Law & Order - Season 1 - Complete [DVD] 
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The entire 22 episodes from the first season of this long-running, Emmy-winning US drama series, in which the police investigate a crime in first half of each episode, whilst the prosecutors play out the trial in the second half. Episodes are: 'Prescription For Death', 'Subterranean Homeboy Blues', 'The Reaper's Helper', 'Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die', 'Happily Ever After', 'Everybody's Favorite Bagman', 'By Hooker, By Crook', 'Poison Ivy', 'Indifference', 'Prisoner of Love', 'Out of the Half-Light', 'Life Choice', 'A Death in the Family', 'The Violence of Summer', 'The Torrents of Greed: Parts 1 and 2', 'Mushrooms', 'The Secret Sharers', 'The Serpent's Tooth', 'The Troubles', 'Sonata For a Solo Organ' and finally 'The Blue Wall'.
From its gritty documentary look to its signature note-knocking "tching-tching" that signals scene changes, Law & Order was a groundbreaking cop show when it debuted in 1990. It is television's most resilient series, surviving huge changes to its ensemble. One of the secrets of the show's durability is its compelling structure. The first half of each hour-long episode is a classic police procedural in which "Law", personified in the first season by partners Greevey (George Dzundza) and Mike Logan (Christopher Noth) investigate a crime and make an arrest. The second half chronicles the ensuing trial, as prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) and Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks) under the supervision of Steven Hill's Adam Schiff (more feisty and animated here than in later seasons).
Law & Order is also distinguished by its superb writing. Several episodes take their inspiration from the headlines, including "By Hooker, By Crook" (about a socialite-run call-girl ring) and "Indifference", which recalls the tragic Lisa Steinberg child abuse case. Others deal with such hot-button issues as abortion ("Life Choice") and AIDS ("The Reaper's Helper"). Another plus is the talent pool of character actors who lend their verisimilitude. Guest stars include Samuel L Jackson and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Violence of Summer"), The West Wing's John Spencer ("Prescription for Death"), Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon ("Subterranean Homeboy Blues") and The Sopranos' Dominic Chianese ("Sonata for Stolen Organ"). --Donald Liebenson
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This may sound a little straightforward at first, but this formula is simply a base for the show to build complex and involving storylines concerning the important issues facing the world; racism, abortion and domestic violence are just a few of the topics covered in the first season alone. All of these issues are addressed with sensitivity and subtlety, and never seem sensationalist in their depiction.
The acting from the main cast is excellent, with George Dzundza (Basic Instinct), Chris Noth (Sex and the City) and Dann Florek (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) in the police roles, and Michael Moriarty (Courage Under Fire), Richard Brooks (I've never seen him in anything else) and Steven Hill (Mission Impossible) as the prosecutors. The easy banter between Dzundza and Noth is a highlight of the police segment, and Michael Moriarty is simply incredible during the courtroom scenes (particuly during the episode "Indifference", which remains my favorite L&O episode).
This is a great season of early Law & Order that has aged extremely well (this season began two years before I was born, yet the issues covered remain relevent today). It only gets better from here.
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