Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blog and Order: The Law & Order Franchise in the TVCU

We are celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Television Crossover Universe, and for the next ten days, I will be posting some of my favorite posts from the past four years.

Detective Munch is one of the most important characters of the TVCU, due to his habit of showing up on various shows and making them all connect. But Law & Order is much bigger in the TVCU than just Munch. The Ledger and Hudson University are also core Law & Order settings used throughout the TVCU, making a larger shared reality. And so, as we celebrate our fourth anniversary, we salute Dick Wolf.


Continuing my series of updates.  This blog now incorporates information from my upcoming book, the Horror Crossover Encyclopedia, published by 18thWall Productions. For the purposes of this post, Horror Universe and Television Crossover Universe are synonymous.

And since the last time this post was updated, several Law and Order links have happened mostly due to appearances or mentions of the Ledger or Hudson University in other shows, including CSI and Beauty & the Beast.  I will get around to adding them to the timeline.  Just not today.


In the television crossover universe, the reality is represented by two separate yet equally important categories: crossovers, which link two separate series together; and the spin-offs, that carry characters from one series off onto a new one. These are their stories. 

This is such a straight laced series, it's hard to believe that this series has so many crossovers.  But the series has spun-off so many times, and has been on for decades.  In fact, I didn't discover this series until several seasons in.  Then I became obsessed.  Before I start covering the TVCU crossover chronology, first I want to talk about it's impact on me.

First, lets start by saying that Dick Wolf was inspired by Dragnet in creating this series.  Because there are no direct crossovers, Dragnet won't be mentioned below, but I felt it needs to be mentioned.

Now, I'd like to talk about some of my favorite characters.

Jack McCoy is the type of lawyer I want to be like.  He's an honest crusader trying to put away really bad people, and occasionally bending to right a wrong in the system.

Detective John Munch is a very interesting character.  He is a link pulling in so many different series into the TVCU through crossover appearances, and he didn't even start on a Law & Order series.  The character originated on Homicide:  Life on the Street.

Detective Bobby Goren is the man.  First of all, if  the original Law & Order is Wolf's homage to Dragnet, surely Goren is an homage to Columbo.  And what's also awesome is Bobby takes on special cases, which border on evil criminal geniuses to some extent.  How cool is that.  A show anchored in realism taking on villains who are one step away from taking on Superman or James Bond.

When I first published this, someone said this blog was biased because I only discussed my favorite male characters.  The reason for that was because to discuss my female characters would be to discuss the ones I think are the hottest, and I didn't want to go there.  But since the door was opened, here are, in my opinion, the hottest women in the Law and Order franchise....

Ok, now let's begin...

1949--BATMAN # 217--Dick Grayson (the first Robin and later the second Batman) attends Hudson University, which will appear often on LAW & ORDER. Professor Martin Stein (in via SUPER FRIENDS) also attended.  Clark Kent had considered attending Hudson but chose Metropolis University instead.  It should be noted that  Batman has been referenced once in Criminal Intent and once in SVU, both times as a real person.  Additionally, Spider-Man was a temporary suspect on one case in SVU.

September 1984 to April 1992--THE COSBY SHOW--This show is connected to LAW & ORDER through Hudson University.

May 1989--X-FILES--"Unusual Suspects"--Geeks John Fitzgerald Byers, Richard "Ringo" Langley, and Melvin Frohike meet for the first time as the three get involved in the conspiracy world of FBI Agent Fox Mulder, who will become a good friend and associate in the future.  This all occurs in Baltimore, where Detective John Munch of Baltimore HOMICIDE gets assigned to the case, until the FBI takes over.  Ironically, Munch, who is well known for spouting out about conspiracy theories, doesn't believe the trio, who go on to form the LONE GUNMEN.

September 1990 to May 2010--LAW & ORDER--In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories. 

January 1993 to May 1999--HOMICIDE:  LIFE ON THE STREET--Detective John Munch works for Baltimore Homicide before later transferring to New York's SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT.

September 1994 to 1999--NEW YORK UNDERCOVER--This series is in the same reality as LAW & ORDER due to the constant appearance of the Ledger newspaper.  Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, psychiatrist from LAW & ORDER and SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT also appears, as does Judge Barry.

February 1996--LAW & ORDER/HOMICIDE:  LIFE ON THE STREET--"Charm City/For God and Country"--A crime that crosses jurisdictions brings together the cops and lawyers of New York and Baltimore.

1996--A VERY BRADY SEQUEL--Detective John Munch is in Los Angeles assisting on a case, and takes time to help out someone calling himself Mike Brady.  This causes some complications, as normally I wouldn't want to include this type of remake/spoof film in the TVCU, but Win places it within his CU, so I must follow suit.  In a very Brady blog, I will reconcile the movies with the original series.  But it's likely that this Mike Brady is the nephew of the Mike Brady from the series.  This film also creates a tie to GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, only it doesn't quite match up with the original series either, so this is some other Gilligan, Professor, and Minnow being referenced.  JEANNIE also appears, and this does seem to be the original Jeannie.  I'll cover these difficult appearances and references in later blogs.

May 1997--LAW & ORDER--"Terminal"--Spoiler:  The bad guy drives for the Sunshine Cab Company, the same cab company featured on the show TAXI.

November 1997--LAW & ORDER/HOMICIDE:  LIFE ON THE STREET--"Baby It's You"--Baltimore and New York work together again to solve a mutual crime.

1998--EXILED:  A LAW & ORDER MOVIE--Detective Mike Logan's story following his departure from LAW & ORDER.  Logan will later return to the force in CRIMINAL INTENT.

February 1999--LAW & ORDER/HOMICIDE:  LIFE ON THE STREET--"Sideshow"--Bordering on scary coincidence, another crime happens that involves two different cities, and the same units get assigned to it again.


Release Date: March 1, 1999 (Contemporary Setting)
Series: Spider-Man
Horror Crosses: Scooby-Doo! (revival film series)
Non-Horror Crosses: Invaders; Captain America; Human Torch (golden age); Sub-Mariner; Casablanca; Hulk; Jackie Chan Adventures; Terry and the Pirates; Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal; Fargo; Trading Places/Coming to America; The Great Race; North by Northwest; Indiana Jones; Marathon Man; Smilin’ Jack; Iron Man; Sherlock Holmes; Die Hard; Fu Manchu; James Bond; Superman (modern age); Law & Order; Ellery Queen; Batman (Burton/Schumacher film series): Usual Suspects; Carmen Sandiego; Unbreakable; Maltese Falcon; NYPD Blue
The Story: A new Sinister Six is formed.
Notes: Because of the appearance of the Mystery, Inc team, and not as 40-somethings, this must be the team from the newer animated films that started with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. This film series continues with all the previous animated series as canon. In Zombie Island, the gang are all adults, post college. Velma has a Master’s degree. The team had split up and in Zombie Island are reunited. So the “kids” here are now in the mid-20s, in a time period that is contemporary with release dates based on pop culture and technology. In the Horror Universe, the “kids” should be in their 40s. Furthermore, based on evidence from Looney Tunes: Back in Action, it’s likely the revival films are fictional in the Horror Universe, being fictional films about Mystery, Inc. However, Mystery Incorporated (in a divergent timeline) has an appearance of the Hex Girls, a fictional band that originated in revival series film Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost. Based on the crossover rules I am using, that would place the revival film series if not in the Horror Universe main timeline, at least in a divergent timeline. And indeed, it must be placed in a divergent timeline. Thus,Spider-Man: Gathering of the Sinister Six should be placed in that divergent timeline.

September 1999 to Present--LAW & ORDER:  SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT--In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories. Detective John Munch is one of the Unit detectives,having previously worked for Baltimore HOMICIDE.

February 2000--LAW & ORDER:  SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT/LAW & ORDER--"Entitled"--The detectives of Special Victims Unit team with the 27th Precinct to investigate a salesman's murder, leading them to a politically influential family. When the case goes to court, McCoy finds the matriarch to be a formidable opponent.

March 2000--THE BEAT--"They Say It's Your Birthday"--Our favorite crossover detective John Munch appears.

2000--HOMICIDE:  THE MOVIE--Detective John Munch returns home to Baltimore for one final investigation with the old team.

October 2000 to April 2001--DEADLINE--The exploits of the newspaper the Ledger that is always saying bad things about Jack McCoy.

September 2001 to Present--LAW & ORDER:  CRIMINAL INTENT-- In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories. 

October 2001 to Present--DEGRASSI:  THE NEXT GENERATION--This series is linked to LAW & ORDER through Hudson University.

September 2002--LAW & ORDER:  DEAD ON THE MONEY--Lenny Briscoe takes on a new partner (you) who later becomes an attorney on the same case.

September 2002 to May 2009--WITHOUT A TRACE--This show is linked to LAW & ORDER through Hudson University.

2003--LAW & ORDER:  DOUBLE OR NOTHING--A child abduction case.

October 2003 to June 2005--TRU CALLING--This show is linked to LAW & ORDER through Hudson University.

2004--LAW & ORDER:  JUSTICE IS SERVED--People die, and it up to you to put the killer away.

February 2005--LAW & ORDER--"The Sixth Man"--This story features the New York Empires basketball team, which must have ties to the New York Empires baseball team from CLUBHOUSE.  An additional link is that the victim is sent to Manhattan General, which was the setting of KAY O'BRIEN, SURGEON.  The main character of that show was referenced on St. Elsewhere as having transferred from St. Eligeus to Manhattan General.  Manhattan General also appeared in THE NAKED CITY and THE VELVET TOUCH.

March 2005 to January 2006--LAW & ORDER:  TRIAL BY JURY-- In the criminal justice system, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty, either by confession, plea bargain, or trial by jury. This is one of those trials. 

April 2005--LAW & ORDER/LAW & ORDER:  TRIAL BY JURY--"Tombstone/Skeleton"--Green is shot while taking a murder witness to trial, leading Fontana to team up with Salazar and uncover ties to a porn magnate.

May 2005--LAW & ORDER:  SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT/LAW & ORDER:  TRIAL BY JURY--"Night/Day"--A man is suspected of rape and facts about his adolescence are revealed at his trial.

2005--LAW & ORDER:  CRIMINAL INTENT (GAME)--Help Bobby on 4 cases.

September 2005--LAW & ORDER:  SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT/LAW & ORDER--"Design/Flaw"--Benson talks a pregnant woman off a ledge, only to find that she's the daughter of a scam artist and a controversial scientist. Afterwards, the woman and her mother are the main suspects in a murder investigation, giving Benson and Tutuola another chance to arrest them with the help of the 27th Precinct.

February 2006--ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT--"Exit Strategy"--Detective John Munch is part of a joint task force to bring down the Bluth family.

March  to May 2006--CONVICTION--Assistant District Attorney Alexandria Cabot returns from the Witness Protection Program to become bureau chief for a bunch of new ADAs.

2006--BLACK LAGOON--New York's 27th Precinct from LAW & ORDER is mentioned.

Black Lagoon vol01.jpg

August 14, 2006--SESAME STREET--Detective John Munch is seen on Sesame Street.  

April 2007--ANDY BARKER, P.I.--"The Big No Sleep"--Det. Ed Green appears.

May 2007 to Present--PARIS CRIMINAL INQUIRIES--Crime also happens in Europe.  Detective Munch has appeared.  (Of course.)


2007 to Present--LAW & ORDER:  CRIMINAL MIND--Another Moscow unit.

February 2008--THE WIRE--"Took"--Detective John Munch appears in this episode.

June 2008--LAW & ORDER:  CRIMINAL INTENT--Mary Shannon stops by the CI office to help out with information, but is not forthcoming about her latest Witness Protection client, which leads into her new series IN PLAIN SIGHT.

December 2008--LEVERAGE--"The Miracle Job"--From Brad Mengel:  In the season 1 Leverage Episode "The Miracle job" one of the team poses as a reporter for the Ledger. Since the show was set in New York that would be the New York Ledger.

February 2009 to December 2010--LAW & ORDER:  UK--In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories. 

February 2009 to November 2010--LAW & ORDER:  SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT--"Transitions/Crush/Wannabe/Trophy"--There's a new defense attorney, named Miranda Pond.  She looks like the woman in this first picture.  In the DOCTOR WHO UNIVERSE, there is a time traveler with a long life span named River Song, though she was born Melody Pond.  She looks like the second picture.  River spent some time trying to hide from the authorities of her universe, and her husband, the Doctor, himself spent centuries living in the TVCU, and certainly could have showed her how to get there. Don't even get me started on THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS.  (Third picture).  

 Alex Kingston Picture

March 2009 to Present--CASTLE--This show is linked to LAW & ORDER due to Hudson University and the New York Ledger.

2009 to Present--WHITE COLLAR--This show is linked to LAW & ORDER due to the New York Ledger.

2009--USA PROMO--A TV network is doing a special tribute to MONK, and interviews several people on their thoughts about the famous detective.  Among those interviewed are Sam Axe (BURN NOTICE), Shawn Spencer and Gus Guster (PSYCH), Detective Nichols (LAW & ORDER:  CRIMINAL INTENT), Marshall Mann and Mary Shannon (IN PLAIN SIGHT), and Doctor Lawson (ROYAL PAINS).

October 7, 2009--JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!--Detective Munch makes an appearance on this show in which Richard Belzer is also one of the guests.  Belzer of course is famous for playing a fictionalized detective based on Munch. 

June 2010--LUTHER--Luther says to his young officer, "Contact Detective Munch in New York; he works in the Special Victims Unit."

September 2010 to Present--LAW & ORDER:  LOS ANGELES--Apparently crime also happens on the west coast.

February 2011--BLUE BLOODS--"Hall of Mirrors"--Hudson University (which doesn't exist in our world, and originated on LAW & ORDER) appears in this episode.

February 2011--30 ROCK--"!Que Sorpresa!"--An episode of SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT is seen.  This is the TVCU version of the show, in which Dick Wolf not only took his stories "ripped from the headlines" but indeed on real detectives.

March 2011--CSI:  NY--"Do or Die"--Mac mentions the NYPD sex crimes unit

2011 to 2012--LAW & ORDER: LEGACIES--Several detectives from various series past and present work together to solve a crime.

April 2012 (episode dated 04/26/2012)--COMMUNITY SEASON 3 EP 17--A botanist that assists in analyzing a "murder victim" bears a striking resemblance in both appearance and character to a certain medical examiner as seen in the LAW AND ORDER franchise.

Leslie Hendrix Picture

2012 to Present--LAW & ORDER:  CAPE TOWN--Criminal investigation in South Africa.


LOONIVERSE--Detective Munch (of course) made an appearance on the Simpsons.

REAL WORLD--Dick Wolf created a reality show called CRIME & PUNISHMENT which was a real world counterpart to LAW & ORDER, following a murder case from beginning of the investigation to the end of the trial.  Apparently, people didn't care for reality that didn't involve celebrities making fools of themselves, as the show was not successful.

So that's it.  I hope you enjoyed reading.  This series is at the core of the TVCU for sure.  

My next blog which I'll probably write tomorrow night will be on the Three Stooges (with a little inspiration from Dennis Power), and yes, Toby, your recent post gave me the spark to cover the trio of five.