I had never seen Law & Order before I went to college. As much as I love television, I never really watched much of it during my teen years. In fact, I did not watch all that much of it as a child (my television viewing was strictly limited when I was younger, as was my diet—which I would prefer to believe has nothing to do with the fact that I am now fairly obsessed with numerous television shows and no longer eat anything at all that I do not want to eat). Honestly, I am not even sure that I had heard of the show before I went to college.
My roommate* freshman year watched a lot of television. He set the television to be his alarm to wake up. He went to sleep with the television on. It was one while he did his homework. It was on when he was drinking in his bed and glowering at me from across the room. To someone who is unaccustomed to having a television on, this was an extremely distracting whole new world. My roommate and I had very few common interests, and most of the television that I saw that he watched did not interest me in the least (I had never seen Friends before; from what I could tell, I wasn’t missing much, no matter how fond I am of some of the actors). There were a few exceptions: Judging Amy, The 4400 (which he stopped watching because it was, and I quote: “weird as hell”), and Law & Order. I was pretty hooked on these, but especially on Law & Order.
From what I can tell, a lot of people who really enjoy Law & Order have been victims of something or another. I am no exception—my father is literally the worst person whom I have ever met. Watching fictional violent parents get prosecuted was a nice way to cope (it would be years before I actually discussed my childhood with a therapist and received the PTSD diagnosis). I enjoyed SVU, I love Law & Order: UK, and I even enjoyed Law & Order: LA after they got that lovely new intro and brought Alana de la Garza over from the canceled Law & Order to work as a Deputy District Attorney.
But original recipe Law & Order is just the best. Not the first few seasons (which are devoid of female characters and present some very alarming attitudes), but after Anita Van Buuren becomes a character, everything improves. The show was awesome—there’s a reason for which it ran for twenty years.
The final season (featuring my favorite ADA of the series, played by Alana de la Garza) included one episode which I found so very upsetting that I did not watch any more of the season until the series finale. ‘Dignity’ (the fifth episode of the twentieth season) is about a late-term abortion provider who is shot and killed in a church (having survived a previous shooting).
There is one moment in the trial (the murderer decides to put late-term abortion itself on trial, and the lead prosecutor—for whom …