'Law ' Order' versus the GOP

NBC’s “Law & Order” franchise sure likes to needle the GOP.

On Sunday, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” gave its famous “ripped from the headlines” treatment to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

NBC’s “Law & Order” franchise sure likes to needle the GOP.

On Sunday, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” gave its famous “ripped from the headlines” treatment to the Jack Abramoff scandal.

An NBC spokeswoman did not return a call for comment, but the parallels seem all too clear: a murder of a Secret Service agent in her home had detectives snooping around the clients of her husband, “a well-connected lobbyist who is working both for and against an unpopular tribal Indian gaming casino.”

What’s more, said the show’s promo, they uncover “his curious dealings with a slippery congressman.”

The show aired only two days after Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) tussled with Richard Belzer, the actor who plays Detective John Munch on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

On HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Ros-Lehtinen said that servicemen she’s met in Iraq tell her: “We’re proud of our mission. We know what we’re doing over here. We don’t want you guys in Washington to lose it over there.”

Belzer, a noted conspiracy theorist, questioned the troops’ credibility on the matter, saying, “You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They’re 19- and 20-year-old kids who couldn’t get a job. … They don’t read 20 newspapers a day.”

He also twice cursed in the congresswoman’s direction.

Reached for comment this week, Ros-Lehtinen said, “The actor displayed a typical Hollywood reaction of scorn, derision and condescension to the brave men and women who proudly wear our nation’s uniform. He basically labeled them as uneducated know-nothings who sought refuge in the armed forces because they weren’t able to secure employment elsewhere. Attacks like these thankfully are not shared by the residents of my congressional district who value honor, service and patriotism.”

It’s not the first time that the “Law & Order” franchise has run afoul of the GOP. An 2005 episode of “Criminal Intent” had a detective, who was investigating the murders of judges, say, “Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-Shirt.”

DeLay, then the majority leader, wrote to Jeff Zucker, president of Universal Television Group, calling the reference “a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse.”

Dick Wolf, the series’ producer, said at the time, “I do congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a television show.”


Members trek to Austin for SXSW Fest

Five members of Congress joined the likes of the Beastie Boys, the Pretenders, the Flaming Lips and Belle & Sebastian on the bill at the 20th annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin last week.

Austin’s own Rep. Michael McCaul (R), along with Reps. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.), Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Linda S