Dick Wolf, the producer of Law and Order, has educated Americans for more than 30 years. His message is that prosecutors and police can do no wrong.
We do not need checks and balances. Power does not corrupt.
That Lord Acton was a fool.
One Hollywood production has a policeman say to a prosecutor:
“What’s wrong with the law that we can’t touch him? Oh, I know, our kind of laws are designed to protect the innocent. It’s not enough we know a man is guilty; we have to prove it.”
The same policeman sticks a gun to a vile suspect’s head and says, “tell me what I want to know, or I’ll pull the trigger.”
The bad guy confesses—the police win. The audience is pleased.
Wolf trains a nation that even if police or prosecutors violate constitutional protections, the bad guy is still defeated. Good triumphs.
Attorney Joseph Tully represents Keith Raniere in his appeal and a motion for a new trial based on allegations of FBI tampering with evidence. I do not know if Wolf would condone evidence tampering if it got a bad guy off the streets.
By Joseph Tully
After three decades of glorifying abuses by the NYPD and government prosecutors, Law & Order mega-producer Dick Wolf announced a new show from the defense’s perspective.
In May 2021, Law & Order: For the Defense was announced for the Fall NBC lineup.
Wolf explained in a statement. “We spent the last 30 years on shows that played offense. Now it will be great to play defense.”
“For the Defense” was green-lit with a straight-to-series order. It was on the Fall schedule.
A few months later, in July, the show was canceled.
The public received no explanation.
I have been a criminal defense attorney for almost as long as Law & Order has been on the air.
In my book “California: State of Collusion,” I wrote a chapter on the too-close relationship between Hollywood and Police.
Collusion persists and likely killed this new show since it illustrated the justice system from the defense’s perspective.
Most Plausible Explanation
Why “Law & Order: For the Defense” was cancelled.
In the logline, “For the Defense” promised to “take an unbiased look inside a criminal defense firm” in New York City and as such, will “put the lawyers under the microscope, along with the criminal justice system, with every week delivering the promise of a contemporary morality tale.” However, Law Enforcement cannot afford to be under the microscope.
Dick Wolf cannot afford to make TV shows without Law Enforcement.
Why “Law & Order: For the Defense” Was Cancelled
Wolf relies on the cooperation of law enforcement agencies to produce his TV shows. Wolf needs Chicago and New York police ON SCREEN to provide background, lend cars and settings, to make scenes more realistic.
Beyond the screen, cooperative police are required to block off streets for filming, secure locations, provide bodyguard protection for stars, and often Law Enforcement directly funds TV productions.
The Illinois filming incentive tax credit of 30% is fuel for Dick Wolf shows like Chicago PD. In New York State, the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development offers 30% incentives for production and 35% for post-production.
This is a goldmine for the NYC-set Law & Order franchise and Wolf’s Empire State-based FBI shows. The FBI has a long history of supporting and funding Hollywood productions that promote a positive image of the Bureau.
The FBI publishes a list of the quid pro quo services they offer. Below is the list of the types of FBI production services available to projects that are friendly to law enforcement:
- Guidance on content regarding FBI investigations, procedures, structure, and history;
- Information on costumes, props, scenery, and weapons;
- Fact checks;
- Liaison and coordination with local FBI field offices;
- Coordination of location shots; and
- Access to FBI facilities for filming scenes, interviews, or b-roll footage.
“For the Defense” would have put millions of dollars in government subsidies at risk. Politicians approve subsidies. Police Unions spend millions on political campaigns. A TV show that challenged the authority and supremacy of law enforcement would have threatened the flow of taxpayer money to the other franchises. Hollywood cannot afford to criticize the Justice System abuses that millions protested against last year.
Furthermore, Law Enforcement relies on the “Copaganda” from TV shows to maintain their Police Powerist agenda.
Night after night, prime-time TV shows idolize the abusive power of law enforcement.
The “programming” on TV should be taken as the programming of the populace to accept law enforcement authority and effectiveness as absolute.
Many of the most popular TV shows are police procedurals that present a horrific crime and miraculous conclusion before the end of the hour.
In these shows, the heroes are the police, and they run rampant over the Constitution and sometimes the laws of science to catch bad guys. Reading a suspect’s Miranda rights is often a tag on the end of an episode, a sting, an epilogue, to notify viewers that all is well and the police capture the bad guy.
In the TV world, Miranda Rights are for bad guys. Calling a lawyer to “lawyer up” is depicted as a sign of weakness or a tacit admission of guilt.
When a defendant is found innocent, the show depicts it as a trick or loophole exploited by a shady defense attorney.
Even in this post-George Floyd world, the evening news still pushes a state of crime and fear on your doorstep. It often repeats the narratives of police leaders as gospel.
There is an increase in vileness aimed at law enforcement rather than a discussion of restricting police power to prevent abuses.
Yet the news still promotes any narrative that demeans and demoralizes the individual rather than glorifies individual rights.
However, the scales are tipped drastically back nightly in favor of law enforcement on prime-time scripted TV programs. They endlessly propagate that the ends justify the means in police craft and that the cops and prosecutors have rights and privileges that normal people (especially suspects and their attorneys) lack.
These TV shows depict defense attorneys as shifty sharks who exploit loopholes and technicalities to free their “assumed guilty” clients.
These are plot points intended to outrage the audience and turn them against the right to a fair and aggressive defense.
The result is that the cops, DA, and judge are all against you in court, plus the brainwashed jurors who are frothing to deliver TV-style justice like they watch every night.
We will not get a significant prime-time show like “For the Defense” until political corruption and collusion are out of TV productions.