Law & Order is one of the most successful and critically acclaimed series in the history of television. For over a decade this Emmy Award-winning series has presented the investigation and prosecution of cases ripped s... more »traight from today's headlines. With a celebrated cast that includes Michael Moriarty (Along Came a Spider), George Dzundza (Basic Instinct), Chris Noth (Sex and the City), Richard Brooks (The Crow: City of Angels), Dann Florek (Law & Order: SVU), and Steven Hill (The Firm), and featuring such notable guest stars as John Spencer (The West Wing), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), William H. Macy (Fargo), Gil Bellows (Ally McBeal), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Red Dragon), and Christine Baranski (Dr Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas). Law & Order: The First Year is a must-have DVD collection.« less
Of all the Law and Order shows that I have seen, season one is definitely my favorite. If you're a serious fan .. this is a must see!
Riane M. from CHARLOTTE, NC Reviewed on 8/27/2009...
Though the acting is a bit cheesy, overall it was a great season of Law and Order.
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One of the best shows ever finally on DVD!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Law & Order now enters its 13th season on NBC. For all those years no one's been able to get it on commercial recording, save the 6-episode VHS set that came out in 1999. But this wasn't satisfactory to represent a show with so much history.Now you can get the first season of this hit drama on DVD! With its renewal through 2005, you'll probably be getting the "15th Year" on DVD soon. By then Law & Order will be the longest-running police show and second longest-running drama in the history of television.With season one you get the first appearance of Lorraine Toussaint as the infamous Shambala Green (Subterranean Homeboy Blues), both the CBS original pilot with Roy Thinnes (Everybody's Favorite Bagman) and the NBC pilot with Steven Hill (Prescription for Death), moving episodes (Indifference), and mainly the beginnings of a show that would become one of the most popular dramas of the 1990's.The original cast features George Dzundza as Sergeant Max Greevey, the amicable but strong lead detective, Chris Noth as Detective Mike Logan, Greevey's liberal and young partner, Dann Florek as Captain Don Cragen, the no-nonsense but humorous boss, Michael Moriarty as Executive A.D.A. Ben Stone, whose dispassionate prosecution has become a trademark, Richard Brooks as A.D.A. Paul Robinette, the passionate black Assistant under Stone, and Steven Hill as D.A. Adam Schiff. Only one phrase can describe Schiff: "You have no case. Make a deal."For me, this item is at the top of the wish list. If you like L&O, there's no passing this up!"
Season 1 = Great acting, slower action, features missing.
D. Parvin | Boston, MA USA | 04/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first season of Law and Order lacks the bang-bang short attention span plot advances and twists of the later years, but more than makes up for it by deeper plots and better acting, along with some nice background. Unfortunately, the DVD quality isn't what it could be, which is why this is 4 stars and not 5.From season 3 or 4 on, the Law and Order formula came into full flower. Every 'donk-donk' signifies a quick advance in the plot as a year-long investigation and trial gets compressed in an hour, except for those delicious times when it reverses in a wild plot twist. Three spinoffs prove this works regardless of who is in the role. Season 1 isn't quite like that. For instance, it often meanders slowly, spending 4 or 5 minutes at the beginning actually witnessing the crime, having the cast walk down the street talking to each other rather than going from one interview to the next. (This actually gives some great background - you finally see the full precinct room and DAs office!) The slower pace even reflects in the way the guest stars seemly act - an L&O trademark is to have an interviewee continuing to do their job while the cops grill them. Not so here. No quick hot dog lunch for meetings between the Captain and the detectives. Logan even complains when someone doesn't give them their full attention!While not having the formula down means that action slows down, it allows for better acting and better plot development. The 'ripped from the headlines' aspect remains as large as it ever was, with the Mayflower Madam, Tawana Brawley claiming rape, the Lisa Steinberg child abuse case, and city council corruption along with several cop corruption cases. The difference is that because the actors aren't forced to move through hoops they actually get to perform. Robinette gives a soul searing performance in the the Brawley case (Half-Light) and the corruption case (Bagman) as he examines his race versus his job - and race and class in general get explored a lot more than in later years (in episodes like Homeboy Blues and Poison Ivy.) Logan acts like a rookie as he screams at people who don't help him, and nearly comes to blows with Greevey over their views on abortion and morality in Life Choice and Kiss the Girls. Stone shows actual rage in Indifference, and Schiff is a motivated caring boss and not just his normal fun cantankerous let's-cut-our-losses self. Finally, the caliber of the guest stars before they became big (Cynthia Nixon, William Macy, Epatha Merkerson!) helps as the give and take is unrestrained. This is a fair tradeoff for a slower show.My only objection to the DVD set is the transfer is somewhat mediocre, especially for the first few episodes where you get flecking. I can't believe the original tapes weren't in better shape. Also, the features side borders on the unacceptable. Dick Wolf does talk about the original development of the show, for about 10 minutes. Other than that, nothing - except for an unbelievable ad about the Law and Order game! I can't believe there aren't outtakes or they couldn't get someone from the cast to walk through the episodes ala the Simpsons DVD sets. Definitely worth marking down a star for that.Still, a great beginning to a great show."
A great television series finally arrives on DVD
Jesse Baker | Wise, VA | 08/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of tv's longest running and more critically acclaimed series is now available on DVD. "Law and Order: The First Year" collects the entire first season of this quality show. Featuring the show's original cast of characters (ADAs Ben Stone and Paul Robinette and Detectives Mike Logan and Max Greevey), the First Season contains classic "Ripped From the Headlines" styled episodes including "Subterranean Homeboy Blues" (about a woman who may or may not have shot a trio of black teenagers in self-defense), "By Hooker, By Crook" (which has Stone prosecuting a socialite/madam who is based upon the "Mayflower Madam" Sydney Barrows), and "Out of the Half-Light" (where the cops try to debunk a black teen's false accusations of rape at the hands of white police officers and prevent an Al Sharpton-inspired character from using the girl to advance his political adgenda).Other original story episodes includes "Poison Ivy" (where Logan and Greevey investigate the death of an Ivy League college student who was a drug dealer and who may have had a gun planted on his dead body by the police officer who shot him), "Indifference" (Logan and Greevey investigate the death of a upper class child and discovers that the child was regularly raped by her father and beaten by her drug using mother), "Prisoner of Love" (which has Stone prosecuting a city commissioner and a weathly socialite/part-time dominatrix over the death of the commissioner's gay lover, who died during kinky sex), " The Torrents of Greed Parts 1 and 2" (which has ADA Stone obsessively attempting to bring down a mob boss after the mob boss is aquitted of murder), "Mushrooms" (Stone must decide whether or not to take a plea bargin from a teenager who killed a baby and paralyzed another teen when the shooter offers to testify that a powerfull mob boss ordered the killing), "The Secret Sharers" (Stone faces a hot shot Texas attorney who's client murdered a drug dealer who raped his fiance), "The Serpent's Tooth" (in which two innocent brothers are wrongfully accused and arrested for the Menendez Brothers-esque murder of their parents while Stone believes that the ultra-violent Russian Mob may be the real culprits), "Troubles" (which has Stone going after a famous Irish terrorist who arranges for the principal witnesses against him murdered before they can implicate him in court), and "The Blue Wall" (the season finale, which has Logan and Greevey investigating a conspiracy inside the police department that resulted in evidence against corporate executives on trial disappearing and discovering that a friend of theirs, Captain Donald Cragen may have been involved in the conspiracy)."
One of the Best
Adam Dukovich | 10/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I began watching Law and Order when I was in eighth grade and have been a loyal viewer ever since. I have seen nearly every episode and at one point could name every actor who ever starred in the show and their character's name. I think that, although the show is heavily story-driven, it is the chemistry between the leads that makes the show so memorable, as well as the great storytelling and the intriguing look at morality and politics.The show's chemistry wasn't what it was in later seasons. The show would hit its stride once Jerry Orbach came on as Lenny Briscoe in the show's third season. Nevertheless, it was not due to bad acting. George Dzundza has always been great and he is definitely believable, if not incredible, as Detective Max Greevey. Chris Noth was very memorable (especially with Orbach) as Mike Logan, a hotheaded cop who would eventually be outed for assaulting a man in public. Dann Florek played Captain Cragen, a perfect CO that supported his people but was also tough enough so that they would get the job done. On the Order side, we have Michael Moriarty, Richard Brooks, and Stephen Hill. Moriarty was great in his years as ADA Ben Stone, especially in his confrontations with frequent defense attourney Green. That relationship always dripped with conflict. Brooks played Paul Robinette, Stone's partner. He would occasionally give performances of great power, such as the episode in which he is forced to come to terms with one of his African-American heroes being a corrupt swindler (Subterranean Homeboy Blues). Stephen Hill was the heart of the series for many years, always bringing the legal matters into perspective, often with a bit of wry humor. One of the show's most beloved characters of all time, he is at his best here as DA Adam Schiff, helping Stone appropriate justice fairly and responsibly. The show's first season occasionally produced some truly fantastic episodes. Indifference, for one, is unforgettable. It has been a favorite of mine ever since I bought the VHS collection a few years ago. It is a truly haunting, disturbing look at a very depraved and irresponsible man. The aforementioned Subterranean Homeboy Blues, also, is fantastic.
The Reaper's Helper is a painfully provocative episode about AIDS and euthanasia. By Hooker, By Crook is also an interesting look at a call-girl ring. All in all, Law and Order not only rips from the headlines, it also precedes them. I remember watching a show on pedophile priests from the early nineties that I couldn't help but remember when the scandal broke last year. This show deserves to be in your DVD library."
Warning: This Show Is Addictive!
Exguyparis | Lansdowne, PA USA | 03/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks to my wife, I have become a Law & Order addict. This DVD set contains the 22 episodes of the first season of this show that has become an institution. A rather simple formula for each hour episode: the first half of the story shows the police action [Law], and the second segment of each episode covers the court trial [Order, in the court!]. The first season's cast is wonderful, but the fact that the show is still alive and strong, with a totally different cast, proves the power of the formula.There is much to be said for watching the show without commercials; you can better appreciate the tight story lines and the wonderful writing, without a bunch of annoying commercials popping up every few minutes.Everything works wonderfully on this show-- the great music by Mike Post, the opening narration, the formula of seeing the crime before the opening credits. The joys and challenges of life as a NY cop and life in the DA's office are artfully portrayed (and interestingly, we learn almost nothing about the personal lives of the characters). Note that there is very little on-screen violence here, even though violence is a key driver in many episodes. You will notice the absence of violence when you observe, in one episode, a storekeeper being beaten up--it is quite a shock, and makes you realize that the violence is usually just suggested (or it happens before the viewer is brought into the scene).It is a lot of fun to notice who pops up in some of the small parts or one-episode roles. My favorite is Frances Conroy, the mother on Six Feet Under, who plays a high-class, horrid dominatrix. Cynthia Nixon plays someone quite different from her Sex and the City persona (and it is funny to see her with Chris Noth, who grows up to be Mr. Big). Also watch for Peter Frechette, Gil Bellows, Mandy Patinkin, Faith Prince, Courtney Vance, Camryn Manheim, John Spencer, William H. Macy, Andrew McCarthy, Ron Rifkin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Frances Sternhagen, S. Epatha Merkerson (in a small role, not related at all to her later starring role), Christine Baranski, plus scores and scores of New York City actors and actresses in bit parts. Some of the recurring roles are marvelous; my personal favorite is Lorraine Toussaint, whom we first meet in Episode 2, as the in-your-face defense attorney Shambala Green.L & O has given birth to several spin-offs, and it continues to dominate in its thirteenth season. I strongly recommend this DVD, whether you are a first time viewer or faithful addict as I have become. The only frustrating thing will be waiting for seasons 2-13 to come out on DVD!"