Or “Law & Order: Nickers and Briefs”. Yes, Law & Order: London is coming to ITV… Great idea, in theory, but what are they up to in the execution?
They’re going to use the original format. This is great, I’ve never really got into the other L&O shows (Dick Wolf, the show’s creator, sees L&O as a brand, each spin off has its own format, unlike CSI which he describes as a franchise, reusing the same format). But they’re also reusing the same scripts from the early shows. Now these are great scripts, for sure (I gave up on L&O around series 8 or 9 and I’m now going back to look at early seasons I missed) but they’ve already made great shows with some really rather good American actors. Why not make some new shows? Why not set it within the L&O universe (an opening episode with an transatlantic crime, crossover a couple of characters like they did with the other shows)?
It’s a produced in cooperation with Wolf by Kudos (Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars, Moving Wallpaper). Kudos have a good track record with high concept shows (though most of them quickly passed their sell by date). But they’ve tended to be anti-realism sort of concepts, whereas the closest thing to the L&O all procedure and no personal life style we’ve had is The Bill of 20 years ago. (In fact, there are a lot of similarities: focused on the job, private lives only ever incidental, stories split between uniform/woodentops and CID/superstars.) Will Kudos gloss it up, add in some time travel, fourth-wall breaking, terrorist threats, clowns and the test-card girl?
The jury’s out here. Torchwood‘s first series was pretty awful generally, but still Chibnall managed to distinguish his episodes as easily the worst. Similarly, his first episode of the second series ensured the only way was up. However, his Doctor Who was a solid effort and although it’s tempting to attribute Torchwood‘s actually becoming good to the fact he hasn’t had any more episodes yet, he is the head writer, so he must have some influence. The verdict will follow the upcoming hat trick of Chibnall episodes that close the series out. In the meantime, Kudus have made him L&O: London showrunner.