Friday 25 March 2011

Law & Order: Real People

            I recently returned to the US after several months abroad. And when I think of the United States (discounting my family and friends, of course), I think of one thing: Law & Order. (Dear Creator of the show: If you send me free DVDs, I promise to name drop the show on a regular basis.) I used to be all about Law & Order: SVU, but regular Law & Order has grown on me the past few years, courtesy of incessant re-runs on TNT and the sheer awesomeness of Lennie Briscoe, greatest fictional cop ever. I have even seen a few episodes of Law & Order: UK (I especially like scenes in the Old Bailey robing room, where you get to watch the lawyers put on those goofy wigs). I have also watched Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but that Goren guy creeped me out.
            What does this have to do with Dicks, you ask? Well, the man behind the magic is Dick Wolf. I had to resort to Wikipedia for information on Dick because the only thing I know about him is that he created Law & Order. And, truthfully, that’s really all you need to know.
            Dick Wolf was born Richard Anthony Wolf on 20 December 1946. His father was an advertising executive, and he must have been rich because Wolf went to Phillips Academy and the University of Pennsylvania (graduated 1969). Sadly, Wolf was a classmate of George W. Bush’s and supported his bid for the presidency! Wretched! That’s almost enough to make me stop watching Law & Order, but, like a hardened crack addict, I know I will be back soon for my next fix.
            Let’s move on to another Dick associated with the venerable Law & Order franchise: Richard Belzer, who plays John Munch on SVU. He was born 4 August 1944 in Connecticut, and it seems to have taken him a while to find his professional feet. He was kicked out of the army for failing to adequately adjust to military life, after which he learned and taught yoga. He then became a stand-up comedian (which he still does at times), and finally an actor. According to Wikipedia, he supported John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, so I’ll give him more coverage. Apparently, he is a bit of a conspiracy theorist, just like his character John Munch. He also survived testicular cancer in 1984, which he used for material in his 1997 HBO Comedy Special “Another Lone Nut.” That’s quality right there. In 1985, he had Hulk Hogan on his cable show and asked the Hulk to show him a wrestling move. Hulk declined, Belzer persisted, and eventually Hulk put Belzer in a hold that caused Belzer to pass out and hit and cut his head on the floor when released. Hilarious. Apparently Belzer sued Hulk, but they settled out of court, which only seems fair since Belzer asked for it.
            In the end, I think Belzer will pretty much end up synonymous with John Munch for he has played that character in episodes for eight different television series and one Jimmy Kimmel Live! sketch. Munch is/was a main character on Law & Order: SVU and Homicide: Life on the Street, but he has also appeared in four episodes of regular Law & Order, and one episode each of The X-Files, The Beat, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Arrested Development, and The Wire. Munch even appears in an episode of 30 Rock, when the characters are watching an episode of SVU. It would appear that John Munch has himself become part of a television conspiracy, to appear in as many shows as possible, so he better get on a plane soon and make his way to both London and Los Angeles. Those incarnations of Law & Order clearly won’t be complete until Munch has visited.
            Finally, there is Richard Brooks, who played ADA Paul Robinette on Law & Order seasons 1-3. Brooks was born 7 December 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio and studied at Interlochen Academy of Arts in Michigan. He had done some acting before Law & Order, but that’s probably his most famous role. Brooks has done some directing, and he has his own production company Flat Top Entertainment. This must be named after the epic flattop he wore as Robinette. Man, that haircut was something else. Speaking of flattops, Brooks also released a solo R & B album in 2000 with Flap Top Records.
            So there you have it, the real Dicks of the Law & Order family. I’m a bit sad to learn Dick Wolf supported the Dubbya, but no one’s perfect. However, given the state of the country back in 2004, I think that Wolf could be charged with “depraved indifference.” Have at him, McCoy!

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