Dick Wolf on Law & Order: LA's 'Bold' Revamp: 'The Proof Is In the Pudding' - Will You Watch?

When NBC’s Law & Order: LA resumes its freshman run Monday at 9/8c, the look and feel will be so different, “I’d almost call it Law & Order: LA 2.0,” says franchise boss Dick Wolf. In fact, Wolf deems the double episodes airing next week “better than anything we did in the first 13…. Frankly, the proof is in the pudding.”

What all has changed? More like: What hasn’t? In the first new hour, Skeet Ulrich’s Detective Rex Winters is written out of the series, paving the way for Alfred Molina’s Ricardo Morales to transition to homicide detective, a job he held prior to joining the District Attorney’s office.

“Sometimes someone has to die so that everyone else can live,” Wolf says of Ulrich’s extraction. “It was a very, very painful call to make.” Additionally, Regina Hall and Megan Boone have left the series.

With Morales on the streets, partnered with Corey Stoll’s Detective TJ Jaruszalski, Terrence Howard’s Deputy DA Joe Dekker figures into every episode — and will be joined by Law & Order alumna Alana de la Garza, reprising her role of Connie Rubirosa.

Noting that de la Garza was “well-loved by the mothership audience,” Wolf says, “The opportunity to put her in was too good to pass up.”

“This is a very bold, very audacious step,” Molina said of his increased presence. “But on a personal level, I was very thrilled by the idea, because I love working.”

“Although the one-episode-on/one-episode-off regime was very luxurious,” he adds with a chuckle, “I felt like I was missing out on something. I just hope the audience is as enthusiastic as we are!”

Why didn’t Law & Order: LA get things so right the first go-round? Wolf says he was originally presented with a plan that had the original Law & Order bowing out with a final salvo of episodes in fall 2010, setting the table for LOLA‘s debut. But when the mothership instead got canceled wholesale last spring, “We were very much in a breakneck race to get [LOLA] on the fall schedule in time.” And having never shot a proper pilot, “This was basically a transition at 60 miles-per-hour, which is never the first choice.”


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81 Comments
  1. Angie says:

    No Skeet, not watching. Bye LA!

    • BonnieW says:

      Ditto that! He’s the only reason I tuned in.

    • Sandy says:

      Exacly why I will not watch and have in fact already deleted from my DVR line up.

    • Rock Golf says:

      This must be a network first: An hour of prime-time network TV dedicated to Skeet-shooting.

    • CATHERINE says:

      I SO AGREE, NO SKEET…NO L&O:LA. I LIKE THE PARTNER, BUT WON’T BE THE SAME WITHOUT YA SKEET!

    • Lisa says:

      I so agree!!! only reason i watched it to begin with!!!!!!! Had he stayed and Terrance gone i would still watch!!

    • Debra Boyer says:

      How could you get rid of Rex Winters? He was so cute and he was Law and Order LA. I’ve watched EVERY Law and Oder there is including Law and Order UK. So you can tell I’m a true fan. Is there anyway you can bring him back? Maybe say he really didn’t die? I just feel he wasn’t a good choice to loose! By the way I loved the name Rex Winters too. I am sorry the choice you made! Debra Boyer

  2. Lorie says:

    Because Connie is returning, I’ll give LOLA another shot.

  3. H.C says:

    This show is soooo badly broken and messed up, that even these dramatic changes are not enough to save it. This will be another DOA – second time around for LOLA – on NBC.

    Dick should consider changing networks as well. Nothing seems to work on NBC anyway.

    • DL says:

      Well, except for SVU and one of the best shows on TV today – Parenthood.

      • Tad Nathaniel says:

        Totally agree! SVU and Parenthood are good shows. LOLA is so
        headed in the wrong direction. Dick, think with your head – the
        one on your shoulders!

    • John says:

      Nothing on NBC seems to FIND AN AUDIENCE. “Work” is a different story. Thursday night’s 3-hours of comedy presents four of the best shows on TV (and, um, two others). Parenthood and Friday Night Lights are widely acclaimed. And Chuck has the quintessential internet fandom right now. Ratings are rough at the Peacock, but you can’t fault them for having seven of TV Land’s most beloved shows.

    • Micky says:

      And from what I keep hearing ‘Law & Order: Miami’ (or ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Miami’) will be Wolf’s next project to tell a different story about the criminal intent in Miami. I heard D’Onofrio was going to be producing it. I hope Wolf has learned a lesson from this ‘LOLA’ one… I’ll watch because I don’t give a rat’s tail if Skeet is there or not. Doc Ock isn’t that bad IMO.

  4. Richard says:

    There should be a selection in the poll: No – I watched before but am not happy with the cast changes and won’t watch now.

  5. Esaul says:

    Why wasn’t there an option that said: I loved the show from the start and I’m still gonna watch? I’ve been watching from the beginning and didn’t have a problem with it at all, and this is coming from someone who is a HUGE L&O Franchise fan. I just wish they didn’t cancel the original :|

    • Maryann says:

      I totally agree. I didn’t vote because that option was not there.

    • Jasmine says:

      I agree, I preferred the L&O original. I watched LA, liked Skeet, but didn’t care for his partner or Molina. I wanted Chris Noth to join the cast. Also, hope Terrence Howard, the reason I tuned in, will be less melodramatic!

    • Dave says:

      I totally agree with that statement! I loved it from the beginning and would totally continue to watch if they put it back on tv. The only thing I wasn’t happy about was the fact they changed the storyline mid-way through the show and never followed up with T.J. going after the guy that killed his partner. They ended that one episode with Det. Morales calling his partner and looked like the phone was just ringing on a bed in some hotel room. I watch the next episode and all of a sudden Det. Winters was resurrected from the dead. Weird episode sequences!

  6. Amanda says:

    Skeet was the whole reason I gave that show a chance to begin with. Won’t watch it now.

  7. MJ says:

    Skeet was the only thing worth watching before… I’ll give this cast a pass.

  8. dan says:

    i won’t watch until skeet is back

  9. Mykey716 says:

    I’m willing to give it a 2nd chance (cuz I really didn’t like it at first…and I’ve watched all of the L&O shows…including Trial by Jury)
    The only concept I have a problem with is a former cop, going thru law school, becomes DA and now wants to go BACK to being a cop??? Who are we kidding?? And I can’t believe the Police/Detectives Unions would allow him to return at the same level as when he left (Molina’s character was a detective before being DA and now is back as a detective)….Talk about suspending one’s disbelief!!!

    • Esaul says:

      Why is that so hard to believe? Lupo on the Mothership was studying law at night while being a detective, I’m sure it can work the other way around just as easily, as long as he has the required training/education/etc. for the job.

      • V says:

        Seriously???? You think some would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school for 4 years just to go back to being a detective? I mean not only is it a step back for them career wise, but there’s also the issue of the very LARGE pay cut. I don’t care if you’ve been a detective for 40 years, your salary is hstill no where near as high as a DA. Unless he’s got a trust fund, this scenario is completely unrealistic

    • Amber says:

      Very early episodes of the mothership show (haha, saying it makes me laugh), featured Jerry Orbach as a defense lawyer before he joined the cast as a detective, which means he went from defending bad guys to catching them. I believe he became a detective after the death of Paul Sorvino’s detective character, if I’m remembering correctly. I think that was way more far-fetched than what they’re doing with Molina, yet making that kind of change with Orbach never seemed to hurt the mothership show. And Jerry Orbach became BELOVED as Detective Briscoe. Seriously, who doesn’t miss Jerry Orbach? It’s possible Molina can make the same kind of transition successfully.

  10. kristine says:

    you know what else was liked by the “mothership” audience? the mothership series.

    will watch for de la Garza, but I’m not too thrilled either way.

  11. Eric says:

    Why not an option for “They should give the Original L&O a proper ending”? 20 years on the air and it’s summarily canceled with no recognition of its tentpole status at the network?

    No wonder NBC is fading fast. It has no loyalty for its programming and its viewers have no loyalty to the network.

    • Amber says:

      I click the “like” button for your comment. It reminds me of a Tracy Jordan quote from 30 Rock….”Law and order was a tentpole! A tentpole!”

  12. Kayk says:

    NO SKEET! NO LOLA! NUTS!

  13. L. says:

    I agree that the original should have been at least given a proper ending. The last group of actors on the original were really good and the show was getting better every week. I had begun looking forward to seeing it instead of putting it on if nothing else was on. The only reason I watched LA was because of Skeet Ulrich. Now I have no reason to watch. I think the show just didn’t work in the L&O format. I don’t know why, it just didn’t.

    Sorry, but I won’t be giving it another try.

  14. enoughenoughnow! says:

    This is a bad move. Not sure how it will all really play out each week. I have to say, Skeet was one of the reasons that I stayed with the show. The other detective is cold and drab. Skeet was strong enough to pull you in each week and keep you wanting more. You have to watch those quiet types, they are deliciously sneaky and seductive in their covert way. Alfred Molina, a very good actor, Terrance Howard also deep and quiet will be fun to watch. I dislike the other L & O programs, so the addition of the females is nothing to look forward to. I have to say that I get a kick out of the Law & Order UK version though on BBCA. It is thorough and to the point but has me wanting more each week. RIP Rex Winters, we hardly got to know ya’. Skeet, I hope you show up on the screen very soon. You are addictive and I need a fix. I will give this show a chance, LA has enough crazy to go around no matter who is there each week to try to make it safe. ;)

  15. jay says:

    Skeet Ulrich was the only character on the show that I actually liked. He wasn’t the problem, it was the terrible scripts. Without him, this show has no chance. I have no interest in watching it now. The premise that Alfred Molina’s character would go from a prosecutor, back to a cop, tells me all I need to know. That horrendous writing staff is the group that needed to be revamped! That is a ridiculous storyline!

  16. Jon says:

    I will not be watching. As much as I love Molina and really appreciate Corey Stoll, I cannot watch Terrence Howard on a weekly basis.

    I cannot stand his acting. He seems to be on the verge of crying in every scene, and he almost never seems to modulate his voice. He just isn’t for me, and him being in every episode equals me skipping every episode.

  17. Jared says:

    Main question: Will there be a traditional opening credits? That’s what we need!

  18. MikNMinMouse says:

    Okay not great choices for the poll because I watched before and I really liked the original characters especially skeet.

  19. Bennie says:

    Maybe if they bite the bullet and give the mothership a proper send-off season, as they are doing Criminal Intent, then perhaps I can find the motivation to tune into LOLA. Because the mothership was not given a record-breaking final season that left a bad taste for anyone who considered viewing LOLA. I’m happy De la Garza is back, but without Linus Roache and the rest of the NYC cast it feels like a desperate bid to make up for the cancellation for one of the best shows on TV.

  20. stefb says:

    to the person who thinks being a cop over a lawyer is a “step back” – some people are cops because they want to be cops – it’s not always about $. Oh and trust me, an NY ADA does not make much more…

    • jj says:

      He is an LA DA switching to cop and it is a ridiculous storyline. Molina looks nothing like a cop in appearance or mannerisms.

      LOLA is DOA

  21. Anna says:

    Guys, this ain’t the Mothership, it’s spinoff # 4 or 5 (remember L&O Trial By Jury and Conviction?)

    I still watch SVU, and will catch the finale of Criminal Intent. I’ll say goodbye to Skeet via DVR then…

  22. DH says:

    Skeet who! Ulrich was never right to begin with…..Molina is perfect for the new role and with Alana back this looks like a real winer. I loved her hats in NYC winters….let’s hope she adds some swimwear to her wardrobe to catch some left coast rays!

  23. Bellboy says:

    Sooooo GLAD they got rid of skeet! The man is an eye-brow actor, a total stiff, can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If anything was dragging down the show it was him. They have the same writing crew that did great work on the last three years of the mothership, many of the same directors. And now a solid cast all round.

    • jj says:

      The ratings tell a different story. A lot of people tuned out once they heard he was being killed off. The DVR’s the episode and watched at a diff time to protest. 5.9 million looks good on you NBC.

  24. maggie says:

    Why not have as an option:
    Want them to bring back original L&O please.

  25. Amber says:

    Mothership show…hahahahaha. That’s hilarious. I do think they should have considered keeping Skeet and killing off the other detective because the show needs some young energy a la Detective Lupo. It needs some eye candy for the ladies. Though I am happy for Rubirosa’s return. They should also bring back Sam Waterston, and well, anyone from the mothership show. And then just move it back to New York and drop LA from the title. lol. I have a lot of theories on why LOLA wasn’t working, and one of them is simply because the particular style of show L&O is just works best in NY. It gives it a gritty, gray feeling. No sunshine and happiness in the mothership show or SVU, just gray, gray days. LA is too sunny and glamorous to work well as a setting for a dark, gritty, crime drama. Though Southland is able to pull it off, and I do love Southland, so I’m not sure how they’re succeeding so well with an LA cop show there. It still has a really cold, dark feeling to it despite all the sunshine. I think it must be something about the temperature of light they use to shoot the show in, like they always shoot in the middle of the day when the color of the sunlight is at its coldest. Anyhoo…that’s a crazy theory of mine as to why LOLA wasn’t working when Southland is working.

  26. nomadreader says:

    Um, why does your poll assume no one watched the show? I thought it was sensational. I hope 2.0 is just as good because the first 13 episodes were fantastic.

  27. Tania says:

    I prefer the original. Adding Alana de la Garza to this new version was nothing but a cheap tactic to keep the series from getting canceled. You blew it (at least with me) Dick Wolf. It is now SVU, the final season of CI and the UK version of L&O for me.

  28. Rachael says:

    I think it’s a great move. I tried watching one whole episode, and while I did finish it, it was a bit painful. I was shocked because I could watch L&O all day long. The characters seemed out of place, specifically Ricardo Morales in the DA’s office. The cops were boring and probably because of this, it was hard to feel anything for the victims. Bringing back Connie is perfect too. The show, as any of the law & orders, has promise. I’ll give it another shot when it comes back.

  29. Kathy Kitt says:

    I have no problem with Molina changing jobs but, just for the record, Jerry Orbach played different characters. L&Ooften used the same actors over and over again. I think Connie coming to the show can only help; toward the end she was the only reason I watched L&O.

  30. Tina says:

    Looking forward this series. Looks great!!

  31. becki says:

    I’d rather look @Skeet than British Molina, but with De La Garza back, I too will give it another look. Love that Terrence Howard.

  32. becki says:

    Everyone I talked with did not like LOLA. Maybe now with DeLaGarza back & grittier parts of L.A. shown I might enjoy it. I wish Lupo was in the show too. It’s not location, location..but better storytelling. I’ll give it a second chance. Good luck!

  33. Kaiulani says:

    Will watch because a bad L&O is still better then most things on these days.

  34. M Brown says:

    No reason to watch since they dumped Skeet

  35. Mike says:

    why skeet? why cant they get rid of the goofy looking prick with the cheesy 70’s porn mustache? I was so hoping it would be skeet and molina and the lead detectives… what a let down! i dont think i will be turning back in

  36. Suz says:

    I’ll give it a try for Alana De La Garza – but Connie without Mike Cutter is like PB without the J.

  37. Randy says:

    I was just starting to get into the show with Skeet.

  38. Joe Jackson says:

    Howard was the weak link and now he is in twice as many episodes

    Crazy

  39. Gail says:

    I am going to pass on the show b/c I only watched it for Skeet.

  40. Meagan says:

    With Skeet moving on, I’ll be going with him.

  41. DotDotDot says:

    I’d be more likely to watch if they wrote original stories instead of “ripped off from the headlines.” If I already saw how a story played out in the news, I don’t really want to sit through the same story on L&O.

    • John says:

      They only take the IDEA for the story from the headlines – what they do with the idea is completely original. The stories generally DON’T play out the same way they do in real life.

  42. Emily says:

    I loved Skeet on Jericho and watched LOLA for him, but they really didn’t let his strengths shine, his character was supposed to be a non-emotional, silent type and Skeet is at his best playing more conflicted, tortured souls. I still watched hoping they would flesh out his character more, but alas they decided to kill him off instead. Well, no reason to watch anymore, plus Terrence Howard’s annoying voice drives me crazy. He always sounds like he is on the verge of tears. I hope Skeet, Megan and Regina find much better projects soon.

  43. John says:

    Why do both of the “yes” voting choices seem to imply that if you vote “yes” you’re automatically thinking the show is going to be better now. What about “Yes- I’m not sure it will be as good with the new cast lineup, but I’ll probably at least give it a chance”? That’s how I feel.

  44. Shirley Weaver says:

    I hope they realize they made a big mistake letting Skeet get killed off. Howard is too wishy, washy. They should have gotten rid of him. And Molina as a cop, I don’t think so. I will not be watching the show any more. I hope bigger & better thing for Skeet. All our prayers are with him.

  45. Jess says:

    I liked the original version, and was willing to give the re-boot a chance… But, What’s the point in watching when they’ve given away the entire episode in the promos?

  46. chris says:

    The dialogue and scripts for the first 8 episodes were forced and contrived and hard to watch. Some episodes were stronger than others, and I found Howard unwatchable. Molina was the more convincing DA, so I don’t really understand the switch. Howard has an Ebonics twang and doesn’t pronounce words in a professional manner. The DA to cop story is just forced and awkward and the commercial with Molina explaining the switch is laughable. It looks like and SNL skit and I keep waiting for Toonces the Cat to pull up in the squad car sporting the Stoll ‘Stache. It is just BAD, BAD, BAD. I think they were looking for any way to get one of their fav actresses back in somehow and they had to cut cast. You can tell by the way things played out that they have no idea what they are doing. Why invest my time in this reboot when they will just kill off another character 3 episodes from now? Once Winters dies, so does this viewer. The best part of the show was the LAW side and that is what they shuffle????? Dumb move.

  47. sam says:

    Your poll results are suspect. I find it hard to believe that a higher percentage of people are now going to tune in to this directionless mess. When they have to change things on the fly and still keep Terrance ‘Count Chocula hairline’ Howard and switch Molina to the Octocop — I can’t imagine people would tune in to this CRAP.

    Well, there are a lot of people who watch Jersey Shore, so I guess there is no accounting for taste.

  48. Lana says:

    Love De La Garza but, she needs to be with Cutter and the rest of the original law n order crew.. I’m not watching law n order la if ya paid me…I am however, excited about criminal intent.

  49. C. SImon says:

    Big mistake! The original LOLA cast was superb! Loved it. Am a longtime devoted L & O fan – all three previous shows (original L&, Special Victims, Criminal Intent) but LOVED the new L.A. version — most especially because of the powerhouse cast. Didn’t think it was “broke;” no need to fix. But worst of all, of all the ADAs on all the shows, Alana de la Garza was the most milquetoast one of the whole bunch! Almost zero personality and not that great to look at: anorexic! (She was very striking w/ long hair when she appeared on CSI:Miami, but not much personality then either).

    The cast of LOLA was great — I liked first season. For others, maybe it needed to hit its stride. Or, there might be a little L & O fatigue in the “mothership.” I predict ratings are going to plummet with new changes.

  50. Karen says:

    I too, will no longer watch L&O LA. Skeet Ultich is a wonderful actor and deserves more respect than to be killed off without given a chance. I only watched LA to begin with because I loved him in Jericho. They make it sound like it was because of him, the show was failing. Maybe Mr Wolf and the others should have thought THEIR plan through before rushing to get the show on the air.

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