The Long Line of 'Law & Order' Spinoffs and Spoofs
By Scott Harris Posted May 24th 2010 10:45AM
Indeed, 'Law & Order' has become pervasive over the years. It's almost impossible to avoid the show -- even if you don't watch it. Besides the four domestic spin-offs, the series has spawned numerous imitators and adaptations overseas as well as online and even in your local bookstore, where you'll find novels like 'Law & Order: Dead Line.' With that in mind, we thought this would be a good time to take a fond look back at some of the more unusual spin-offs, spoofs and tie-ins that 'Law & Order' has inspired over the past two decades.
• 'Law & Order: UK' -- While the original American 'Law & Order' franchises have been big hits in Britain for years, 'Law & Order: UK,' which debuted last year, marks the country's first attempt at their own spin-off. The show is also a dream come true for sci-fi fans: 'Battlestar Galactica's' Jamie Bamber handles the law aspect, while 'Doctor Who's' Freema Agyeman anchors the order.
• 'Law & Order: Special Letters Unit' -- Leave it to 'Sesame Street' to put 'Law & Order's' success into perspective: spoofing everything from the ubiquitous chung-chung sound effect to fan favorite Detective Munch himself, the 'Special Letters Unit' helped kids learn both the importance of 'Law & Order' and the difference between a cow and a bull. And for the record, the name's Murray.
• 'Law & Order: Moscow' -- Britain isn't the only foreign power to put their own spin on the 'Law & Order' franchise. But while Russia may not have quite the same number of famous sci-fi stars to headline their version of the show, 'Law & Order: Division of Field Investigation' makes up for it with gritty, pre-Glasnost visual sensibilities. You can almost feel the crime happening right from the start of this opening intro.
• 'Law & Order: Dead on the Money' -- 'Law & Order' didn't just conquer television, it also went multi-media, spawning no fewer than four video game adaptations. The first of these was 'Law & Order: Dead on the Money,' which allowed players in step into the well-worn shoes of legendary NYPD gumshoe Lennie Briscoe. Even the virtual Jerry Orbach looks like a badass.
• 'Law & Order: Paris' -- Redone under the new title 'Paris Criminal Investigations,' the French version of 'Law & Order' has more going for it than simply beautiful scenery and delicious cuisine: International film star Vincent Pérez headlines the decidedly photogenic Parisian cast.
• 'Law & Order: SNL' -- Considering they shared a city for 20 long years, it was inevitable that New York's other television institution, 'Saturday Night Live,' would eventually spoof 'Law & Order.' Amy Poehler did the honors in this skit that was aimed more at the local acting community than at 'L&O' itself. It may have been an inside joke, but it was still a funny one.
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• 'Law & Order: Parigi' -- Foreign translations of the American 'Law & Order' franchise are a dime a dozen, but here's a bit of a new twist: Italy decided to stay true to its European Union brethren by overdubbing the French 'Law & Order' series for Italian broadcast. 'Law & Order: Paris: Italy,' anyone?
• 'Law & Order': The American Spin-offs -- Finally, no review of 'Law & Order's' influence would be complete without a look back at the show's many domestic spin-offs, including 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent,' 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury.' We already showed you this montage featuring the complete casts of all four shows last week in our article about the evolution of 'Law & Order,' but we thought it was worth another look. Thanks for the memories, 'Law & Order.'
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