Law & Order (1990) Here are two dramas tucked into one viewing hour: Law & Order devotes the first half of each episode to showing you a crime committed… 1990-10-30 Crime Drama Alana De La Garza Dennis Farina Milena Govich Jesse L. Martin Jerry Orbach Elisabeth Rohm S Epatha Merkerson Sam Waterston Richard Belzer Richard Brooks Jill Hennessy Leslie Hendrix Carey Lowell Fred Thompson Dianne Wiest Adam Arkin Christine Baranski Tom Berenger Eric Bogosian Andre Braugher Dominic Chianese Chris Cooper Lindsay Crouse Claire Danes Keith David Guillermo Diaz Taye Diggs Edie Falco Janeane Garofalo Rudolph Giuliani Lauren Graham Mary Beth Hurt Ice-T Michael Imperioli Samuel L. Jackson Allison Janney James Earl Jones Jane Kaczmarek Catherine Kellner Laura Linney Patti LuPone William H. Macy Julianna Margulies Heather Matarazzo Michael McKean Chris Noth Vincent Pastore Amanda Peet Faith Prince Ron Rifkin Julia Roberts Sam Rockwell Peter Sarsgaard Frances Sternhagen Jerry Stiller Elaine Stritch Aida Turturro Robert Vaughn NBC
TV Review

Law & Order (1990)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Start Date: Oct 30, 1990; Genres: Crime, Drama; With: Alana De La Garza, Dennis Farina, Milena Govich, Jesse L. Martin and Jerry Orbach...; Network: NBC; More

Here are two dramas tucked into one viewing hour: Law & Order devotes the first half of each episode to showing you a crime committed and its investigation. The show spends its other half-hour in the courtroom, following the case to its conclusion.

It's a little gimmicky, but it works, primarily on the strength of the cast. George Dzundza (No Way Out, The Deer Hunter) heads up the Law side of the show as a tough New York police detective paired with a younger, more idealistic partner (Christopher Noth). Just watching the portly Dzundza barrel his way onto the scene of a crime is a pleasure, as is hearing tough talk coming out of his soft face. Dzundza has spent his ordinary-guy, character-actor career proving his worth — you expect him to be good, and he is.

Michael Moriarty, who plays Assistant District Attorney Stone in the Order part of the show, has spent his career proving what a weirdo he can be. With his wide, blank eyes and high, flat speaking voice, Moriarty always seems on the verge of catatonia, or a breakdown. In Law & Order, however, Moriarty proves what many have always suspected: He can blink and talk like an ordinary fellow. His DA is a good guy with an edge of imperiousness and frustration. He knows he's good at his job, and he's sick of both big-city bureaucracy and the yuppie-shark lawyers defending the scum he wants to put behind bars.

It's rare enough for a series to have one character as good as either Dzundza's or Moriarty's. Having two in the same show is a prime-time gift. B+

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Originally posted Aug 07, 1990 Published in issue #30 Sep 07, 1990 Order article reprints