Category: Law & Order: Los Angeles

NBC cancels 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'


NBC has canceled "Law and Order: Los Angeles," sources close to the show said.

Things hadn’t been looking so sunny for the series. The network placed "LOLA" on hiatus after eight episodes in order for the latest spin-off in the “Law & Order” franchise to undergo a creative revamp, which meant doing away with actors Skeet Ulrich, Regina Hall and Megan Boone, and making Terrence Howard a regular on the show. But despite the changes, ratings failed to pick up steam.

NBC will unveil its fall schedule during a presentation Monday in New York.


PHOTOS: 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'

'Law & Order: Los Angeles': For Whom the Bell Tolls

Critic's Notebook: A new order in 'Law & Order: L.A.'

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Alfred Molina in "Law & Order: Los Angeles" Credit: NBC

'Law & Order: Los Angeles': For Whom the Bell Tolls

Lola It was a nice convergence of Hollywood and the real world: On the same day the Los Angeles Times hauled in a Pulitzer Prize for exposing (alleged) breathtaking corruption by public officials running Bell, one of the small satellite cities that ring L.A., "LO:LA" took a go with a fictionalized version of the sadly nonfiction story.

By the way, how do the lawyers at NBC let "Law & Order" get away with that ridiculous disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, in which the claim is that the characters on the show do not depict actual people?  Granted, there are no dead bodies in the real-life story (none that we know about  yet, at least), but I’m guessing there is a disgraced ex-police chief, ex-city manager and ex-others from the little city of Bell that might disagree after seeing last night’s episode.

I digress. The episode took us to the make-believe land of East Pasadena, where public officials have been running a smooth little shakedown scam on landscapers, plumbers and other contractors. A new employee finds out about the hustle and, in short order, ends up dead. After a brief detour focusing on the employee’s boyfriend, Morales and Jaruszalski get wise to the shenanigans in the bucolic, white picket fence community.

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'Law & Order: Los Angeles' recap: A kinky killer in women’s underwear (or how 'LO:LA' found its groove)

Skeet Isn’t there some cliché about there not being any second chances in show business? 

Well, Dick Wolf certainly needed one. After a thoroughly disappointing first few months of “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” Wolfe dragged his show back into the workshop for some serious work under the hood. 

Word of changes was quick in coming. Most notably: Skeet Ulrich (who, for my money, had done admirably with dialogue and plots that at times were so abysmal they bordered on the, well, criminal) would be axed, while Alfred Molina, who had played a deputy district attorney, would somehow transition into being a detective.

And, then, we waited. What were they doing all those months? Did Wolf & Co. scrap all the episodes they presumably had in the can and start from scratch with their new lineup? Or, was a team of editors frantically trying to splice new footage with old to make some weird Prime Time Frankenstein?  Whatever the case, I for one wasn’t confident that any amount of tinkering could save the show from itself and its writers’ seemingly uncontrollable need to stuff as many Los Angeles clichés and stereotypes as possible into each episode.

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Dick Wolf says Skeet Ulrich's exit from 'Law & Order: L.A.' was 'very painful'

Dick Wolf, the creator of the "Law & Order" franchise, has seen more than his share of actors come and go from his dramas. But his decision to remove Skeet Ulrich from "Law & Order: L.A." was particularly hard.Dickwolf

"Sometimes someone has to die so that everyone else can live," Wolf said during a conference call to promote the April 11 return of the drama, which has been off NBC's schedule since last November. "It was a very, very painful call to make."

Wolf continually praised Ulrich, who was the first actor cast for the Los Angeles version of the landmark police/legal drama. Ulrich, who played a homicide detective, was one of the leads of the ensemble series.

But Wolf and Bob Greenblatt, NBCUniversal's new president of entertainment, agreed that the series was not living up to expectations, and that changes had to be made. Greenblatt told Wolf that the first half of the hour, which concentrates on the police investigation of the crime, was "not clicking."

Part of the problem was the rush to get the series on the air in time for the fall schedule. Wolf said some hasty decisions were made.

Greenblatt was also concerned about the handling of Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, who appeared in alternating episodes as deputy district attorneys. Greenblatt was bothered that "we had two world-class movie actors who we were only seeing half the time."

When "LOLA" (the informal name for "Law & Order: L.A.") returns, Molina, who plays deputy district attorney Ricardo Morales, will return to the police force as a detective. Molina and Howard, who plays Jonah Dekker, will now appear in each episode.

Wolf said the rhythm of the series "is different and better." He added that he would gladly work with Ulrich again in a situation that was a better fit for the actor. 

Said Wolf, "When something isn't working, it's my fault."

--Greg Braxton

NBC announces summer schedule

L&ocriminalintent This summer on NBC, it’s the end of an era for “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and the continuation of the search for the next “Voice.”

The peacock network unveiled its summer schedule. Some familiar favorites — “The Marriage Ref,” "America’s Got Talent” — return, but the following are among its new offerings: the musical competition series “The Voice,” new game show “Still Standing” (working title), based on the Israeli series of the same title, which sees 10 components competing in 10 fast-paced and dramatic trivia battles, “Love in the Wild,” an adventure dating series (think "The Bachelor" meets "Amazing Race")  and “It’s Worth That?,” a game show hosted by comedian Cedric “The Entertainer” that sees a pair of contestants tasked with discerning the price of items.

And after being off the air for four months, “Law & Order: Los Angeles” returns April 11, with episodes bleeding into summer.

Here’s the full slate:

-- “America’s Got Talent” returns for its sixth season on Tuesday, May 31 (9-11 p.m.)
-- “The Marriage Ref” returns for its second season on Sunday, June 26 (10-11 p.m.).
-- “The Voice” will have a two-hour premiere April 26 and will subsequently air Tuesdays (8-9 p.m.) through June.
--The final season of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" will begin airing Monday, May 30 (9-10 p.m.)
-- “Law & Order: Los Angeles” will air Mondays, 10-11 p.m.
--The last season of “Friday Night Lights” (Fridays, 8-9 p.m.) also continues well into the summer.
-- “Still Standing” days and times TBA
-- “Love in the Wild” days and times TBA

-- Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe as Dets. Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames. Credit: NBC

'Law & Order Los Angeles' to base episode on Ronni Chasen murder [Updated]

Ronnie NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is currently filming an episode based on the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.

The episode, titled "Benedict Canyon," revolves around the slaying of a Hollywood stylist in what initially seems like a robbery gone bad. The case turns out to be a murder for hire, propelled by dark family secrets from the past.

The installment, which will likely air in May, features JoBeth Williams as the mother of the victim, and Jeff Fahey as a suspect.

Spokespeople for the series stressed that the episode, like all installments in the "Law & Order" franchise, is fiction.

Chasen, a respected industry publicist, was killed Nov. 16 as she drove home on Sunset Boulevard from the Hollywood premiere of "Burlesque." Police described the murder as a botched robbery committed by a petty crook, who they identified as Harold Martin Smith. He committed suicide when police attempted to question him.

-- Greg Braxton

[UPDATED at 4:13 pm] "Law & Order: Los Angeles" returns to NBC on April 11 with a two-hour installment at 9 p.m. The series will regularly air on Mondays at 10 p.m.

Photo: Ronni Chasen. Credit: Chasen & Co.


Alana de la Garza goes from 'Law & Order' to 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'

Alana de la Garza, who played Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa on "Law & Order," will soon bring the character from the East Coast to the West Coast.

De la Garza is joining the cast of "Law & Order: Los Angeles." She will make her first appearence later in the season.

The actress first joined the New York-based "mothership" of the "Law & Order" franchise on 2006. The series was canceled last year.

-- Greg Braxton

'Law & Order: Los Angeles' takes a break from NBC [Updated]

Skeet1 "Law & Order: Los Angeles," the West Coast revamp of the landmark New York-based "Law & Order" franchise, had been scheduled to return to NBC on Feb. 8 following a hiatus of more than two months. But the series will be off the air for a bit longer.

Back in November, NBC announced that starting in February,"Law & Order: Los Angeles" would run on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.,  when"Parenthood" had been airing. Now NBC says that "Parenthood" will stay in that slot for the remainder of the season. [Updated on Jan. 19 at 2:00 p.m.: A previous version of this post mistakenly mentioned "Parenthood" previously airing on Monday nights; it has been corrected.]

Executives said "Law & Order: Los Angeles," which is informally known as "LOLA," will return to the prime-time slate on a date yet to be determined. They added they are pleased with the ratings for "LOLA," which has been one of the few new highlights of NBC's schedule.

The drama remains in production, filming two more episodes featuring Skeet Ulrich in his lead role as a police detective. Ulrich will then leave the series, and the character played by Alfred Molina -- a deputy district attorney -- will move to the detective squad. 

The network also noted that the competition series "America's Next Great Restaurant" will premiere March 6 instead of the previously set March 16. "The Marriage Ref," which was scheduled to return for its second season March 6, will come back to the schedule at a later date.

---Greg Braxton

Photo: Skeet Ulrich in "Law & Order: Los Angeles." Credit: Dean Hendler / NBC



Skeet Ulrich and Megan Boone to leave 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'

Skeet Ulrich and Megan Boone, who star in NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles," are leaving the series, insiders said.

No official reason was given for the departure of the performers. NBC and the show's producers declined comment.

Ulrich, who plays a police officer on the series, was the first performer cast for the West Coast version of the landmark New York-based franchise. Boone plays an assistant district attorney.

-- Greg Braxton

Photo: Skeet Ulrich on "Law & Order: Los Angeles"/Credit: NBC


'Law and Order: Los Angeles' recap: The object of my objection

If the relationship between us viewers and our TV shows is something akin to the tie that binds lovers, I think I’m in an abusive relationship.

At times during this first season of “Law and Order: Los Angeles,” the show has treated me well. Nothing great –- and certainly not what I dream of when I dream of the perfect crime show (oh, “The Wire,” why did you leave?) -- but good enough to leave me feeling like I was in something worthwhile.

But then come episodes such as last night’s. They leave me cursing and crying at the screen, and making promises to myself that I won’t let this show ever hurt me like this again.

The episode was some distorted, alternate-universe riff on the Tiger Woods sex scandal. As in other failed episodes, this one tried to do way too much and the result was a muddled plot delivered by underdeveloped, unconvincing characters. Without wading into the details, let’s just leave it at this: A sex-addicted pro golfer with a penchant for foursomes (GET IT? Hilarious!), a high-end cocktail waitress who pretends to be a lesbian but really is in love with the golfer, the golfer’s evil, gold-digging wife who keeps quiet about his infidelities in exchange for cash, and the couple’s teenage son who has a serious anger-management issue mix it up with Rex, TJ, Dekker and the rest of the LO:LA team as they try to figure out how a gay female golfer ended up with her head bashed in.

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'Law and Order: Los Angeles': Like 'CSI' but better

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" took on a big one last night, making fiction out of Los Angeles’ Grim Sleeper, a serial killer targeting young black women in South Los Angeles for decades.

It was an ambitious gambit.  Trying to condense a case of that scope into an hour of TV can’t be easy.  And,  as seems to be their way, the show’s writers weren’t content sticking to the strict contours of the real case and needed to add a few fictionalized twists and turns of their own.

All in all, I thought it was entertaining enough.  With so much to tell in such a short period, however, I felt at times as if I were watching "CSI," as DNA tests and results that take months in real life were resolved in seconds with a click of a computer mouse.  

Also, Deputy Dist. Attny. Dekker’s horse is getting a little too high for me.  All those morality speeches, delivered in that breathy sotto voce, are wearing thin.   

(For those interested, Christine Pelisek, then of the LA Weekly, tore the lid off the real Grim Sleeper story here .  My colleagues and I wrote several pieces on the case as well. (See: "Grim Sleeper: How LAPD followed the DNA to an arrest " and "DNA leads to arrest in Grim Sleeper killings.") 

-- Joel Rubin


'Law and Order: Los Angeles': equal-opportunity killing

After two weeks dark (travel, flu, blah, blah), Showtracker’s LO:LA coverage is back.

That said, I’m slammed by my other job writing about the real life LAPD and so have to keep this short and sweet.

Wednesday night’s episode brought us off dry land to one of the many unsightly drilling rigs that dot the Pacific — Big Oil’s gift to beach-going.  The battered body of a rig worker has washed up on shore, and Winters and TJ set off on a dinghy to find out who dunnit.

I’ll say this: After some truly terrible, heavy-handed episodes, this one really clicked.  The writing was tight, the police work believable, and the interesting story-line didn’t try to pack in too much (a problem in past episodes).

I got a bit nervous in the show’s second half, when the action turned to the courtroom and the writers  brought us on a jarring detour into the fight over illegal immigration.  They more or less salvaged things when DDA Dekker brought the hammer down and sealed up another conviction, although the killer’s soliloquy was a bit over the top.  We get it — it’s tough to be a woman in man’s oil-rigged world.

Here’s my persistent disappointment with the show: We haven’t been told anything about the detectives and attorneys who are keeping this fictional L.A. safe each week. They simply show up every Wednesday for an hour, do their jobs and then disappear.  Like the real cops and prosecutors they’re imitating, these people would be much more interesting to follow, the show more compelling,— if we had some sense of who they are — the families they go home to at night, the crosses they bear, etc. (Forgive me if I missed something the past two episodes, but the only tantalizing exception to this that I can remember was the first or second episode when briefly we meet Rex’s wife, an ex-cop.)

-- Joel Rubin


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