When I was younger, I loved television. There were tons of great programs that…well, OK, some of them weren’t great, but they were fun. Airwolf, The A-Team, Miami Vice, MacGuyver, and a ton of others showed Hollywood knew how to entertain.
These days, I don’t watch much network TV.
It’s not because the networks can’t be as edgy as cable or streaming services, either. It’s because the shows generally suck.
One that I used to enjoy was Law & Order. You could just tune in whenever, enjoy it, and then not watch it for two months and not really miss much. There were no overaching plot points, no prosecutors busting down doors themselves in the hunt of a killer, none of that. In fact, the police investigation doesn’t even go on that long, which is pretty realistic.
However, I don’t watch it all that much now because the show has its moments when it gets preachy, and a recent episode is a prime example of that.
The gun control debate took center stage in Law & Order’s Season 22 finale, which aired on Thursday night.
Tensions were high after a U.S. senator was shot and killed at his daughter’s wedding. After reviewing footage from the incident, Shaw and Cosgrove realized their suspect was a waiter whose face was obscured by a KN95 mask. (He might have been a murderer, but at least he was being COVID-conscious.)
The detectives eventually found their guy, Derek Quinn, who was distraught and ready to end his life over the rampant gun violence in the country. He was upset with the senator for changing his vote on a gun law. Shaw talked Derek down, and officers took him into custody.
Now, it’s later revealed that this person survived what was described as one of the worst school shootings in history and it deeply affected them.
That’s important because it shows that this was an anti-gun person and was upset that the senator voted against a gun control measure.
This reflects the “ripped from the headlines” approach that has marked Law & Order for years since the anti-gun motivations reflect those of the Louisville shooter.
So where does the show take this from here?
During a press conference, Jack McCoy revealed that this case would be prosecuted in state court.
“Gun violence is a national plague. The only way to affect real change is to move past all the political acrimony and pass strong and effective common sense gun control legislation,” he told reporters. “The question for all of us is, ‘Had enough?’ We can’t become a place where people settle their political differences at the point of gun, or where talented and passionate men and women avoid public service out of fear for their lives.”
That’s right. The answer to a gun control supporter killing someone in an act of domestic terrorism is clearly to give them exactly what they want.
And Hollywood wonders why so many people literally hate them.
Let’s be real here, it wouldn’t have mattered all that much if the killer’s motivations hadn’t been political. The interjection of politics into a show where it doesn’t belong is jarring, to say the least. Law & Order’s appeal has always been the fact that the show didn’t do much beyond focusing on the cases themselves.
In the 22 seasons the show has been on the air, how many murders were featured? They’re almost always murders, after all, since that’s the sexy crime. Of those, how many featured a firearm? A bunch.
Until now, they generally left the politics alone. They simply focused on the crime itself and while people said stupid things now and then, well, it was fine because people say stupid things now and then in real life as well.
Yet Hollywood–and television, even if based in New York, is part of Hollywood in the minds of most people–cannot let an opportunity go to try and slant the public’s opinion on anything.
Here, it’s guns, but it’ll be something else on some show tonight or tomorrow night. We all know it, too.
It’s why Hollywood sucks and why entertainment as an industry sucks.