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

November 11, 2010 |  1:34 pm

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