Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eugene Meese On Memorable Secondary Characters

Eugene Meese on memorable secondary characters

            Think Law & Order You know, NBC’s long-running “ripped-from-the-headlines” crime drama. Most of its more than 400 episodes began innocuously, with people in set-pieces or walk-and-talks. Until one of them discovered, or became, a body. One of the show’s under-appreciated strengths was that those characters, whose screen time rarely lasted beyond the opening credits, were convincing. Hardly more than sketches, really, but oh, what sketches – drawn with nuance and a fine attention to detail. Detail. That’s the key. Real people wearing, doing and saying real things and, if used as well as they were on L&O, moving the story.

A late-night phone call yanks J.T. Stringer from a fitful sleep and drops the veteran newspaper columnist into the middle of a domestic dispute between a woman caller, Adrienne Ward, a single mother he wrote about years before, and “Vince,” her boyfriend. “He’s here!” she whispers, terrified. ”He won’t...”

Then the line goes dead.

Stringer heads out into the night, to learn what happened. Later, cowering in her home, still shaken, she tells him. For some reason she can’t go to the police.

When Vince’s body is discovered a couple of days later, suspicion immediately falls on Adrienne.

Stringer sets out to clear her.

His unofficial inquiry parallels and confounds the official police investigation and sets him on a collision course with his good friend Det. Sgt. Frank Zakariasen. No matter. The old reporter is on the story now. He has to follow it... wherever it leads.

It’s a twisted tale of murderous rage, biker intimidation, drugs, corruption and betrayal – with an ending as surprising as a sudden gunshot.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you could point out some examples? I've never watched Law & Order.