year, we'll start running the complete list of the 2006 inductees so far......
January - Lennie Brisco
February - Anita Van Buren
March - Donald Cragen
April - Mike Logan
May - Jamie Ross
June - Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
B'day Honors - Faith Yokas
July - Rey Curtis
August - Ed Green
September - Dick Wolf
October - Dr. Emil Skoda