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Lennie Briscoe Was NOT Great: Unpopular Opinions

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This is the place to safely confess the L&O-related opinions that you've found in your experience to be unpopular! A few of mine:

 

1) I've always loved Original Recipe L&O a million times more than either SVU or Criminal Intent. 

2) I genuinely liked Elisabeth Rohm/Serena Southerlyn, unintentionally hilarious "Is this because I'm a lesbian?!" debacle aside :) 

3) Yes, Jack can be a complete jerk...but I think he's a great character anyway. And I sort of love the (mercifully subtle!) Jack/Claire pairing.  

4) Despite (because?!) being so obnoxious, I think Arthur Branch injected an interesting new energy into the show that really worked for me. 

5) This sounds bizarre to say about a show that ran for so long and is so well known, but I actually think this show is kind of underrated. It's so often dismissed as 'just a procedural,' but I'm always amazed all over again at the tight plotting, smooth pacing, thought-provoking ethical issues, witty one-liners, generally stellar acting, and insights about everything from our justice system to human nature in general. Many of the so-called 'prestige' dramas fall far short of L&O's standards, IM(U)O. 

 

...and despite this show airing a million times a day, I'm dying to buy the DVds anyway :) 

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I didn't hate Rey Curtis.

 

Man, it feels good to actually type that.

 

I did not dislike Claire at all, but I was for the most part so unimpressed with her that I seriously hoped TPTB would choose a male actor to succeed Jill Hennessy. Stone, McCoy, and Schiff kept me watching until Jamie Ross came along and stole my heart.

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I didn't hate Rey Curtis.

 

Me neither! I actually liked him for the most part and thought he was a nice contrast to Lennie in many ways...and, yes, I'm shallow enough to have enjoyed Curtis just a little more than I might have otherwise because he happened to be played by the supremely handsome Benjamin Bratt :) 

 

The more I watch, the more I actually like the Rohmbot. It helps that I think there were actually some really well-written and compelling (and underrated!) episodes during her seasons. 

 

A lot of people mention loving Law and Order despite the show not focusing heavily on the characters or their personal lives, but I actually think that's a major reason why the show worked so well. And given how writers have ruined my once favorite characters, I actually kind of love that we just got some intriguing glimpses into their lives, vulnerabilities and backgrounds and each got to cheerfully fanwank the rest as we saw fit :) 

Edited by amensisterfriend
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Me neither! I actually liked him for the most part and thought he was a nice contrast to Lennie in many ways...and, yes, I'm shallow enough to have enjoyed Curtis just a little more than I might have otherwise because he happened to be played by the supremely handsome Benjamin Bratt :) 

 

The more I watch, the more I actually like the Rohmbot. It helps that I think there were actually some really well-written and compelling (and underrated!) episodes during her seasons. 

 

A lot of people mention loving Law and Order despite the show not focusing heavily on the characters or their personal lives, but I actually think that's a major reason why the show worked so well. And given how writers have ruined my once favorite characters, I actually kind of love that we just got some intriguing glimpses into their lives, vulnerabilities and backgrounds and each got to cheerfully fanwank the rest as we saw fit :) 

 

I didn't particularly LIKE Rey (for many of the same reasons a lot of people really don't like him), but I thought that his virtues and flaws countered each other nicely. He did get plenty of comeuppance for his sanctimonious attitude at times and he took a major header from grace a time or two. He just seemed pretty real to me, just like many of the other characters from seasons 1-14 and then 17-20. I really enjoyed watching how the relationship evolved between him and Lennie and him and Van Buren.

 

Being said, I do cackle at some of the more creative nicknames you wonderful people have come up with for him. "His Holiness" was COINED for Rey Curtis during his high horse moments.

 

I'm going to have to watch some more of the Rohm years again. At the time, I just thought the show was getting way too preachy and Foghorn was even more of a caricature of everything everyone hates about conservatives than His Holiness (see? I may like Rey, but I like making fun of him too!) ever was and even Jack McCoy was turning into the same sort of caricature on the opposite end. By chance, I happened upon a video from Comic-Con probably not long after Jerry Orbach's death in which she was asked by a fan to share a memory or two of Jerry and I think she gave a really philosophical answer about what she'd learned from working with actors like Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston. And she gets major brownie points by leading off with, "Oh, you're going to make me cry," when talking about Jerry. And I enjoyed her as Kate Lockley on "Angel," so I think it had to be the character and the show at the time she was on.

 

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I hate Jamie Ross. Hate her with the passion of a thousand suns. Between her and Jack (who normally I like) the sanctimonious disdain for humanity gets turned up so high I can barely watch. So many "anything to win, ethics and law be damned. And if you get caught between our two massive egos and senses of entitlement then fuck you!" I was so glad to see her go.

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I didn't hat Rey either, I also didn't think he was self-righteous, He was opinionated sure, but hell, so was everyone else.

 

My favorite DA was Branch. I thought he was a good balance with others.

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4) Despite (because?!) being so obnoxious, I think Arthur Branch injected an interesting new energy into the show that really worked for me. 

 

I really liked crotchety old Arthur, who I considered a vast improvement over the dyspeptic Adam. Arthur's fractiousness was a perfect contrast to Jack's tendency to be self-righteous, and he wasn't shy about telling McCoy to can it. I didn't know that was unpopular.

 

As for the ADAs, its a tie between Abbie and Serena. It would have been Paul Robinette, but I did not appreciate the complete one-eighty the writers foisted on him.

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Is it unpopular to really love Lupo? I always liked the guy, but while rewatching episodes he's in danger of becoming one of my many TV boyfriends. I actually think the last few seasons were surprisingly great...and this is coming from someone who will always love and miss Lennie.  

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I love Lupo!  He was like a reincarnation of Goren without the depression, weight gain, and unrealistic intelligence.  Logan will always rule my heart and my loins.

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Can we add that Lupo is also less of a condescending ass and that Jeremy Sisto's line delivery didn't drive me nearly as crazy as Vincent D.'s?! But, yes, ITA and think that's a perfect description---Lupo gives the impression of being a deep thinking, deep feeling, intelligent guy who's fighting some inner demons. I actually loved his chemistry with both Ed Green and Kevin Bernard. 

 

While I'm here and admitting an unpopular love for the show's last seasons, I should probably mention that I've developed a mild girl crush on Connie Rubirosa. 

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Goren is everything people say he is, but he wasn't cookie cutter, and I loved it. I think it could have been cool if Goren and Lupo had to work together on something, to see how two intelligent guys, yet so very different, could have worked. Both also did have a military background, too.

 

In terms of UOs...while I did like Lupo and Bernard, I don't think they had the greatest of partner chemistry together. And I LOVED Van Buren, but I also wish Cragen could have stuck around on the Mothership somehow since SVU drove me crazy a lot of the time.

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Cragen did not deserve Bensaon and Stabler. I kept wanting the mothership to swoop in and rescue him

 

Lupo was kind of Goren light, meaning I did like him (I cannot say the same about Goren). And also as much as I love the early season cast, I gotta say, I do like the last cast. And I really liked Anthony Anderson.

 

 

It would have been Paul Robinette, but I did not appreciate the complete one-eighty the writers foisted on him.

This did not happen. There was no Pod Paul.

 

I think my least favorite cop was Fontana.  No wait, it was the beauty queen, whatever her name was. That character decision made no sense. At least I got Fontana (and Farina). What exactly was the point of her?

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Here's a UO.

Once Briscoe hit the scene, Mike Logan became completely superfluous for me. I liked him, but Briscoe entertained me from hello.

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Lupo lovers unite! :) I actually think he may be my second favorite detective after Lennie---yes, even above Logan!  

 

Another UO is that I actually somewhat liked Fontana. He's not a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed him more often than not.

 

Even more unpopularly: After rewatching, Claire just wasn't quite as awesome for me as I'd recalled. I'm loving Connie far more than I'd remembered, though, so it all levels out :) 

Edited by amensisterfriend
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I adored Lupo. He was good with Bernard, but I really loved his brief partnership with Green. They were great together.

Add me to the Lupo love train. There was just something about the guy.

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I contributed here, so I'm just as much to blame - bad mod! - but let's get back to unpopular opinions here.  :-)

 

Thanks a bunch!

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As much as I love calm and cool Ben Stone, I also love Jack McCoy in all his self-righteous glory. I didn't always agree with him, but more often than not, when he cross-examines someone on the stand I find myself saying "Get em, Jack!" I love me a good Jack McCoy smackdown...

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I'm rewatching earlier seasons and am surprising myself by just how much I love Phil and the Phil/Logan dynamic. I know this is blasphemous, but in its own way it's just as great as Logan/Lennie to me.  

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Can we add that Lupo is also less of a condescending ass and that Jeremy Sisto's line delivery didn't drive me nearly as crazy as Vincent D.'s?!

 

Eh. I would rather be condescended to by Goren while he's listing to port than have to deal with Lupo and his stupid knitted cap.[/petty]

Edited by Cobalt Stargazer
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I hate, hate, HATE (did I mention hate?) Abbie and her raspy, self-righteous, know-it-all shit spewing.  *WHEW* that feels good!

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I love my Lennie Briscoe, but I liked his predecessor, Phil Cerreta, too.

Phil was great. As was Max before him and Lennie after him. I was never a huge fan of their shared partner.

Edited by katie9918
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What?! You don't like Mike Logan? Is there a reason? The aching, elemental woman side of me cannot fathom.

It's not that I didn't like him. He was just kind of there for me. I liked him enough to follow him to Criminal Intent and to watch Exiled more than once, but I didn't really fall in love with any of the detectives until Lennie showed up.

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I liked Nora Lewin. I liked how she worked w/Abby and Jack. Plus she delivered some great snark, particularly to Jack.

I liked her too. I liked that she would actually "deliberate" about certain issues before announcing a decision, like when she didn't immediately call for the death sentence on the teenage leader of that group of kids who ambushed the guy who owned/was delivering from the Chinese restaurant, took the food they ordered without paying for it, & killed him. She read all the appropriate cases in the law books, thought about it on her own awhile, & talked to the "Senior Staff", including Abbie & Jack, about it before announcing the DA's office would seek the death penalty. In my opinion, Adam Schiff probably would've just automatically chosen the death penalty.

I also liked Nora because she wasn't as grumpy as Adam Schiff, she at least sort of came off like she seemed to realize the DA's had lives outside the office (whereas Adam Schiff seemed to get nuts if his DA's weren't living at the office, even Jamie Ross when her ex was filing for custody modifications because he disliked how much she worked, or whatever), & because she seemed quicker to tell Judges when she felt they were acting inappropriately, & threaten them with going to the Disciplinary Committee over it. She was a no nonsense lawyer, but she had more of a heart & more humanity than Adam Schiff seemed to.

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Good thread!

 

I'll try to stick to what I think are UOs:

 

I could *not* stand Abby.  Not *ever*.   I thought Angie Harmon was a dreadful actress, and Abby's snide, insubordinate attitude towards her superiors would have gotten her fired in a week in real life.  To me that's bad writing as well.

 

I thought Jamie was great, not only was she cool and intelligent, but I thought Carey Lowell made the most of some of the most moving episodes to me.  Like the one where she has to convict her goofy friend Charlie of murder and feels guilty for doing the right thing, and also "Disappeared" where she promises the brother of the mentally ill murderer she will not seek the death penalty if the brother gives them information, and fulfills the promise in court by putting the brother on the stand at sentencing.

 

I know a lot of people love Jack, but I couldn't stand any episode where he put the victim at risk in order to win the case - like the one where the wife had a bullet in her brain and he had it removed to prove the husband killed her.   The wife died.

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Unpopular here, it seems, but I love Jack. I love his blazing fury and his anti-authority streak. It took me a long while to find DAs I liked that much and I only got them in SVU: Novak and Barba.

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Not so unpopular.  I love Jack!  I was surprised to find so much Ben Stone love on here (though I don't have any problems with him).  Jack was the EADA when I started watching, and like you say, he's a bit of a Don Quixote sometimes.  I actually got to steal my favorite closing from one of his cases and use it in real life (from Gunshow.)  (Not with bullets.)

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Ben Stone will always have my heart, but I have a soft spot for Jack too despite how often he crossed the line.

I never warmed to Abby, but Jamie's grown a lot on me in repeats.

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I loved Phil Cerreta. I remember when Paul Sorvino was leaving the show, my sister and I were heartbroken (we had watched the show from the beginning), and we were a bit annoyed at the new actor they brought on to replace him. The irony of being annoyed at the arrival of Jerry Orbach's Lennie Briscoe still makes me chuckle.

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I loved Phil Cerreta. I remember when Paul Sorvino was leaving the show, my sister and I were heartbroken (we had watched the show from the beginning), and we were a bit annoyed at the new actor they brought on to replace him. The irony of being annoyed at the arrival of Jerry Orbach's Lennie Briscoe still makes me chuckle.

 

This is unpopular?

 

I loved Phil as well.  I believe one of the reasons, if not the main reason he left was, because Cerreta sings Opera, and the cold, harsh winters were hell on his throat.  Hey, that's what Dan Florek and Michael Moriarty said in the Season Two or was it three, dvd special features!

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I edited the thread from "Lenny Briscoe" to "Lennie Briscoe" as I am super anal retentive and IMDB and Wikipedia (as do links in articles from NBC), spell it as "Lennie".  :-)

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I don't know if this is unpopular per se, but I go looking to see which season is in repeats currently, because I'm hoping to see some good Mike Cutter episodes.  I thought Linus Roache was brilliant in his too-brief stint as EADA.  I still think a lot of people didn't get the chance to find out how good he was.

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I can't look at the title of this thread without experiencing cognitive dissonance.  I'm watching that episode with the school shooting and Abbey right now ("School Daze") and I can't with Nora at all.  Her not understanding why a rich white kid shouldn't get preferential treatment is astonishing, particularly since she came from academia, where studies about various types "disparity" in the criminal justice system are done.  (Don't get me wrong--there are some.  But studies showing tall people get better deals, for example, are just nuts!)

 

I'm not sure if being frustrated with Nora is an unpopular opinion or not.

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I'm typing from my phone so I can't quote the both of you, but I believe NOT liking Mike Cutter and NOT being frustrated or disliking Nora aren't unpopular!

Based on the many comments I've posted and read in this forum.

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I can't look at the title of this thread without experiencing cognitive dissonance.  I'm watching that episode with the school shooting and Abbey right now ("School Daze") and I can't with Nora at all.  Her not understanding why a rich white kid shouldn't get preferential treatment is astonishing, particularly since she came from academia, where studies about various types "disparity" in the criminal justice system are done.  (Don't get me wrong--there are some.  But studies showing tall people get better deals, for example, are just nuts!)

 

I'm not sure if being frustrated with Nora is an unpopular opinion or not.

 

On a related note, Teenage Wasteland is on Sundance right now, and while I understand Nora's reluctance to seek the death penalty for an eighteen year old boy, I can't agree with it. This kid and his friends killed that deliveryman for no other reason than to keep from being identified to the police, and he had a prior history of violence. I think if someone had intervened before then, gotten him whatever help he needed, it might have been prevented, but after he helped deliberately murder someone, he deserved what he got.

 

Also, Abbie with glasses? Rowr.

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On a related note, Teenage Wasteland is on Sundance right now, and while I understand Nora's reluctance to seek the death penalty for an eighteen year old boy, I can't agree with it. This kid and his friends killed that deliveryman for no other reason than to keep from being identified to the police, and he had a prior history of violence. I think if someone had intervened before then, gotten him whatever help he needed, it might have been prevented, but after he helped deliberately murder someone, he deserved what he got.

 

Also, Abbie with glasses? Rowr.

Word to both.  I was unable to summon any pity whatsoever for his mother because even faced with all those prior acts, the mother was still in blatant denial, saying that he was a "good boy" and yet despite all that support, was too much of a weak-willed ninny to actually do anything about it before he wound up murdering someone.

 

The same case with "School Daze": Nora could hem and haw about not wanting to seek the full charges for a kid, but the kid was still a cold-blooded murderer.  It wasn't just a case of a kid being picked on: he too had a prior history of violence -- including breaking his own sister's arm -- and the parents didn't do anything about it until it was too late.

 

Abbie said it best: "Five children are dead, Nora, we can't just send him to bed without supper!"

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It never ceases to amaze me how Nora became D.A. I know that she was appointed after Adam left.  She was much too...cerebral and an academic and not enough of a prosecutor/politician.  Except for that one time when she threatened that judge played by Peter McLarty, I think, that if he didn't give Jack a fair shake, she'd report him to the ethics whatever for judges.

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Not sure if this is unpopular but sometimes I root for the DA to lose or the killer get a light sentence if the victim has it coming. For example "Identity" from season 14. The victim never told his wife he lost his job and instead of looking for a job, he stole the killer's (an elderly man Lonnie Jackson) identity, life savings and mortgaged his house and used that money to pay his bills. 

 

I don't know if the victim was ashamed and embarrassed he lost his job, but he really brought shame and embarrasment to his family for what he did. 

 

Also, Mr.Jackson's son was a jerk but it was nice to see Shambala Green again.

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My UO is that sometimes when the show WANTS you to feel sorry for the perp, I wind up not feeling any sympathy at all. Specifically, I just couldn't feel sorry for the teen sniper in "Sheltered." Yes, he was obviously brainwashed by the man he thought was his father, but he still murdered all those random people for nothing and felt zero remorse for it all. And I hate how the trial made him out to be the victim instead of those innocent people he murdered. 

If only Ben Stone had been there. He wouldn't have caved into pity like Jack. If anything, he would have shut the kid's constant justifying up with something like "Well, if you hadn't shot those people, your 'dad' wouldn't have gotten arrested, now would he?"

And while I did feel sorry for what his real mother and sister had to endure and understood why they stood by him even after he rejected them, I couldn't help thinking "Have fun being pariahs for the rest of your life just so you can keep trying to reach your brainwashed psycho killer of a son." Harsh, I know, but I think Arthur was right when he said that kid was too far gone to deserve another chance.

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6 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

My UO is that sometimes when the show WANTS you to feel sorry for the perp, I wind up not feeling any sympathy at all. Specifically, I just couldn't feel sorry for the teen sniper in "Sheltered." Yes, he was obviously brainwashed by the man he thought was his father, but he still murdered all those random people for nothing and felt zero remorse for it all. And I hate how the trial made him out to be the victim instead of those innocent people he murdered. 

If only Ben Stone had been there. He wouldn't have caved into pity like Jack. If anything, he would have shut the kid's constant justifying up with something like "Well, if you hadn't shot those people, your 'dad' wouldn't have gotten arrested, now would he?"

He probably would have even called him 'Sir'.

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New UO. I think its unpopular, anyway, and maybe its just because I watched Indifference and Punk in fairly close succession. I don't mind Abbie's confession to Jack about being sexually assaulted when she was in college any more than I mind Mike telling Max that his mother beat him when he was a kid.

Is it a cliche, the hard-assed prosecutor being tough on crime because she was once a victim herself? Sure, and I can understand why it gets on other people's nerves. But its no less of a cliche than the hotheaded Irish detective who was once no different than any other kid who got their lights knocked out because their home situation was fucked up.

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I didn't like "Punk" because it "explained" why Abbie was hard on crime; quite the opposite. Abbie came in as tough on crime, and that was one of the things I loved about her; what I didn't like and I explained that in the thread, was that I didn't see the need for the backstory that she was raped. Why did she have to have that in her past? It wasn't needed, to "show" why she was so tough on Cara Buono's character, who I hated. Yeah, it was wrong that she was raped, and I felt bad that it was a systemic thing not only in the episode, but also happens in real life, but I got the sense that becauase it happened to Abbie, she felt she had to be tough on Buono's charater, or whatever "explanation" was given.  Between you and me, @Cobalt Stargazer, I think mine is the more unpopular, heh. If Abbie had been a victim of say a mugging, or held up, or something like that, I don't think I would have minded; but I hate that rape is always, always the go to crime when it comes to women.

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