|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.
Along the way there were some truly horrible, cheap one-liners. My favorite: “If the STD's don't get you, the blunt force trauma will."
By the way, what is inherently L.A. about this storyline? Creator Dick Wolf has said this first season would go out of its way to make sure each episode was clearly about L.A. and its cultures.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are such good, real-life crime stories to fictionalize here in L.A. Why must this show overreach like this? The minds behind the “Law and Order” juggernaut tell us they rip their shows from the headlines. But episodes such as last nights are something altogether different and less satisfying. They are mutations and distortions so severe that the result is absurdity and foolishness.
Like a real sucker, I'll stick around. Maybe next week will be better.