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Law & Order: True Crime

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So is this going to be more like those shows with the voice overs or the mothership?

I don't see casting news anywhere.

TV Line just announced that NBC greenlit this a day ago, so I don't expect casting announcements for a while.

As for what it will be like, it was said in the vein of the recent The People vs. OJ Simpson that aired on FX, with actors cast as those involved, etc.

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So is this going to be more like those shows with the voice overs or the mothership?

I don't see casting news anywhere.

 

Yeah, I just saw this forum and went to IMDB to look for information, and the closest thing I found was a 2002 episode of the Mothership called True Crime.

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Yeah, I just saw this forum and went to IMDB to look for information, and the closest thing I found was a 2002 episode of the Mothership called True Crime.

 

No IMDB listing yet as it was just announced, but here's the TV Line article explaining everything, in case anyone missed it.

 

By the way, these true crime shows must be the new "in" thing since CBS has also announced its own true crime series, but that will be unscripted with the actual people supposedly involved.

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By the way, these true crime shows must be the new "in" thing since CBS has also announced its own true crime series, but that will be unscripted with the actual people supposedly involved.

I never watch those shows. If the cast is good, I might watch this. I wonder if it is inspired at all by the successful season one of True Detective? Of course, they're not going to spring for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

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I never watch those shows. If the cast is good, I might watch this. I wonder if it is inspired at all by the successful season one of True Detective? Of course, they're not going to spring for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

 

I'd say this is because of the success of FX's recent The People vs. OJ Simpson. Odd seeing David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian there. At least Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran wasn't new to lawyer stuff since he played ADA Carver on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

 

But I think the above is what caused NBC to give this the green light. As you said, shapeshifter, casting will make or break this, I think. Trouble is, I can't think of who could play Lyle and Erik Menendez or their parents.

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Didn't they already do this in the 90s and called it "Crime & Punishment"?

 

Although admittedly that was candid following of a contemporary case, not historical recreations.

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On April 9, 2016 at 0:02 AM, Kromm said:

Didn't they already do this in the 90s and called it "Crime & Punishment"?

 

Although admittedly that was candid following of a contemporary case, not historical recreations.

I loved that show! I think the last episode I saw was set in San Diego, CA, and followed a murder case. It was very well done. I remember it being a summer series. I'd love to see that version come back. 

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Law & Order: True Crime finds its Erik Menendez. Of note, L&O franchise stalwarts Rene Balcer, Arthur W. Forney, and Peter Jankowski, along with Dick Wolf, are involved. Balcer is writing; the others are producing.

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After the Menendez parents are found murdered, the eldest son, Lyle, maintains a stoic appearance, while his younger brother, Erik, is grief-stricken; evidence suggests Lyle and Erik may be guilty; a defense attorney takes an interest in the case.

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Seemingly innocuous comments Lyle previously made about his parents come back to haunt him when detectives Zoeller and Linehan interview the brothers' friends and acquaintances. Erik, overcome by guilt, makes a shocking confession to his psychologist, Dr. Jerome Oziel. Having overheard a therapy session with Lyle and Erik, Oziel's mistress Judalon Smyth goes to the police with a tip after Oziel tries to cut ties with her. Attorney Leslie Abramson makes a move to represent the brothers.

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With Lyle and Erik in custody for suspicion of murder, defense attorney Leslie Abramson works tirelessly alongside Jill Lansing to understand the motive that could drive two young men to commit such a heinous crime. Meanwhile, the prosecution puts Judalon Smyth on the stand to make a case for releasing Dr. Oziel's audio notes and tapes from his sessions with Lyle and Erik, despite standard doctor patient privilege.

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The one brother looked like he could have been Ray Liotta's grandson. 

Looks like a good cast (Anthony Edwards, Sam Jaeger, Josh Charles [oy, the wig] etc).

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Not trying to be coy, but I honestly can't decide if I liked this or not. Maybe my feelings will become more clear with the next episode. It seemed a bit...I don't know, cheesy?...to me, even when it was trying to be earnest or something.

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I thought it was pretty good and jogged a lot of memories of the case as it unfolded.  Hard to believe the murders occured back in '89, and that the two "boys" are now pushing 50.

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I liked it and agree with spiderpig.  Lots of memories of the murders and trials.  I remember there was a lot of talk about Leslie Abramson's hair back in the day.  Edie Falco is great in this role.  I think the actor brothers look a lot like their real-life counterparts.

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7 hours ago, CelticBlackCat said:

I liked it and agree with spiderpig.  Lots of memories of the murders and trials.  I remember there was a lot of talk about Leslie Abramson's hair back in the day.  Edie Falco is great in this role.  I think the actor brothers look a lot like their real-life counterparts.

Funny you mention this.  I could never keep straight which was Lyle and which was Erik in real life.  Same with the series.  I guess they are just two evil peas in a pod.  Stupid evil peas - $14 million is a lot of money, but they ran through $1 million of it within six months of the murders.

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Couldn't they have left out the Law and Order noise?  It just makes it seem cheap and they spent a lot of money on this.  And it's no People vs. OJ

I might keep watching but I won't be devastated if I miss an episode.

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1 hour ago, spiderpig said:

Funny you mention this.  I could never keep straight which was Lyle and which was Erik in real life.  Same with the series.  I guess they are just two evil peas in a pod.  Stupid evil peas - $14 million is a lot of money, but they ran through $1 million of it within six months of the murders.

Lyle's the one with the hairpiece, that's the only way I remembered who was who between them at the time. 

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I remember very little about this trial when it went down.  I was only 13 when it happened.  But every movie/dramatization makes it seem like Erik was not a willing participant even if he was the one who took the brunt of most of the abuse.  Is that how it was?  Did he only do what he was told or was he a willing participant?  Was it Lyle that was the mastermind and Erik just went along with it?  I'm wondering why they didn't fight it that way in court.

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19 hours ago, WendyCR72 said:

Not trying to be coy, but I honestly can't decide if I liked this or not. Maybe my feelings will become more clear with the next episode. It seemed a bit...I don't know, cheesy?...to me, even when it was trying to be earnest or something.

I agree with your assessment, but for different reasons. It just seemed a bit dull. Lots of characters to introduce, and with a whole season devoted to one case it's probably inevitable that the pace is a bit slow. Especially this case, which from what I've read (I don't really remember much as I was in elementary school at the time) didn't really take off until it got to court and became a hit on cable unlike some other highly publicized cases like OJ Simpson's where it was big news from the beginning. I liked the cast and love Edie Falco and have watched just about every episode of Law & Order(TM) brand television ever produced (skipped many epsiodes of the later Amaro years of SVU) so I'll stick around and see if it picks up. I think some of the cheesiness you detected was just authenticity (the 80's cop mustaches, fashions, furniture, etc). and the fact that many of the real people they are portraying seem to be right of procedural central casting (the douchebag spoiled preppie killers, the weary and overworked lead detective who hates watching the rich get special treatment, the enabling relatives, the distant rich parents, etc.) and it's hard to add depth and nuance when you're doing a docudrama. Hopefully things pick up next episode or it becomes clear that it's a total misfire that can be skipped.

Edited by wknt3 · Reason: autocorrect fail
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I will preface my post by saying that I have some insider knowledge, but out of respect for that insider, I'm not going to say exactly what my connection is. I've been told that this series will be presenting some new information that hasn't been previously widespread public knowledge. Also, there seems to be a lot of confusion around the abuse testimony and evidence. In the first trial, which resulted in a hung jury, the abuse evidence/testimony was allowed. In the second trial, the judge did not allow in any evidence/testimony about the abuse. The second trial also took place after OJ was acquitted and there was a lot of pressure to not allow for another high profile acquittal. Both Lyle and Erik have said that they deserved prison time, but that life without parole was excessive because they were abused and that should be taken into account as an extenuating circumstance. The jury that convicted them never got to consider whether or not the abuse should factor in. 

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21 hours ago, rhys said:

 

Looks like a good cast (Anthony Edwards, Sam Jaeger, Josh Charles [oy, the wig] etc).

I love Sam Jaeger and have since Catch and Release and Eli Stone. I will support anything and everything he does. I just really hate the mustache. Lol. I remember quit a bit about this case as i was 16 at the time. I'm interested in finding out things I didn't know or be reminded of stuff I simply forgot. 

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On 9/27/2017 at 0:18 AM, rhys said:

The one brother looked like he could have been Ray Liotta's grandson. 

Looks like a good cast (Anthony Edwards, Sam Jaeger, Josh Charles [oy, the wig] etc).

Is it bad that I laughed hysterically when he walked into the room sporting that awful wig? 

I'll definitly give this one or two more episodes, I love anything true crime

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I remember some of this case, while it was happening.  I remember a LOT was made of Abramson's 'fawning' over the brothers -- patting them, grooming them, smoothing their hair, etc.

 

I had forgotten the first trial was hung.  I will likely watch it for the full season.-- again, because Edie Falco is.....well...Edie Effing Falco.....and I realize they are going for the OJ/American Crime story cache -- but looks like I'm in.  (Was kind of surprised to learn Abramson was full 'They Did it' before she even got them as clients.)

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I am also on board with this for the Edie Falco/true crime double whammy. I'm not super familiar with this case; I wasn't born yet at the time of the murders and I think OJ eclipsed whatever craziness there was a few years later and it kind of got lost in the zeitgeist. So it's nice to come in with fresh eyes and maybe be a little more surprised than I was with People vs. OJ (which was obviously excellent but I was much more familiar with that case so that muted some of the suspense).

I did have to laugh at the whole "I remember when Sharon Tate was murdered, but this is different, this is Beverly Hills" like...first it was "this could never happen in Benedict Canyon" then it was "this could never happen in Beverly Hills" and then it was "no one gets murdered in Brentwood" like...Angelenos, please accept that your city and its surrounding suburbs are packed full of crazies.

On 9/27/2017 at 5:05 AM, CelticBlackCat said:

I liked it and agree with spiderpig.  Lots of memories of the murders and trials.  I remember there was a lot of talk about Leslie Abramson's hair back in the day.  Edie Falco is great in this role.  I think the actor brothers look a lot like their real-life counterparts.

Edie Falco was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last week and said that at the time, she would have killed to have hair like Abramson's; she tried to get perms but her hair was too short and it never worked. It's funny how fashions/hairstyles can become dated so quickly.

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5 hours ago, helenamonster said:

I am also on board with this for the Edie Falco/true crime double whammy. I'm not super familiar with this case; I wasn't born yet at the time of the murders and I think OJ eclipsed whatever craziness there was a few years later and it kind of got lost in the zeitgeist. So it's nice to come in with fresh eyes and maybe be a little more surprised than I was with People vs. OJ (which was obviously excellent but I was much more familiar with that case so that muted some of the suspense).

I did have to laugh at the whole "I remember when Sharon Tate was murdered, but this is different, this is Beverly Hills" like...first it was "this could never happen in Benedict Canyon" then it was "this could never happen in Beverly Hills" and then it was "no one gets murdered in Brentwood" like...Angelenos, please accept that your city and its surrounding suburbs are packed full of crazies.

Edie Falco was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last week and said that at the time, she would have killed to have hair like Abramson's; she tried to get perms but her hair was too short and it never worked. It's funny how fashions/hairstyles can become dated so quickly.

Yep.  I had a stacked perm back in the day.  :D

It was kind of like with the OJ Simpson trial and Marcia Clark's hair, which wasn't as flamboyant, but remarks were made by the media about her hair, clothes, etc.

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Tracey Ullman did a character on Tracey Takes On that was based on Abramson, an ambulance chasing attorney named Sydney Kross.  All I could think during the episode was that her terrible wig looked more like Abramson's actual hair than whatever died atop Edie's head.

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I remember the trial like it was yesterday.  It was actually more interesting and horrific than the show.  I don't know, it just didn't hold my interest, but I like Edie Falco.

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Another 90s murder I only have vague memories of, but production-wise and acting-wise, People vs O.J. this is not.

Edie Falco is a good actress, but Leslie Abramson: Evil Rich Kid Savant isn't quite working for me. She turns on the TV and knows immediately they did it? How? Why? They established she defends clients like that, but it struck me as more of a narrative device than an actual character trait. With the caveat that I remember very little about these murders.

It got better as it went on -- I found the opening scenes a bit much. Looking forward to see how it progresses.

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I'll be watching this closely and with apprehension. Unfortunately, the prevailing narrative then and even now is that the Menendez brothers were simply greedy little bastards who killed their parents for their money. But there was undeniable and compelling evidence both were sexually abused by their father. This evidence is often hand-waved, forgotten and dismissed but it's truly awful. Personally, I believe that a man who sexually abuses his children as "punishment" only to see them grow up and shoot him dead asked for it. As for the mother, she was either a willing participant or at the very least turned a blind eye. There were pictures, people. 

There was a documentary earlier this year about the case and they, too, downplayed and ignored a lot of the evidence of the sexual abuse. It made me angry and if this show is going to treat the abuse as questionable and/or unverified I'll probably stop watching. It really is a tragic case and I still get upset when people don't know the whole story. It's one of those things people didn't pay close enough attention to in order to see past the media's overly-simplified narrative.

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Well, even with the usually great Rene Balcer's involvement, I have come to the conclusion that this is just not grabbing me. And I don't know why. But I ended up doing banking stuff halfway through.

And this surprises me as crime stuff is up my alley. I have watched the rest of the (albeit fictional) Law & Order franchise and have liked and loved the other series through the years. But this...I just am not feeling it. I was 16/turned 17 (ironically, my birthday was one of tonight's dates, September 18th!) when this occurred and remember this well, so it isn't for lack of context or being "before my time".

To those that are absorbed by this, cool! But I think I'll just stick to the other L&O shows all over TV.

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This is the only new show of the season that I like so far.  I've always been interested in the case, although now I 100% believe they did it for the money.   Was surprised to see how crazy the shrink and his girlfriend are and wonder if they were really like that.  It never made sense how the shrink was able to testify against the brothers.   If Eric could have kept his mouth shut Thur might never have been arested.

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So is Leslie Abramson a producer on this show? Because I feel like so far the series has spent a lot of time telling me how great she is.

Also, I can't believe that in 1989 you could still smoke on a plane. How times change.

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I thought this was a bit better. It finally shifted into gear albeit a little over halfway into the second episode, which is a little too late to start getting interesting. I wonder if they wouldn't have been better off going with a flashback structure so that we start with the star front and center and get right into the meat of the story?

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I think Lyle was the mastermind behind the murders and that Eric would never have considered/carried them out on his own.   Also, I'm afraid that if they hadn't been caught that Eric would have met with an "accidental" death.

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Is all the stuff with the psychiatrist and his mistress really true? If so, please tell me he lost his license after all this. Blabbing about his high-profile patient to a certified lunatic, who he also moved into his house with his wife and children??? Yikes, dude.

Can someone more familiar with the law help me out on this: wouldn't the psychiatrist actually have a legal obligation to report Erik's confession to the police? I thought doctor/patient privilege went out the window when it came to crimes being committed. At the very least, aren't you supposed to report them when you have reason to suspect that they are a current and present danger to themselves or somebody else, which the psychiatrist clearly thought he was (telling his wife to take the kids and get out of the house).

12 hours ago, Steph J said:

So is Leslie Abramson a producer on this show? Because I feel like so far the series has spent a lot of time telling me how great she is.

Also, I can't believe that in 1989 you could still smoke on a plane. How times change.

Edie Falco said that Abramson wanted nothing to do with it. I think it's less "look how great Leslie Abramson" is and more "look how great Edie Falco is."

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It occurred to me as I was watching a scene between Lyle and Eric how much of this story is pure fantasy and speculation. There is no way on earth for the writers to know exactly what conversations any of these people had among themselves in private. Any time you see a scene between Eric and Lyle, or between the doctor and his mistress, or between Leslie and her husband, it's pure fiction. That's the problem with these kinds of "true crime" shows - so much of it is just made up. 

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I'm enjoying this a bit more then I expected to - which isn't saying a lot, since I didn't think I'd enjoy it. I do like finding out more about what actually went down with the people involved with the case, I think when it happened I didn't read anything in depth, only headlines, so a lot of this is new in terms of how they got caught. But man the character development is just so weak - other then for the two brothers themselves perhaps. Leslie Abramson is coming off like she's a cross between Betty Crocker and Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm. What's with her bringing food to all the criminals? Perhaps she does do this in real life, but here it just seems a bit much. And the Menendez dad? Could he be any more of a mustache-twirling villain? There is just no nuance.

I do wonder what the Menendez family thinks of the depiction of the murdered parents? This is an awfully sympathetic portrayal of the brothers - Eric more then Lyle of course, but even Lyle is being portrayed as a troubled young man who was protecting his brother. 

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1 hour ago, Pop Tart said:

 

I do wonder what the Menendez family thinks of the depiction of the murdered parents? This is an awfully sympathetic portrayal of the brothers - Eric more then Lyle of course, but even Lyle is being portrayed as a troubled young man who was protecting his brother. 

Depends which side the fell on. There's some of the family that believed the brothers did it for the money and some of the family that believes it was due to the abuse. The brothers are still close to the latter group of family members. Also, the producers did work with the family and brothers some in pre-production so they do have some knowledge of private conversations. Overall is is a sympathetic portrayal but I know most of the people involved came out of it believing the brothers had been abused and didn't deserve life without parole.

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1 hour ago, helenamonster said:

Is all the stuff with the psychiatrist and his mistress really true? If so, please tell me he lost his license after all this. Blabbing about his high-profile patient to a certified lunatic, who he also moved into his house with his wife and children??? Yikes, dude.

 

seriously.  those are the kind of decisions he makes in his own life and he's supposed to help other people be healthy and make good decisions?  jeez.

1 hour ago, helenamonster said:

Can someone more familiar with the law help me out on this: wouldn't the psychiatrist actually have a legal obligation to report Erik's confession to the police? I thought doctor/patient privilege went out the window when it came to crimes being committed. At the very least, aren't you supposed to report them when you have reason to suspect that they are a current and present danger to themselves or somebody else, which the psychiatrist clearly thought he was (telling his wife to take the kids and get out of the house).

no, he's violating confidentiality if he turns them in.  A therapist has what's called "duty to warn" if they think a patient poses a danger to someone, but that means telling the possible victim, not telling the authorities.  So if Eric had come to him and said "we're planning to kill mom and dad," he would have been obligated to contact the parents and tell them.  In this situation, since it was too late to warn the parents, there would be no justification for him to break confidentiality.  

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I wish they had done something closer to the A&E Laci Peterson murder story - using the real people instead of this dramatization.  The comic relief of the Josh Charles and Heather Graham (plus their excellent wigs) makes me think we are watching a weird episode of Falcon Crest.

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