'Law & Order' Season 21 Episode 1 Review: NBC crime drama still feels like comfort food
The world of ‘Law & Order’ has always been fascinating and it has never shied away from taking inspiration from real-life events. That’s why the tagline of the original ‘Law & Original’ said: “ripped from the headlines”. NBC has taken 12 long years to bring the original series back to the screens, but it seems nothing has changed and it’s pretty much exactly the same show it was for 20 years.
The format remains the same and the first half of the episode still sees the NYPD detectives investigating a crime while the second half is all about the District Attorneys doing their work. The premiere episode sees a once-popular Black musician Henry King giving an interview about how he was wrongly accused of rape, sexual assault, and drug-facilitated sexual abuse by several women. Even after having some substantial evidence, the judge announced the verdict in his favor, leaving all his victims in shock and despair.
No points for guessing that what you are seeing is similar to the Bill Cosby case. The first episode did not dive deeper into the personal lives of the detectives and mostly focused on the case. Apart from the case, the premiere also shed a light on how policing has changed in recent times. In one of the scenes, Det. Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Det. Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) gets into an argument when Cosgrove tries to show off his badge to a Black young man. Bernard tells him that the rules have changed and now people have the power to show the world how we operate.
If you were a fan of the original series, then you know that it didn’t waste much time in giving you social commentary about things that you already know. In the end, it was all about entertainment and it still remains the number one priority. The entire episode is fast-paced and never feels like it’s been dragged for no reason. The writing is crisp and much better than what we are seeing in other ‘Law & Order’ shows.
Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy is once again the highlight of the show and even though, he is in the episode for mere two or three scenes, it’s impossible to forget him. Anderson and Donovan are a treat to watch while their new boss Camryn Manheim is brilliant as well. Meanwhile, we have two new prosecutors on the show and their names are Nolan (Hugh Dancy) and Samantha (Odelya Halevi).
These two names will be taking the case forward in court and demanding justice. Both have significant moments in the premiere episode and it looks like people are going to love them. They are fierce, strong-headed, and believe a crime is a crime even if the person deserved what’s happened to him or her.
All in all, ‘Law & Order’ has returned with a brilliant premiere episode. Fans will be happy to see their favorite characters back on screen and the new season will be comforting food for them.
'Law & Order' Season 21 returns to NBC with a new episode every Thursday at 8 pm EST.