Podcast review of These Are Their Stories: The Law & Order Podcast

My love for Law & Order runs deep and strong. Fifteen seasons of Sam Waterston? Be still my beating heart. While I hate that the revolving door of smart, beautiful ADAs are not given more to do on this show, I do love the plot twists, the Fourth Amendment debates, and the hunt for clues as to the characters’ personal lives. I love the episodes with the “ripped from the headlines” storylines that at first appear so familiar and straightforward, but then morph from a dispute over pants lost at the dry cleaner to a cover-up for a discount chain importing toxic toothpaste, with a crooked ex-cop thrown in for good measure. I believe that at every hour of every day, some off-brand cable channel is showing Law & Order in some form (Criminal Intent, SVU, or “original recipe”), but I mostly watch the original version, as the other franchises have too much policing and not enough lawyering for my tastes. When an episode starts, it feels like being covered by a soft, warm blanket as you curl up and recall which episode this is, if there are any stars-to-be in this one, what the twist or turn will be. My delight is absolute when I come across an episode that I have never seen before—it happened to me a few days ago, and I immediately texted the only other friend I know who is anywhere near as devoted as I am, to share my glee. But as the show has been cancelled for almost seven years, I know that the time will soon come when I have in fact seen them all, and it will just be me and my WE TV reruns for the fifth, eighth, twelfth time.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I heard about a new podcast all about Law & Order. Who would possibly spend time making a podcast about a long-running but long-since-cancelled police procedural/legal drama, and who would possibly want to listen to it, other than me? The answers: Rebecca Lavoie, and quite a few people, apparently. Turns out, Lavoie is as obsessed with the series as I am, and she happens to be a true-crime writer and an editor for New Hampshire public radio. She and her co-host/writing partner/husband, Kevin Flynn, produce the These Are Their Stories: The Law & Order Podcast. They pick an episode from one of the three L&O franchises to discuss for each podcast, and a guest host joins them to talk about the episode.

The first time I tuned in, I thought I was listening to a podcast made just for me. First, there is the awesome podcast theme song and the little musical interludes in between—I dare you to listen and not have them in your head for the rest of the day. Second, they thoroughly dissect the episode, covering everything from the holes in the plot, to the bad acting, the red herrings, the guest stars, the “Hey, It’s That Guy!” side characters played by actors who will later become known for other roles, and the real-life story that inspired the episode. They talk about how perceptions of crime and social mores have changed (or not) in the years since the episode first aired, and comment on the stereotypes that pervade the series. For as much as I enjoy the show, it is deeply flawed in many ways, and I appreciate the podcast most when it delves into the some of the absurdities and biases in how gender, race, disability, prosecutorial authority, and other issues are portrayed on the show. The hosts are funny and insightful, and the guest hosts have ranged from a Georgetown University professor to Jon Cryer. Whether you saw the episode yesterday or years ago, you can find much to enjoy in the podcast banter and trip down memory lane. Quite simply, this is one podcast I can’t wait to see pop up in my feed. My only quibble is that they only release new episodes every other week; I suppose because they also have real jobs.

By all means, check out some episodes of the podcast, and be prepared to answer the questions they pose to every guest host: Who’s your favorite Law & Order district attorney prosecutorial team? Who’s your favorite Law & Order detective team? (Answers: Jack and Claire, of course; Briscoe and Green, forever).

Check it out at: <www.lawandorderpodcast.com>.

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May 2017Volume 22Number 5PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)