Last night saw the debut of the all-new, all-different Law & Order Los Angeles, and things have been shaken up a bit. If you haven't seen the double episode yet, or kept up with the show's major cast shake-ups, then you probably don't want to read this, although it's also a fair bet you don't spend a lot of time on the Internet. Here are the changes, and my opinion of whether each is a good thing or a bad thing.
Skeet Ulrich Is Dead
What the What? That's right, Ulrich's character, Detective Rex Winters, has been shot. Dead. In chasing down and prosecuting the Mexican gangbanger who massacred a family, Winters played it too tough and got gunned down in a drive-by. Luckily, his wife and child survived.
The Verdict: Thank God. Skeet Ulrich is not a very good actor, and as much as the writers tried to help him by giving him the detective-novel name "Rex Winters," his delivery was constantly wooden, and his pre-credits attempts to spout off Horatio Caine-esque one-liners always fell flat. Sorry, Skeet. May I call you Skeet?
Alfred Molina Is Now a Cop
What the What? While pursuing a conviction of the man behind Winters' murder, Molina's character -- Deputy District Attorney Ricardo Morales -- became so disillusioned at the political concessions being made to our Mexican neighbors that he quit his job. And went back to being a police detective. Apparently, he used to be a police detective.
The Verdict: Another smart move. By alternating him with the show's other DDA, Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard), we were only getting half of our recommended seasonal allowance of Molina; now, we get the talented actor every week, and at the top of the hour, too. Plus, the detective pairing gets a real elder statesman, recalling the glory days of Law & Order with Jerry Orbach. (Now all 35-year-old Corey Stoll needs to do is shave off Detective Jaruszalski's mustache. It'll make him look more his age.)
3. Alana De La Garza Is Back
What the What? Assistant D.A. Connie Rubirosa from Law & Order: Original Recipe (which was cancelled last year) is now Deputy D.A. after having moved out west to be with her sick mother. Junior D.D.A.s Evelyn Price and Lauren Stanton (Regina Hall and Megan Boone) are out.
The Verdict: Welcome back, Connie. Of all the cast members left in the wind when Original Recipe went under, Rubirosa had only been on the show a few seasons, and in a supporting role at that, making her the character who could have most easily continued the L&O legacy by transitioning to a new show. She's also a much better actress than Hall and Boone, especially when it comes to delivering legal jargon, and it doesn't hurt that she's more glamorous than both of them put together, which makes sense, this being Los Angeles.
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