Today in Legal History: Law & Order Premiered

September 13, 1990 is when it all started–one hour, two “separate but equally important groups,” detectives, prosecutors, New York City crime, stories ripped from the headlines, and that sound.  Is it a Donk Donk?  A Clang Clang?  Where did they get that sound?  And what are we going to do after twenty solid years of knowing that we could spend at least one hour of our week (okay, by the end, almost every hour of our week if you include cable) engrossed in a perplexing criminal investigation and prosecution, trying to pretend it was somehow school-related?

Law_Order_Season_One_castIf your interest in Law & Order extends into the academic, or if you are considering a career in criminal defense law, check out Elayne Rapping’s Law and Justice as Seen on TV.  A professor  of both women’s and media studies, Rapping turned her analytical mind to the law on television when her son became a public defender and she wanted to figure out why there was so much negative reaction to his career choice.   She dedicates the book to all the public defenders who never appear on television, but still toil daily “in the Sisyphean effort to make our government live up to the democratic rhetoric of its own Constitution.”

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