My family has been watching Law & Order for pretty much all of the 20 years that it has been on the air. First the original, then a few episodes of SVU and then Criminal Intent.
They’ve been with the show since Chris Noth played Det. Mike Logan–the first time around. They watched Jack McCoy work with Claire Kincaid, Abbie Carmichael, and Connie Rubirosa. They watched Det. Olivia Benson’s hair go from short to longer to shorter to that weird medium-ish length. They’ve been with Det. Robert Goren while he gained those last 30 lbs.
But ask them, or me, or most of the people who watch Law & Order, what these people’s names are and no one has a clue.
It was October, when I was home with my parents watching some Law & Order before the wedding, that we first realized that we have no clue what any of these people’s names are. In the middle of a case, someone referenced Det. Lupo by his first name: Cyrus.
Cyrus Lupo?! What the heck kind of a name is Cyrus Lupo?! And while we were obsessing about his name, and “who would have EVER assumed this guy’s first name was ‘Cyrus,'” we stopped short. What the heck is his partner’s name? I mean, he’s played by Anthony Andersen, I know that much, but what is his name? (It’s Kevin Bernard, by the way).
And so we started going through the cast, past and present, over all three series, trying to figure out if we really new anybody’s name. Elliot Stabler, sure, but him and Olivia spend most of their episodes yelling their names. Lennie Briscoe, yes, but he was so classic, how could you NOT know his name?
But what about Benjamin Bratt’s character, what the heck was his name? And Jesse L. Martin (the guy from Ally McBeal)? What about him? And, okay, I didn’t actually know Goren’s first name until I imdb’d it. And Eames? Her first name? Yeah, not a clue. A.D.A. Casey Novak I knew, but what about Ice T’s character, something Tutuola? Yeah, it’s Fin…or Odafin. And Richard Belzer? It’s Munch, sure, but what Munch? (And don’t you dare say Butt Munch. Gosh, so immature).
Okay, now that I’ve listed half of the cast from the last 2 decades, let me just ask: how many of you knew ANY of these people’s names? And what does it say about a show that is on TV any time, day or night, any day of the week? USA airs SVU marathons like the show is going out of style. And yet? I couldn’t tell you the Captain’s name if you held a gun to my head and threatened to make me my own episode of Law & Order.