Law & Order: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Published 2022-09-11
John Oliver discusses the wildly popular television franchise, what it’s been teaching us about law enforcement, and some tricks for how to get to sleep in two minutes flat.

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All Comments (21)
  • TheSkepticSkwerl
    Imagine a surgeon saying "I went to medical school, but most of what I do, I learned from grey's anatomy"
  • Berry Nice
    Honestly the only thing Law and Order taught me is ‘never say anything without a lawyer’
  • 50043211
    The part where cops are watching L&O to get a rudimentary clue what to do in certain situations perfectly demonstrates that 21 weeks of training just does not cut it in modern a society.
  • Brea *hot vlog
    Even as a kid, the one thing Law & Order taught me was that prosecutors were shady as hell. Seriously...Sam Waterston's character always did things that even as a kid I knew weren't okay but the show would justify it as "justice" and "to get the bad guy"...even with his character consistently getting angry at the judge when he was told he couldn't partake in illegal practices.
  • ToyKeeper
    "Law and Order: Oopsie!" would be a great show... covering all the cases where police and the rest of the system ruined people's lives for no good reason.
  • Ryan Clancy
    "Bananaphylactic shock" Absolutely brilliant.

    We all need to just take a moment and appreciate whoever wrote that particular pun.
  • One of my first jobs in mental health was working in a residential treatment facility for teenagers. Whenever SVU came on, they would all, girls’ and boys’ floors alike, disappear into their rooms to watch it. I asked a more senior staff one day why that was. She said, “Well, think about it. It creates a fantasy for them, in which the cops are the good guys, the victim is always rescued, and the person that was hurting them is brought to justice. Most of these kids never have and never will see that.”
  • Sebastian G
    Just a side note: Ice-T happens to have a metal band that, in spite of his affiliation with Law and Order, is heavily critical of the police, the government perpetuating racism, and (through lyrics that he himself describes as ultra-violence) the use of force by those in power. I can't seem to find the interview, but at one point he mentioned that he enjoyed Law and Order because it portrayed the kind of cops he wished we had.
  • Shannon Lopez
    Both my parents were cops and they hated the Law in Order franchise. My dad had a particular loathing for Stabler's violent interrogation techniques. A man will say anything under torture AND suspects will lawyer up and not say anything if you get hostile like that. Also, it wasn't until years after I stopped watching SVU that I realized how the show really vilified Internal Affairs when (in theory) I.A. is suppose to police the police and hold them accountable.
  • Kimberly Garay
    The Exonerated 5 where just briefly mentioned but they deserve a whole episode to themselves.
  • felisconcolori
    I think you may have missed one of the more pernicious and often unrealized effects of Law & Order. In those 3% of cases that do go to trial, members of the jury can have very warped perceptions of what to expect during a trial, and what to expect in the way of evidence. Juries can become deadlocked over what some jurors may think (based on Law & Order) is necessary evidence. The order part of the show uses a wide variety of tropes and tricks that just aren't realistic. The prosecution isn't going to trick the defendant into confessing in open court during cross-examination; there may not be DNA evidence, hair or fiber evidence, or whatever the forensic soup of the day is, for each crime. Alternately, one piece of evidence that is almost always the slam dunk in the prosecution's favor on the show may lead jurors to feel that they don't need to consider any other facts because of one circumstantial piece of evidence. It's a compelling police procedural drama but that's just not what an average day in court is going to be for anyone.
  • Paola Wouappi
    Ah!!!!, John! It's been 8 years, but your segments do not get old. What a pleasure to have you for 30 minutes in my life once a week
  • saxyrep1
    Imagine saying: "I'm a lifeguard. I've learned most of what I know watching Baywatch."
    Or "I'm a surgeon. I was trained by watching Grey's anatomy and the Good doctor on netflix." Hard pass, right?
    Somehow that's OK for law enforcement? How?🤨
  • Rat Essentials
    Honestly, knew the concept of this episode before it began. I remember watching a few years back and being really unsettled how Stabler is painted as the guy who breaks the rules but all's well that ends well. He literally tortures people, and its painted as a good things because he gets the criminal.
  • I love SVU but always realize that the show is fiction. I can say the one thing I have learned from the show is NEVER talk to the police without a lawyer because law enforcement will lie to get you to say something you shouldn't.
  • As a former prosecutor, I had to ask the jurors about their crime watching shows to help understand and educate potential jurors that videotape, fingerprints, audiotapes, etc. isn’t required to find beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Dragon034
    I have been watching Law and Order, specifically SVU ever since i was a little kid and last year I was almost strangled to death and this show i genuinely believed help save my life that day. I didnt learn any cool defense moves or anything but I learned that the best thing to use during a life or death situation is your quick wits and your teeth (I bit my attacker on his hand and i refused to stop biting until he let me go). I ended up doing an interview at a news station and they asked me if i had any training or self defense prior to being attacked and my response was "Nope. All I had was my knowledge of Law and Order and what the characters in the show would do". I know at the end of the day the show itself is fake and portrays the court room in a way different light, but I know that it has helped me for sure at least personally. Also im super glad Christopher Meloni came back to the show, that was honestly really cool as a long time fan.
    I've been watching Scrubs lately and aside from it still... mooooostly holding up it's also surprising how many hard topics it covers, from Kelso writing off patients who don't have insurance or submitting patients with great insurance for more and more tests, to the grief and burnout of connections made with patients who don't make it
  • spongeintheshoe
    When my mom saw this, she commented on how we basically expect untrained civilians to be responsible for deescalating encounters with the police instead of expecting our highly-trained, taxpayer-funded police force to be able to deescalate situations.
  • I think two shows that were really awesome in discussing the complex reality of policing and prosecutors were Boston Legal and Cold Case. Whereas the show Boston Legal did follow a more comedic framework than its famous predecessor, The Practice, the show still had dramatic moments which pinpointed some horrific issues such as police brutality. In the first season alone, the protagonist Alan Shore (James Spader), is forced to undertake the defense of a police officer who had brutally tortured the brother of a suspect. It is clear that even though the character does do an excellent job defending the policeman, he is still disgusted with the actions taken against the suspect's brother. And, in the show Cold Case, they were also able to make some brilliant episodes questioning cops' methodology for extracting a confession or for "solving" a crime. For example, the first episode of season 6 involves the story of two teenage boys accused of murdering three other boys and, with the suicide of one of the convicted men in prison due to a note that suggested someone believed his innocence, the case is reopen. The end result is still shocking, with the revelation that the cop who was originally on the case had tortured the boy who as an adult committed suicide in prison to extract a tainted confession.