Law & Order: A History in Images

I’m a big fan of “Law & Order.” Like, really big. The spinoffs are certainly entertaining, but nothing beats the original show. For some time I’ve been watching the first 8 seasons (1990-1998), which are available instantly through streaming on Netflix. Every now and then I notice a shot that’s particularly interesting, so here’s a collection of a dozen great shots from the earlier days of “Law & Order.”

“By Hooker, by Crook” (1990: Season 1, Episode 7) – Detectives Greevey and Logan are up all night going through the records.

“Asylum” (1991: Season 2, Episode 4) – Ben Stone, my personal favorite Executive Assistant District Attorney from the series, grills a witness in the men’s bathroom.

“God Bless the Child” (1991: Season 2, Episode 5) – Logan, listening in to a conversation.

“The Working Stiff” (1992: Season 2, Episode 22) – death at the desktop (a visual metaphor for the 90s?).

“Right to Counsel” (1993: Season 3, Episode 12) – showing the great L&O tradition of walking, talking and eating (with A.D.A. Paul Robinette and Executive A.D.A. Ben Stone).

“Animal Instinct” (1993: Season 3, Episode 18) – …because when you show a scientist’s death, you might as well include the lab rats.

“Apocrypha” (1993: Season 4, Episode 3) – Ben Stone with a Bible and his trusty bifocals (is that what they are? I know they’re some kind of glasses… obviously).

“Rebels” (1995: Season 6, Episode 2) – an early role for Chris Messina, though cut short before the opening credits: “Looks like the alien clawed its way out.”

“Angel” (1995: Season 6, Episode 8) – Jack McCoy, successor to Ben Stone as Executive A.D.A., whose eyebrows are all you need to see to know that the actor is Sam Waterston.

“Homesick” (1996: Season 6, Episode 22) – one of McCoy’s more amusing moments in the courtroom.

“Aftershock” (1996: Season 6, Episode 23) – Detective Lennie Briscoe after the tragic car accident that killed another character; the haunting final image of the sixth season.

“Terminal” (1997: Season 7, Episode 23) – the most powerful moment that Steven Hill ever had as District Attorney Adam Schiff, all in the last minute of the seventh season finale after Schiff’s wife dies. “Law & Order” doesn’t usually make you cry, especially not the normally stoic and cantankerous Schiff, but this scene – seeing his character so emotional – would have you bawling. What an actor.

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