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The 11 Best From 2011

December 31st, 2011 11:00am EST
Southland
2011 was a fantastic year for entertainment. Here are my eleven favorite things from the year that's about to wrap, in chronological order...

1. Southland, TNT

(Season 3 began January 4)

I have to admit that I didn't keep up with TNT's gritty Los Angeles cop drama as much as I would have liked; it fell victim to sharing Tuesday nights with three other shows on my watch list. Yet when I did find time to catch it, I was no less than impressed every time.

There's been talk about the show's TV-MA content (allegedly the reason that NBC axed it), but the real talking point should be the st...
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'Law & Order: UK' Recap: 'Fault Lines' (6.07)

November 9th, 2011 10:03pm EST
LOUK
The series six (and possible series) finale of Law & Order: UK sees Kelly From Forensics stabbed to death in her apartment. That pretty much guarantees that the whole episode is going to be awkward. It's also a good one.

DS Brooks and DS Casey probe into Kelly's last hours, from the cabbie that drove her home to the grieving fiancee who inexplicably cleared out their joint savings account. While they're doing so, Sam gets a bit too close to Lucy, a colleague of Kelly's who appears to be a second victim. Ronnie has words with him over it, but they fall on deaf ears. Sam ends up sle...
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'Law & Order: UK' Recap: 'Trial' (6.04)

October 19th, 2011 10:04pm EDT
Law & Order: UK
Usually, things that blow up are fascinating, unless someone gets hurt. That's the catch in this week's Law & Order: UK, when a letter bomb claims the life of an apparently model citizen.

Ronnie and Sam don't understand what could have made their victim a target, especially when there's no shortage of good things being said about him. They're able to trace the composition of the bomb back to someone who did the same back in the early 1970's, but it just becomes a bigger headache when he tells them that his specs were in a how-to book put together by a neo-Nazi group, and they disco...
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'Law & Order: UK' Review: 'Immune' (6.02)

October 5th, 2011 10:07pm EDT
LOUK
It's time for Law & Order: UK fans - time to put our Kleenex boxes down and face the future of our show.

When an armed robbery spins out of control into murder and a hostage situation, Ronnie and new partner Sam get the call to speak for the dead and save the living. They catch a quick break when one of the culprits turns up in the ER, but his lawyer (that's former Red Cap star Tamzin Outhwaite) demands her client gets a deal before he gives them the location of the hostage. This does not sit well with Sam, but over his objection, Sharpe gives the cops ten hours to find the hostag...
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'Law & Order: UK' 6.01 'Survivor's Guilt' Review

September 28th, 2011 10:00pm EDT
LOUK
This is a Law & Order: UK review I really didn't want to write, because as a fan, it's an episode that I didn't want to face. It's not so much the conclusion of a story as it feels like a forty-odd minute long counseling session - and one that's needed.

Picking up where "Deal" left off, "Survivor's Guilt" gives us a quick answer to our burning question: Matt Devlin is dead. Jamie Bamber isn't present for a frame of it, but Matt's felt the whole way through. I'd expect nothing less as we - head writer Emilia di Girolamo and the audience as a collective - are paying our respects to a...
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'Law & Order: UK' 5.06 'Deal' Review

September 21st, 2011 10:12pm EDT
Law & Order: UK
It's the ultimate rude awakening: discovering that your significant other has been shot to death in bed beside you. On that startling note, welcome to this week's Law & Order: UK - a sharp and startling potential goodbye to someone we love.

DS Brooks and DS Devlin initially suspect the victim's husband, but are taken aback when they realize that the fatal shot actually came from a window across the estate, where drug dealers and their buyers are known to congregate. A witness helps them locate Kaden Blake, a thirteen-year-old whose mother is an addict and so it's not a reach that ...
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'Law & Order: UK' 5.05 'Intent' Review

September 15th, 2011 4:16am EDT
LOUK
As far as crime dramas go, this week's Law & Order: UK appears at first glance to be garden-variety: Brooks and Devlin catch the case of a couple stabbed to death in their home. Yet as this is LOUK, that's hardly all.

When they discover that the former owner of the house was a banker under fire for an apparent hedge fund scam, our heroes meet her husband (Cambridge Spies star Samuel West), who likes to drink and is prone to blackouts. One of those might explain how his bloody thumbprint was found at the crime scene. His recollections are murky, and no one's sure how liable he is fo...
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'Law & Order: UK' 5.04 'Tick Tock' Review

September 7th, 2011 10:11pm EDT
LOUK
Brooks and Devlin have their hands full this week on Law & Order: UK (when do they not, admittedly?) when they catch a double murder at a nightclub, followed within the half-hour by another shooting in a nearby convenience store and a fourth body in the trunk of a car - all the work of a trigger-happy, mask-wearing couple.

Ex-soldier, ex-con Andy Bishop and his ex-girlfriend Joanne have some issues, especially when she accidentally shoots him during a standoff with Ronnie and about a half-dozen SWAT cops. Andy dies, and that leaves Joanne to be prosecuted. Was she a willing partici...
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'Law & Order: UK' 5.02 'Safe' Review

August 25th, 2011 3:48am EDT
Law & Order: UK
If there's one thing I took away from this week's Law & Order: UK, it's that we really don't give its cast enough credit. The episode makes clear that it takes a lot to be so good for so long.

The actors have everything they should need in a well-crafted script by head writer Emilia di Girolamo (check out my recent interview with her here). She's been around long enough to know that it's not just about the case of the week, but those little moments scattered throughout that give us glimpses into who these characters are and why we should care about them.

This extends even to the one...
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'Law & Order: UK' 5.01 'The Wrong Man' Review

August 17th, 2011 10:01pm EDT
LOUK
Law & Order: UK quickly became one of my favorite crime dramas on television once it arrived on US airwaves. Yet ever since the end of the previous series, I couldn't help but wonder: could the show survive the departure of two lead actors, including the incomparable Ben Daniels?

Yes, it can. It's not the same show - but it could never be. What it is, is still a fine piece of dramatic television.

Suzanne Morton dies four hours after developing flu-like symptoms, and it's the third inexplicable loss in the same hospital department within six months. That makes it worthy of investigati...
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Q&A: 'Law & Order: UK' Head Writer Emilia di Girolamo

August 17th, 2011 3:09pm EDT
LOUK
Law & Order: UK is one of the best crime dramas on television, on either side of the Atlantic. As the series returns to BBC America tonight (9 PM ET/PT), I sat down with LOUK's lead writer and a dear friend of mine, Emilia di Girolamo, to talk about what's ahead - like the previously announced cast changes - and how she and the talented team have injected new life into the Law & Order franchise.

Getting the basic question out of the way: how did you come to be involved with the show? What made you interested in it?

I was a huge fan of the mothership and in particular SVU, so when I fo...
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My Favorite TV Police

May 28th, 2011 3:00pm EDT
The Chicago Code
There's no group of people that I love seeing on the small screen than the police. Having been there and done that, I have a certain affection for good portrayals of the men and women in law enforcement. Now that we've recently celebrated Police Week, here's my tribute to the TV cops (note: not federal agents or anything else - just cops!) who've left impressions on me over the years.

Sergeant Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and Detective Ben Gannon (Harry Morgan), NBC's Dragnet

My earliest memories of TV cops have to do with one of the most storied franchises in the genre. Thanks to Nick ...
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'Law & Order: UK' 4.06 'Skeletons' Review

April 8th, 2011 10:14pm EDT
Now we come to the Law & Order: UK episode I didn't want to come to.

"Skeletons," the last episode for Ben Daniels and Bill Paterson (as series regulars, anyway), hits the ground running, with Matt and Ronnie on the hunt to rescue a missing child whom they find murdered. We're told that the crime matches the modus operandi of an incarcerated serial killer. The first death is followed in short order by a second murder; no wonder why Matt chooses now to have a relapse of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. There's one common thread between the two children - both had run-ins with a secur...
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