Last night was the HUGE series finale event for Lost, and I watched it just like everyone else. But honestly, for me tonight’s series finale of Law & Order is more of a blow. Twenty years of “BONG BONG” are coming to an end in 30 minutes, and without the fanfare and big story wrap-up that Lost had. I’m hoping this episode is epic, but I suspect it will do what this show has been doing for 2/3 of my life: quietly existing in the background, being a genius little powerhouse of ethics, morals, and the ups and downs of the US judicial system. I have always loved it, and nothing is more comforting to me than having reruns on while I go about my life around the house.

Who was my favorite detective pair?

Briscoe and Green, definitely.

What was my favorite era of the show? 1996-2000. They tackled some deep, hard-hitting issues during the years leading up to 9/11 (before everything everywhere in America changed). These were the years when the nuances of the legal system, pushing the limits of police procedures and behavior, and the sometimes glorious/sometimes unsettling elements of the US legal system were front and center. I feel like everything I know about law in America has come from watching this show, and more than once I’ve caught myself referencing L&O when explaining a real element of US law to Adam (we have a surprisingly large number of conversations comparing US to UK law).

In the past few seasons the show has become a little less exciting, a little more phoned in. I love seeing Detective Anita Van Buren’s struggle with cancer, that has saved the recent years for me. But it’s always been great to watch, and at times mind blowing in its willingness to tackle unpopular or ahead-of-its-time subjects.

And who was the best DA? Do I even have to say it?

Has any TV boss ever been as complex, fair, stubborn, and grumpy as DA Adam Schiff? “You do what you have to do, you’re still welcome to my scotch.” Who can forget the episode when, with his wife on life support, he and Jack McCoy go after the governor of NY for trying to decide when to use the death penalty? And his support of ADA Jamie Ross as she goes against them and works with the special prosecutor for a Murder One charge? The final moments in the hospital, when he tells them they both did great and then goes to take his wife off of life support (perhaps the most heartbreaking scene in all L&O history) is what this character is all about. And why I love this show.

Of all the Law & Order shows, this one was always the best, and it will be missed. Now it’s time to go watch.

**UPDATE: I just finished watching the finale. Now THAT is how you end a show!!