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‘Law & Order: LA’ — Not Much Zip in New Zip Code

NBC and producer Dick Wolf apparently weren’t completely thrilled with critical response to the first two episodes of “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” so they sent the third one out in advance as well and asked us to take a look.

NUP_141828_0171 Sure, it’s not like we’ve got anything better to do.

But the latest “LOLA” (as they were calling it around the network) looks like the others — slick, but really adding nothing of note to the “Law & Order” formula. A new zip code, perhaps, but that’s merely an excuse to plant bodies in front of stereotypical L.A. locations.

Granted, the stereotypes didn’t bother me that much, as noted in my initial review, any more than there’s reason to be aghast at “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” on sister cable network Bravo. Both shows, in fact, do pretty much the same thing: Planting variations on the established format and characters in a new town.

Frankly, you could do the whole thing with a green screen and save a lot of scratch. Or maybe someone should look into a “LOLA”/”RHofBH” crossover. The detectives go to Camille Grammer’s 17-acre estate and get lost, then find a body in the pool house or something.

The latest “Law” involves a murder at the beach and surfing. There’s also some discussion about class disparity — funneled through Alfred Molina’s prosecutor — but not with any real depth, which is again a limitation of the show’s crime-investigation-trial approach.

It’s not bad, and as I said before, given the other places where NBC has concerns, the double dose of “Law” on Wednesday — “Special Victims Unit” into the new show — is probably not an immediate problem. That said, a second-week drop by the new show suggests at least some viewers weren’t exactly bowled over by shipping the sets west.

The most interesting bit about “Law & Order” lately actually came on last week’s “30 Rock,” where characters kept expressing bewilderment over why the original was canceled. Funny stuff, except the knock on “LOLA” is pretty much all you need to know as to why the flagship version went away: It feels tired. And I’m not sure screening every episode in advance is going to fix that.

 

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