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The Law & Order Database
November 14, 2012 8:46 AM   Subscribe

The Law & Order Database is complete. Which characters had the highest success rate?
posted by Egg Shen (26 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
"No, we're not offering a plea. An eight year-old girl is dead because he didn't properly secure his trained attack dog. He knew that kennel door had rusty hinges and did nothing to replace them. I don't care if he's the mayor's son. If it ruffles the feathers of some powerful people, let them come after me. We're taking this to trial."
posted by Iridic at 8:53 AM on November 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Guilty or Not Guilty are such outdated metrics. You really need to adjust for Judge Effects and calculate Convictions Above Replacement.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:01 AM on November 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


The highest success rates almost completely correlate to the worst characters.
posted by General Malaise at 9:03 AM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


The show lost its charm when [Jerry Orbach died] Det. Lenny Briscoe left
posted by Renoroc at 9:05 AM on November 14, 2012


The highest success rates almost completely correlate to the worst characters.

You take that back about ... Rey Curtis? Okay, yeah.
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on November 14, 2012


So it really wasn't because she was a lesbian.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Quite impressive work they did on the database! The last graph is pretty telling though.

In other words, the 95% Success Rate was the Law & Order equivalent of Fonzie jumping the shark.

Yeah, that pretty much sums up the later seasons for me. Doesn't mean I won't still catch them from time to time when I'm bored and need to distract myself though.
posted by noonewilleverloveyou at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2012


Sorry but none of these detective are good enough to recommend for posting to the Major Case Squad*. Detective Cassady may have a 95% clearance rate, but her problems with suspect interrogation suggests she is not yet experienced enough for the sensitivities of Major Cases.

*back when that meant something; first 4 seasons or so
posted by Bwithh at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was thinking more like Nina Cassady, Nora Lewin and Jamie Ross in cases when n > 3. Although, it can be argued that when n < 3, it correlates to the worst of two/three good ones.
posted by General Malaise at 9:08 AM on November 14, 2012


So it really wasn't because she was a lesbian.

As a man, I can exploit the legendary WTF-ness of that line to maximum effect.

Mrs. Shen: Do you know why I'm upset that you didn't take out the garbage?

Me: It's because I'm a lesbian, isn't it!

posted by Egg Shen at 9:12 AM on November 14, 2012


The highest success rates almost completely correlate to the worst characters.

Not just worst but most forgettable and generic. I think there's a little bit of a story-bias effect here, where the writers at least occasionally tend to undercut the characters and actors who seem the most forceful and human (comparatively, this is L&O so they're all basically robotic talking-heads) because it makes for a more compelling story. Whereas the weaker actors and more underwritten "characters" are just less fun to watch lose, because they can't do enough with the emotional situation to make it interesting, so they end up in more of the storylines where the focus is on the perps, with a good conviction to send everyone home happy. Though honestly I'm surprised how small all the differences are here.
posted by RogerB at 9:14 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


General Malaise: “The highest success rates almost completely correlate to the worst characters.”

You say "almost," I presume, because of Anita Van Buren's record, which soundly trounces the cookie-cutter "police captain" character Donald Cragen. She's probably the best thing about the show, in my mind anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 9:24 AM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Related: here's a map of every address shown onscreen on one of those

SLEAZY BOYFRIEND'S APARTMENT
301 E. 75TH ST
JUNE 4


cards in SVU.
posted by theodolite at 9:24 AM on November 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


You say "almost," I presume, because of Anita Van Buren's record, which soundly trounces the cookie-cutter "police captain" character Donald Cragen. She's probably the best thing about the show, in my mind anyway.

I hoped she'd get her own spinoff.

[opening v.o.]

There's the law. And then there's...

VAN BUREN'S LAW

posted by Egg Shen at 9:27 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


What I like about L&O is how, over the course of the twenty year run of the show, you can spot the changes in social concerns and changes in technology. For example, the widespread adoption of cell phones in the late 90's and early 00's occurs during the run of the show and it's really obvious in its effects on the show.
posted by RichardP at 9:33 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Jamie Ross was my favorite ADA law-wise.

Claire Kincaid was my favorite character wise.
posted by zizzle at 9:49 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just came here to say Go Jamie! Always my favorite, because she had unflinching courage. And she didn't hop into bed with Jack, either.

Also, I never understand how any other version of L&O, particularly SVU, is even comparable to the original.

*Ding! Ding!*
posted by bearwife at 9:55 AM on November 14, 2012


Anita Van Buren's [...] probably the best thing about the show
If only because I'm always like, "Hey! Reba the Mail Lady made police Lieutenant!"
posted by usonian at 10:01 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


If anyone has not clicked on Iridic's link in the first comment, you should really do that. Now.

It's the Onion AV Club commentariat scripting their platonic ideal of a L&O episode, and it is pure art.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:30 AM on November 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is great, and will encourage me to do the kind of strange data things I like to do, but has anyone settled whether its CHUNG! CHUNG! or DOINK! DOINK! yet?
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2012


I'm just glad to see Nate Silver's keeping himself busy during the off-season.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:21 AM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]



has anyone settled whether its CHUNG! CHUNG! or DOINK! DOINK! yet?


That was discussed previously-- that thread is a goldmine of funny too.
posted by travertina at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2012


I'm not sure if it was a phenomena exclusive to SVU, but if Benson or Stabler told a reluctant witness "don't worry, we'll protect you", the character is invariably dead by act III.
posted by dr_dank at 12:18 PM on November 14, 2012


I refuse to accept the legitimacy of any metric that doesn't put Detective Briscoe at the top. If they want me to buy their fancy math, they need to cook these numbers until they come up with some sort of WAR (CAR?) metric that puts Lenny so far out of reach that it makes Cy Young look like a middle reliever for the Portland Sea Dogs.
posted by Mayor West at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm super into L&O. I'm afraid to click that link because I have to leave the apartment at some point today. I have the giant box set of all 20 seasons and one of the things I've noticed, going back and watching the entirety of, say, season 3-5 through a weekend where I didn't have to leave the apartment, is how contemporary it still seems in many respects. They're talking about recessions and hating bankers a lot and there's lots of social issues that keep coming up around abortion and drug crime that is exactly the same today. On the economic front it seems cyclical - it changes a bit in later, mid-run, seasons and then at the end it's back to bad bankers. The social issues never change though - that's always the same.
posted by marylynn at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2012


I'm not sure if it was a phenomena exclusive to SVU, but if Benson or Stabler told a reluctant witness "don't worry, we'll protect you", the character is invariably dead by act III.

I think that's a phenomena that is inclusive of any cop procedural, actually.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:36 PM on November 14, 2012


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