Monday, June 19, 2017

NBC ANNOUNCES FALL PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW 2017-18 SEASON

Press release
June 19, 2017

NBC ANNOUNCES FALL PREMIERE DATES FOR NEW 2017-18 SEASON

Coaches Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus Take Their Chairs and Join Blake Shelton and Adam Levine on “The Voice” Monday, Sept. 25 Immediately Followed by New Drama “The Brave” The Pearson Saga Continues as “This Is Us” Sets Season Two Debut for Tuesday, Sept. 26; Edie Falco Brings Emmy Credentials to “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” “Law & Order: SVU” Begins Its 19thSeason Wednesday, Sept. 27 Critically Applauded “Superstore” and “The Good Place” Anchor Comedy Block on Thursday, Sept 28 Leading into Anticipated Return of “Will & Grace”

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – June 19, 2017 – NBC has announced premiere dates for its 2017-18 fall schedule, which includes broadcast television’s #1 program,” “Sunday Night Football”; last season’s #1 new series, “This Is Us”; the return of one of the most honored and beloved comedies of all time, “Will & Grace”; dominant reality show and three-time Emmy Award winner “The Voice”; the Edie Falco-starrer “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”; new Monday night drama “The Brave”; and the sophomore season of Mike Schur’s mind-bending comedy, “The Good Place.”

NBC begins its new season Monday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT with a two-hour telecast of the Blind Auditions for season 13 of “The Voice,” which features new coach Jennifer Hudson, as well as the return of coaches Miley Cyrus, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. “The Voice” will immediately be followed by the premiere of “The Brave,” a heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America's elite undercover military heroes, starring Anne Heche as a Washington, D.C.-based D.I.A. Deputy Director and Mike Vogel as captain of an elite overseas Special Ops squad.

The cultural sensation and #1 new series “This Is Us” makes its highly anticipated return on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m., immediately following “The Voice.” At 10 p.m. is the premiere of “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” which stars four-time Emmy Award winner Edie Falco as tenacious attorney Leslie Abramson, who defends brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez in the sensational trial that follows their arrest for the brutal murders of their parents.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 will begin at 8 p.m. with a special one-hour episode of “The Voice.” “Law & Order: SVU” launches its 19th season at 9 p.m. followed by the fifth-season debut of the Windy City police drama “Chicago P.D.” A week later (Oct. 4) in the 8 p.m. timeslot, NBC’s signature drama “The Blacklist,” starring three-time Emmy winner James Spader, begins its fifth season.

Following a season finale in which a tornado ripped apart Cloud 9, the folks from “Superstore” begin to rebuild starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28. Ending its first season with a twist that stunned critics and viewers alike, Mike Schur’s “The Good Place” begins season two at 8:30 p.m.

Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally make their celebrated return to “Will & Grace” as the 16-time Emmy winner makes its homecoming on NBC at 9 p.m. that night after an 11-year hiatus. A half-hour later, the folks at “The Breakdown” are back for more with season two of “Great News,” executive produced by Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and Tracey Wigfield. Dick Wolf’s “Chicago Fire” begins its sixth season at 10 p.m.

“Blindspot,” starring Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander, begins its third season at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27.

NBC’s fall premiere schedule follows:

MONDAY, SEPT. 25
8 p.m. – The Voice
10 p.m. – The Brave

TUESDAY, SEPT. 26
8 p.m. – The Voice
9 p.m. – This Is Us
10 p.m. – Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 27
8 p.m. – The Voice
9 p.m. – Law & Order: SVU
10 p.m. – Chicago P.D.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 28
8 p.m. – Superstore
8:30 p.m. – The Good Place
9 p.m. – Will & Grace
9:30 p.m. – Great News
10 p.m. – Chicago Fire

FRIDAY, SEPT. 29
9 p.m. – Dateline NBC

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 4
8 p.m. – The Blacklist

FRIDAY, OCT. 27
8 p.m. – Blindspot



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Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Law & Order SVU Gets New Showrunner For Season 19

Great news!  Michael Chernuchin - a name familiar to Law & Order brand fans – has been named the new showrunner for Law & Order SVU for season 19. He was most recently showrunner and executive producer on the just-canceled Chicago Justice. He replaces Rick Eid, who will take over as showrunner for Chicago PD.





Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


Law & Order SVU “American Dream” & “Sanctuary” Recap & Review


Photos by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

The opening scene of Law & Order SVU usually depicts the crime on which the episode will focus. Many times these scenes seem too staged or even cartoon-ish. But the two-part season 18 finale of Law & Order SVU opened with a shocking scene showing the rape and murder of members of a family at their restaurant which felt all too real. This realism was quite the departure for the show and it set the stage for two hours of tense drama which gave each cast member some time to shine.

The heinous nature of the crime required the involvement of Chief Dodds plus the Hate Crimes Unit. (I thought that Detective Lopez was greatly underutilized.)  One critical witness is lost due to some carelessness on Carisi's part. I assumed that once Yusef decided to leave his apartment that, even with Carisi tagging along,  something would happen to take this witness out of the picture. In this case, it's ICE who scoops up the witness and gets him deported with lightning speed. I know that sometimes our government agencies can be single-minded but I would never think that they could move that fast to both pull someone in AND get them physically out of the country, especially one that was so critical to an NYPD case.  This apparent battle for turf and different priorities for those agencies cost them that crucial person needed to convict the rapists/murderers.   I don’t fully understand the process of getting an illegal processed through the system, but it seemed unrealistically fast that they got Yusef on a plane and out of the country.  But for the sake of the story, I bought into it.

There was a bit of a role reversal when Barba was the person who seemed to be willing to stretch the rules to get a conviction. Usually it's Benson who wants Barba to perform some sort of legal magic or trickery.  In this case, it's Barba who gives the impression that it’s okay if Benson to be fast and loose with the truth. Could this be considered suborning perjury? Even though it’s not Barba who is calling her as a witness, it still felt wrong that he seemed to encourage her to lie to help his case. It's also hard to tell which side of the fence Chief Dodds is on in this matter when he essentially tells Benson no matter what she does, he has her backside. We all know there is no way Benson would lie on the stand. Lucky for all that the wife of one of the perps decided to come clean and tell the truth about her husband, destroying his alibi and sealing his fate. It's hard to tell if this case will cause a long term rift between her and Barba, but seeing that Benson has made unrealistic demands of Barba in the past and they've gotten over it, I sense that this won't have lasting repercussions.

Peppered within the story was political commentary about the current US President and the environment of intolerance and hatred that it has helped to breed and spread. This episode was chock full of well-deserved jabs. We weren’t even a minute into the episode and we got a poke at those who scoff at global warming and the possible demise of the EPA. Soon, we had commentary on immigration and raids (and rumors of raids), sanctuary cities, and that “that crazy thug in D.C.” The Law & Order brand has always done a great job in inserting political commentary, and it felt very welcome in this episode. In my opinion, this was one time where all these political and social references made perfect sense and enhanced the overall story.

It seems like it's been a while, but the area by the courthouse steps at 60 Centre Street has claimed another fatality. At least this time it wasn’t on the steps themselves. This courthouse is likely the deadliest fictional place in New York City.

This was a great finish to season 18, and we’re all looking forward to the new stories that season 19 will bring.



Here is the recap:

Cast:
Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Peter Gallagher - Chief William Dodds
Pooma Jagannathan - Maya Samra.
Melanie Chandra - Lela Samra
Kirk Acevedo - Det. Ray Lopez
Emma Myles - Carleen Jenkins
Matthew Rauch - Counselor Jay Cochran
Nik Sadhnani - Yusef Massad
Meredith Holzman - Counselor Naomi Ziegler
Tyler Elliot Burke - Mitch Jenkins
Ben Thompson – Stevie Cole
Gil Perez-Abraham - Hector Ramirez
Massiel Mordan - Soledad Ramirez
Cara Ricketts –
Adam Arian - Enzo Salerno
Peter Wallack - Keith Skinner
Nuah Ozryel – Franl Ayemen
Mark St. Cyr – Jamal Turner
Patrick Noonan – ICE Agent Tim Nunn
Erin Noel Grennan – ASAC Andrea Phillips
Nick Ritacco – ICE Agent Rob O’Leary
Chris Cardona - ICE Agent #1
Patrick Byas - ICE Agent #2
Sawandi Wilson - ICE Agent #3
Steve Mones – Franco
Ashley Jordyn – Doctor
Michael Viola – Uni #3
Mack Kuhr – Kanann Samra
Shari Abdul – Shala Samra
Ali Lopez-Sohaili – Aakif Ahmadi
Naren Weiss – Daleel Hamdan
Maia Danziger – Judge Carolyn Pollack
Jason Kaufman – Capt. Phil Saunders
James Augustus Lee – Moto Dude #1
Steven DeMarco – Moto Dude #2
Dave Adams – ESU Sharpshooter
Jack Nawada-Braunwart – Noah Porter Benson
Marlon Perrier – Doctor
Rand Guerrero – Protestor #1
Jeanne Moffit – Protestor # 2
Billy Beyer – Protestor # 3
Henry Gagliardi – Tyler Jenkins

Part 1: “American Dream”

A couple out walking their dog pass the restaurant names “Samra”. Unbeknownst to them, inside the restaurant, members of the Samra family are being attacked, raped, and murdered at the hands of 3 men, one of which says this is not what they came here for.

Later, Benson arrives on the scene. Fin is already there and inform her that there is one DOA, Shala Samra, who was raped and had a fractured skull. Her older sister, Lela, was raped but she will live; she is at Bellevue with her mother. The father, Kanann Samra, is in critical condition with blunt force trauma to the head and two stab wounds, he is on his way to Bellevue too, Detective Ray Lopez introduces himself to Benson – she knows him – and he walks them through the scene. He explains that the mother said there were 3 perps forced their way in and tied them up. After they did the rapes and murder, they ran out the front door. Ten minutes later, the mother escaped and flagged down a cop. She didn’t say anything, Lopez adding the poor lady is a mess. They approach Rollins who is standing over Shala’s body, saying they did a number on this girl. As Benson and Fin look at the body, Carisi adds that the cash register and wall safe has been cleaned out. They dusted for prints but no match in the system. Benson comments if feels like more than a robbery gone bad. Lopez shows Benson what is written on wall – “Muslims must die”. Benson says this is a hate crime.

Later, back at SVU, Benson shows Chief Dodds CCTV footage from outside the restaurant at 10:10 PM showing three males in ski masks entering the front door. Benson explains TARU is going through the footage frame-by-frame; they are canvassing the neighborhood looking for video. Forensics is still going through the scene, the place is a mess. Dodds expresses concern for the racism and hate, adding it’s 2017. Benson counters it’s happening everywhere. Dodds says it shouldn’t happen here, not in New York City. They’re working this 24/7 – all hands on, all precincts, all boroughs. He adds that he sees Hate Crimes is already involved, and asks Detective Lopez what he has. Ray says they are talking to all their informants on the streets, prisons, and gangs. He just got off the phone with the head of the FBI Civil Rights Unit; they want the case and he told them it was theirs, unless they tell him it’s not. Benson quickly pipes in and says no, this is NYPD, a double rape, one murder. Dodds adds they will call them if they need them. The group walks over to the other 3 SVU detectives and Dodds asks what do they know about the family. Rollins explains that Kanann and Maya Samra emigrated legally for Damascus 25 years ago, their daughters Lela and Shala were born here in New York. Carisi adds it is a family-run restaurant in business for 15 years, there are no apparent financial issues. Rollins states they are like model citizens; they pay their taxes, there are no legal problems in their past, not even a parking ticket. Fin explains they are practicing Muslims, they attend a local mosque with no connection to any radical group. Benson comments, “The perfect American family.” Rollins gets a message on her phone and then tells the others that Maya and Lela are in stable condition and are willing to talk. Benson tells Rollins to come with her and instructs Fin and Carisi to go back to the crime scene and talk to anyone and everyone – neighbors, shop owners, competitors, patrons of the restaurant. She adds there are hundreds of Muslim restaurants; they picked Samra and she wants to know why. Carisi and Fin move to leave as Fin says they are on it.

At 2284 3rd Avenue on Monday, May 1, flowers are being places outside the restaurant as a memorial and protestors are nearby as Carisi and Lopez arrive. They speak with a nearby shop owner who cops an attitude at first but with gentle pressure from Carisi, the man tells them a month ago, the Samra’s front window was broken and graffiti was on the door telling them to “go home, Muslims.” They didn’t call anyone, they were too scared. They replaced the windows and scrubbed off the graffiti. Maya said they wanted to stay focused on the good in people, now look where she is.

At Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue on Monday, May 1, Benson is with Maya, who said it was after 10 and she was locking up for the night. There was a loud banging and she thought a customer forgot something so she opened the door, which she now regrets. Maya Samra explains that 3 men in ski masks, they pushed in with guns. They were shouting “where are your papers – we demand to see your papers.” Then they ripped off their hijabs. Benson asks about their voices and if they had accents, and she replies no, they sounded like New Yorkers, young, white, she thinks. They forced her, Kanann, and the girls into the kitchen and tied them up and started breaking things. Kanann tried to get free and they started kicking him and they stabbed him. They wanted money, and one said the girl is cute. They were talking about Shala and then Lela. She shut her eyes but she could hear the sounds and then it was quiet. Benson says she is so sorry, she can’t imagine. Maya states she was helpless but when they left she broke free. She saw that Shala was dead. Benson suggests they take a break and asks if she can get her some water. Maya adds that one of them whispered and before Maya can say what he said, the doctor enters and tells her that Lela is okay, but then says it is her husband. Maya looks devastated.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Law & Order SVU “American Dream” Sneak Peeks

Here are preview clips from Law & Order SVU, “American Dream” which will air on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 9PM ET on NBC. The videos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Ice-T, Peter Scanavino, Peter Gallagher as Chief William Dodds, Kirk Acevedo as Det. Ray Lopez, and Pooma Jagannathan as Maya Samra.  (The season finale, "Sanctuary" airs immediately after at 10PM ET.)


My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “American Dream” & “Sanctuary” can be found at this link.




Please note: These videos have a limited life and may be removed at any time, so catch them while you can!


SVU_18021Clip1_16x9 from Chris Zimmer on Vimeo.



SVU_18021Clip2_16x9 from Chris Zimmer on Vimeo.



SVU_18021Clip3_16x9 from Chris Zimmer on Vimeo.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Conversion” Recap & Review


This episode of Law & Order SVU, “Conversion”, involved a church who will “rape the gay out of somebody” - as Rollins put it – to convert a congregant away from homosexual tendencies. It was an interesting topic but it was wrapped in tepid writing and a mediocre guest cast. It did offer some memorable lines; besides Rollins’ “rape the gay out of somebody” we also got Fin’s “the guy in the sky isn’t down with rape” and Fin’s priceless reaction when Lucas spoke about a woman feeling the full glory of God inside her.

This whole episode could be summed up in two sentences:  "I did it - because God" and "It's rape."    (Hint - it's the latter, in case they didn't make that point often enough.)

I’ve asked this question many times over the years and I will ask it again – does anyone in New York City ever look through those peepholes in the door to see who is on the other side? I know that Ann expected it to be someone else, but as a young girl alone in a hotel room in the big city, I would have expected her to look first to be sure.

Benson also introduced Fin as "Detective" so although he passed the Sergeant's exam, he may not have the official title as yet.   It also may be worth noting that even for Benson, God is a “He.” But that issue is an argument for another day.



Here is the recap:
Cast:
Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Kip Pardue - Reverend Gary Langham
Michael Kostroff - Atty. Evan Braun
Casey Cott - Lucas Hale
Jessie Carter - Ann Davenport
Sarah Nicole Deaver - Lydia Banks
Orlagh Cassidy - Cheryl Davenport
Zachary Knower – Mr. Davenport
Michael Mastro – Judge Serani
Tom Titone – Judge Joshua Goldfarb
Eric Camarano – Officer Rachel Ortiz
Rebecca Krainik - Charlotte Owens
Peter Graham - Brad
David Julian Levi - Dave
Alexander Hodge - Trent Dillon


Reverend Gary Langham and Charlotte Owns are in Times Square, along with other members of their church. Gary is shocked at the sights and tells the group this isn’t want they want. Ann Davenport, another church member, scans the crowd for her friend Lydia Banks; she tells Lucas that she hasn’t seen her since she left New York. Ann spots Lydia and they hug in happiness while Gary and Charlotte look on, somewhat displeased. Ann introduces Lydia to Lucas;   Lydia asks where to?

Later, Lydia and Ann are in a bar, and as Lydia brings the drinks over to Ann, she complains the bartender keeps trying to sell her shots. Lucas thinks he should be doing that and moves off to tell the bartender. Two young men approach Ann and Lydia and try to hit on them with zero success when they wisecrack about Ann being a churchgoer and a virgin. Reverend Gary approaches them and asks if those guys were bothering them, and Ann explains that Lydia got rid of them. Gary says, “Well. I see.”

Afterward, Charlotte knocks on Ann’s hotel room door to say it is 11 and time for light out. Lydia pops up and when Charlotte tells Ann she knows the rules – no guests in the room – Lydia explains she was just there to use the bathroom. She leaves and Ann apologizes. They hug each other and while doing so, Ann puts a hotel room key card in Lydia’s back pocket. As Lydia leaves, Charlotte sternly tells her lights out.

Sometime later, Ann’s phone rings and she sees a picture message from Lydia noting “Buzzkill”. She laughs. There is a knock on the door and she turns out her lights. Thinking it is Charlotte, she says she turned out the lights as she opens the door without looking through the peep hole to see who is on the other side. She gets a look of concern.

Thinking Charlotte is now asleep, Lydia races down the hotel hall to Ann’s room and uses Ann’s key card to enter Ann’s room. She is shocked to find Ann sitting on the floor next to the bed, crying, her panties down around her ankles, in shock.

Later, Benson and Fin arrive on the scene and are told by an officer that the victim is Ann Davenport, 18, part of a visiting church group from Hunter, Indiana. Her friend, Lydia Banks, said Ann was sexually assaulted; she called 911. Fin explains they will need security footage from the hallway and elevator, key card entry logs, the works. Benson knocks on the door and introduces herself and (still detective) Tutuola. Benson asks to speak with Ann alone and Lydia moves off with Fin. Benson asks Ann what happened and she is not really sure, and Lydia, who hasn’t quite made it out of the room, turns back and shouts to Ann that she was raped. Benson looks at her as Lydia says that Ann would never let a man have sex with her, she is a lesbian. Ann looks as little surprised at this outburst, as does Benson.

Law & Order SVU “American Dream/Sanctuary” Season 18 Finale Promo

Here is the promo for the 2-episode season 18 finale of Law & Order SVU, “American Dream” and “Sanctuary” which will air on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 on NBC. “American Dream” will air at 9PM ET and “Sanctuary” will air at 10PM ET.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “American Dream” & “Sanctuary” can be found at this link.






Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.