Last May, NBC took a big gamble: The network announced that it would cancel Law & Order after 20 seasons on the air. But it was also letting the franchise open an outpost in Los Angeles. Some longtime fans called it a crime, insisting that New York City itself was as much a part of the show as courtroom showdowns or murder weapons. Others pointed out that NBC really shouldn't be in the gambling business. (Look how things turned out for Conan O'Brien.)
But as Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC, 10 p.m. ET) premieres this Wednesday, it has a lot going for it. In an interview on NBC's site, executive producer Dick Wolf sounds positively giddy about the new location. "If you think of the two polar opposites in the U.S., it would be L.A. and N.Y.," he says. "The same dichotomy is going to exist on the show. We're going to be doing stories on Law & Order: Los Angeles that are completely different than the stories we did in New York."
In fact, most of the fanfare about the show focuses on the novelty of a new location. "They're really interested in showing the diversity of Los Angeles. Not just Hollywood and not just the beach," says Corey Stoll (Det. Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski). "I think the aim is to have Los Angeles be a character in this like New York was in the original."
So, if Los Angeles is a character, what's she like? Sunny and beautiful, maybe -- but also a little misguided. "Los Angeles is still the City of Dreams," says Terrence Howard (D.D.A. Jonah "Joe" Dekker). "It's still La-La Land. So oftentimes you think that you can buy your way out of the courtroom."
L.A. personified would probably be the type who's always running late, but makes up for it with extra charm when she arrives. "There's a different sense of time and a different sense of how people interact with each other here," says Skeet Ulrich (Det. Rex Winters). "There's a lot more going on behind closed doors in L.A."
So she's wily, too. Can Dick Wolf bring Los Angeles to life like he did with gruff and gritty New York City? It's worth tuning in just to find that out.
Do you plan to check out Law & Order: Los Angeles? Chime in below!