“Law & Order” is a few days away from its return, and Sam Waterston wants to prepare us all. The “Law & Order” franchise has never shied away from sensitive material or topical issues. It pulls some of its content straight from the headlines, after all. But, Waterston wants us all to know that the current political and social climate is definitely going to influence this new season. Some things may happen in the revival that we may not like.
“We’re not shying away from any of those [timely] conflicts,” Waterston told Variety. “In fact, it’s always been the goal of the show to get people throwing their shoes at the television, and certainly there are issues that are going to infuriate people and frustrate people about how they turned out.”
The goal here is to show cases where not everything is tied up in a neat bow. “SVU” has done this on occasion; but most of the time, the detectives solve the case, and the bad guy goes away for a long time. Sure, there are deals and plea bargains and all that, but usually the villain gets their comeuppance. This new environment of “Law & Order” is a chance to highlight corruption and unfairness in the legal system.
Sam Waterston Prepares Us for a New Era of ‘Law & Order’
“That’s the pleasure of watching ‘Law & Order,'” Waterston continued. “There is a resolution but there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the way it goes. It feels, to me, like ‘Law & Order’ might have something to contribute to the general conversation because we’re all mad about something. We’re all mad as hell about something right now and mad at each other. For us to get these big issues aired, and to have not a conclusion but a resolution of some kind that you can chew on, might be a useful service.”
This new “Law & Order” aims to give us something to think about after the episode ends. No more fade in “Executive Producer Dick Wolf” and that’s the end. This new era of “Law & Order” is going to be topical and divisive, and that’s the way it should be. We need to see our own times reflected back at us on TV. It could do us some good.
Speaking at the NBC Press Day recently, Sam Waterston also commented on why “Law & Order” is coming back now. “He [Wolf] was talking about it five years ago too, and I don’t think he’s ever stopped talking about it,” Waterston started. “One of the reasons that we’re back is because of his persistence and determination and his complete conviction that it was a terrible mistake to stop in the first place.”
Waterston continued, “The other reason that we’re coming back, though, I think is because we stopped making the shows, but the audience never stopped watching them. So the audience’s persistent appetite for Law & Order is a major reason why we’re back. So thanks to them.”