Most people that know me know that Law & Order is my jam. Not SVU, or Criminal what have you, or any other iteration or spinoff Dick Wolf dreamt up for the purposes of expanding the brand above and beyond any creator’s wildest machinations. I’m talking about the original. The one he purposed to outlive Gunsmoke’s legacy in the annals of television history. This is a show I can watch repeatedly, love richly, and apparently one I can understand in any language.
There were two American TV shows I watched while living in Italy, both dubbed entirely in Italian. One was Life Goes On (a story for another day), the other was Law & Order. I would sit in the TV watching room in that little apartment in Arezzo tied to my home country by one thing – Jack FREAKING McCoy. His passionate closing arguments, whiskey drinking ways, the soft sweep of such a perfect head of hair, oh, and the Big Apple backdrop, had me homesick. It’s truly what kept me connected whilst over an ocean away.
Now my sister, a lawyer, has told me for years that Law & Order is not the real deal. That it is an inaccurate depiction of the way things work. For example, there are no such objections as “prejudicial”. She says all answers to the questions being objected to are in fact anticipated to be “prejudicial” which is why they are being objected to, but the bottom line is that that answer being potentially problematic for opposing counsel is not a valid reason for the formal protest. Regardless, sitting on that red futon with the cool Tuscan tile beneath my feat watching Jack McCoy passionately stand up and declare “Obiezione!!! Pregiudizievole!!!” … I understood and I felt home.
Through the years, I have put a lot of stock in my comprehension of how our judicial system works using Law & Order as my model to do so. And when I received my jury summons, I was so excited that I’d finally be able to do my civic duty by showing up, book in hand, ready to spend my day with other Atlanta area folks offering their time and life experience in service to their country. I knew I wouldn’t be picked to be on the actual jury. I mean, I wouldn’t pick me and if you’ve met me, you likely wouldn’t pick me either. I was just happy to be there with my fellow Americans, proud to see fair and balanced hard at work.
90 minutes in, I was entering the jury box and taking an oath.
Let’s just say Law & Order is was not.
to be continued …