Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Thirteen Favourite Villains on Law and Order

I was converted to Law and Order ensembles fairly late. A lot of my friends were into the show, but I just didn't get grabbed. At first. I started watching well into it's run...in August and Sept 2001. I remember because I just got back to Toronto from Vancouver and didn't have a job. In the day the show was playing about 6 times on various channels. It managed to distract me from my precarious financial situation while job hunting Snerk. Then...9/11 happened. I used to be a major news junkie and I continued as one till about December then realized I was very stressed out so I stopped watching the news and reading news papers. I was always very sensitive about media and publics prejudices about others religions and customs...but I found it almost intolerable after 9/11. The racism and shoddy ideas people had about Muslims escalated back then...I was a big fan of Edward Said and his books fighting the misconceptions of Islamic countries and customs. Edward Wadie Saïd November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian American literary theorist, cultural critic, political activist, and an outspoken advocate for a Palestinian state. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and is regarded as a founding figure in postcolonial theory. He wrote the book Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World.

I started getting news form friend or co-workers. I liked it better delivered through friendly visits. I still basically follow news events by Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and blogs and friends phoning me when someone famous dies or a disaster strikes.

Law and Order is my Sherlock Holmes/Columbo escape...I like to see the bad guys get caught. Of course, though,...that doesn't always happen on the program...but I like watching people with strong moral imperatives trying to catch all the sick fucks in the world. I find myself fascinated with the human condition and deep character study on this program, especially the intense scrutiny on Criminal Intent. I love Bobby Goren! "Just one more thing..."

Top Villains:

2) January Jones, she was just introduced a couple weeks ago...and got away with her crime, hopefully to return. January Jones has also been in We Are Marshall and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.

3) Stephen Colbert. He is very good as a forger.

4) Ludacris, plays Ice-T's step-son. Sort of.

5) Andrew McCarthy. Okay, he was in a couple of great iconic 80's movies and he struts his stuff a few times on this series, within different versions of the ensembles.

6) Mandy Pantinkin. Very bad man. Tricky.

7) Larry Miller. The first tiem he is on Law and Order he gets away with killing his wife. Well, if he doesn't do it again and the detectives are very glad for a second chance to get this guy.

8) Martin Short. Well sort of a bad guy. He plays a psychic. He's very good.

9) Roy Schrieder. This must have been his last role. He was powerful in Criminal Intent as a incarcerated killer. R.I.P. He went off to a bigger boat.

10) Chad Lowe plays a tragic killer in a super creepy episode with Margot Kidder. (Okay...she is actually the villian in this one...)

11) Amanda Peet is almost unrecognizable once her character switches from preppy to deadly. I had a whole new respect for acting after I saw this episode.

12) Robert Vaughn plays a controlling denial-swinging granpa.

13) Michael O'Keefe. I love Michael O'Keefe...he is in one of my favourite movies The Great Santini he has had a couple of roles on Law and Order as a priest and as a Irish mobster.



Number One Favourite Villain is Olivia d'Abo playing a recurring role as Nicole Wallace a dead eyed and doe eyed serial killer. Olivia d'Abo's fate as a recurring villain was once held in the balance by a phone-in poll. An overwhelming majority of fans voiced their desire for her to get away again. She did a voice in The Animatrix and she is married to early Madonna songwriting collaborator Patrick Leonard. She is in four episodes of Criminal Intent and makes an off-screen killing in a fifth episode. d'Abo is also a folk singer.


Visitors who leave a comment will be linked here: 1) Nichtszusagen 2) Tennessee Text Wrestling 3) The Gal Herself 4) Wandering Coyote 5) Mister Anchovy 6) A Gentleman's Domain 7) Tinkerbell 8) From A Lofty Perch

18 comments:

Darla said...

I haven't watched L & O in years--maybe I should start. I wonder if/when it's on AFN?

Thomma Lyn said...

I've never watched Law and Order, but it sounds good, and I've heard excellent things about it! And in your list are some very good actors. I'll have to check it out!

I hope you're doing well! :)

The Gal Herself said...

Loved this list! I remember so many of these so well. I love how Nicole says, "Bobby" in that clipped English accent. Martin Short was creepy as all get out. Robert Vaughn was terrific, because he doesn't see himself as bad. Chad Lowe and Andrew McCarthy -- EW! What creepazoids! But my #1 would have to be Larry Miller. He's almost likable -- just friendly enough that you understand how he could marry so many times (and so tragically). As you can see, I love L&O. Great list. (Thanks for visiting my TT)

Wandering Coyote said...

I really only like SVU. I cannot stand Goren on CI - he drives me up the wall with his soliloquizing and he seems to me to make his female partner out to be a bit on the dumb side - he's constantly showing her up and it annoys me. Olivia Benson, however, I love. I think she's one of the best female characters on TV.

Fave villains on SVU: Cynthia Nixon played that arachnologist with DID in this season's premier. She was great. Fred Savage had a role as a rapist who defended himself that was well done. But there are so many good ones on that show!

mister anchovy said...

Like WC, I like SVU. I'm not sure what it is I like best about it - the formulaic scripts or the wooden acting, but I find myself strangely attracted to that bit of TV. Maybe it is the simple structure? I don't know.

nicholas said...

I used to watch Law & Order but as time passed I found the main characters such a bunch or obnoxious reactionaries that I always ended up siding with the criminals, whatever they had done!

Tink said...

I love Law & Order! We are way behind over here, so there's enough to see for years! :)
Thanks for visiting my TT!

Wandering Coyote said...

OMG - the Martin Short SVU is currently on! Dammit - this post gave away that he's a villain! Mind you, I figured he was iffy when he was fingering the girl's lacy undies in the first 10 minutes of the show...

Wandering Coyote said...

Sigh...the episode just ended. Yep, he was a fantastic villain!

Candy Minx said...

Darla, I like mysteries and find the format very relaxing...many of the episodes in the last 5 years have been really good.If you were ever a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you'll love the "Criminal Intent" version.

Thomma Lyn, good to see you! The guest stars on Law and Order really add to the appeal...they get to play some great characters.

The Gal Herself, isn't it fun seeing these bad guys? You sure are familiar with the programs...funny how that happens huh? I've watched almost all of them a couple of times. I'll watch an episode depending on whether or not I remember the plot in the opening segments of the shows. Robert Vaughn's episode was very good at highlighting the prejudices within families towards mental illness wasn't it? Larry Miller is really one of my faves too...I may have to reconsider where he is placed on this list heh. In his second appearance I love how the detectives are almost visibly drooling to get him nailed.

I am fond of SUV too. I think the thing with "Criminal Intent" and Bobby Goren's character is kind of like tasting strange new food. It's an aquired taste. I didn't take to it right away...it slowly grew on me. I find that one has to really like Sherlock Holmes and Columbo to understand Goren's character. Funny you should think he treats Eames poorly. I actually think they have a whole vibe of being very much in love and in awe of each other. She brings a different kind of intelligence to the puzzle solving...I find they really look at each other a lot and rest each other. In the first season...it is true that she is turned off by him...but even she uses the phrse "acquired taste" to another character about him in later seasons. I also apologize for any "spoilers" in this post especially with the Martin Short character...maybe I should have posted a spoiler warning at the beginning of the post.

Mister Anchovy, I am sorry you find the actors wooden. I find the caliber of actors to be the cream of the crop of contemporary actors working. Last night I had a surprise...we went to Steppenwolf Theatre for a great play...and in the lobby photos and I thought I knew all the actors who had come up through this outstanding ensemble theatre...but was very surprisedto see that Katherine Erbe was a member. Mystery genre is traditionally a formulaic genre, even traced to it's roots in Greek tragedy and then up to Shakespeare. This can be seen in the formula of No Country For Old Men, too. I think when it comes to the battle between good and evil...the formula highlights the metaphor of the souls struggle to overcome the dark side...and a repetitive simple formula aids comprehension.

Candy Minx said...

Nicholas, Interesting, I wonder if this is a cultural issue between mystery telling stories styles of UK vs. US? I can absolutely understand how the "heroes" would be percieved as pompous or preachy. I find "Criminal Intent" to have much less preaching since one of the detectives uses compassion as a means for profiling killers...his partner is the one who lays out the morality. Ultimately though...I think all mystery stories are prescriptive morality tales. I watch a lot of BBC mysteries and certainly I wouldn't expect Lynley, Dalgleish or Tennison to start justifying why they want the bad guys so badly with a moral argument...they just keep on investigating and working the suspects. I like both approaches as you can probably guess by now.

Tink, Lucky you...I've pretty much seen them all (twice!) and hang on the new seasons and new episodes.

Candy Minx said...

Wandering Coyote, oops, I posted a reply above...but I've had trouble with my keyboard and I must have deleted your name at beginning of my response...so here goes again:

Wandering Coyote,
I am fond of SUV too. I think the thing with "Criminal Intent" and Bobby Goren's character is kind of like tasting strange new food. It's an aquired taste. I didn't take to it right away...it slowly grew on me. I find that one has to really like Sherlock Holmes and Columbo to understand Goren's character. Funny you should think he treats Eames poorly. I actually think they have a whole vibe of being very much in love and in awe of each other. She brings a different kind of intelligence to the puzzle solving...I find they really look at each other a lot and rest each other. In the first season...it is true that she is turned off by him...but even she uses the phrse "acquired taste" to another character about him in later seasons. I also apologize for any "spoilers" in this post especially with the Martin Short character...maybe I should have posted a spoiler warning at the beginning of the post.

P.S. As Mister Anchovy pointed out...the nature and structure of mystery stories is formulaic. Guest stars fall into this literary device as well. You can see it on Columbo reruns all the time all the famous guest stars are usually the villains...this occurs on L&O too. And if they aren't the actual killers, they usually play corrupt or nasty people ...so pretty much for sure if there is someone famous on the program...chances are...they are a villain. One of the exceptions to this rule is guest star Jerry Lewis.

And Olivia Benson really is a massive talent and I agree a great female character on tv right now. I also have a warm spot for her because the actor is in real life, Jane Mansfeild's daughter.

Gardenia said...

This is my "comfort" TV - don't know why. Just seems steady and familiar I guess. I still watch it. And I love "Olivia." (Good Girl).

Gardenia said...

P.S. I think I agree with Mr. Anchovy - the simple structure of the shows brings me back time and time again -

Malcolm said...

Although I don't watch any of them much, I catch the original L&O on occasion. Because you can practically catch a show from the L&O franchise at any given time, I think I am guilty of taking them for granted. I will say that every time I watch one of the shows, I am engrossed. One thing I like about the shows is that they get some of the best acting talent (often from the stage or NY based soaps) to do guest shots.

Rebecca said...

I loved Bobby and Nicole's relationship! He was the only one who understood her, and she was the only who understood him. She was so smart! Their snappy conversations were great! Person of Interest was one of my fave episodes!

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L.J. Ferrari said...

You forgot Olivia d'Abo as Nicole Wallace on Law and Order Criminal Intent... WOW

Its too complicated to comment.