Law & Order True Crime is a unique and entertaining addition to the Law & Order franchise


While it’s taken two months since the show’s premiere for me to finally tune in, I knew it was the inevitable; I could never stay away from a show bearing the same name as my love, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Though the show is from the same legendary franchise, the similarities between Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers and its namesake end at the signature Friz Quarata Std Roman font and iconic “dun-dun.”

Law & Order True Crime is a series of exactly what it sounds like– dramatizations of true crimes. The eight-episode first season chronicles the famously scrutinized case of the Menendez brothers. That’s where this series begins to diverge from its counterparts– it doesn’t follow the same roadmap as what viewers are used to with the Law & Order franchise. Rather than tie up every fictional case with a neat bow by the end of every hour-long episode, True Crime takes a deep dive look into the Menendez case– an eight-episode long dive.

To sum up the Menendez brothers’ story, in 1989, Erik and Lyle Menendez’s parents were viciously killed at gunpoint in their lavish mansion. As the public eye watched the brothers nonchalantly spend their wealth and seemingly carry on with their lives just days after their parents’ death, suspicion heightened. And soon, the boys were arrested for the murder of their parents. While at first glance the murder appeared to be motivated by a desire to cash in their imminent inheritance, the show quickly begins unearthing the many secrets that laid behind the doors of the extravagant Menendez estate. Did pure, unadulterated greed prompt such brutality? Or was it something more than that– like years of closeted abuse?

The series follows the journey from the crime itself to the arrest to the trial. While eight episodes may seem like far too much time for just one case, I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be the opposite. The ample time gave way to a deep comb of the many layers of this case and trial, and I was thoroughly engrossed from Episode 1 right up to the chilling final seconds of Episode 8.

I also really liked the feel of this show. It didn’t have the same tone as other Law & Order shows. It felt more dramatic– more grave, perhaps weighed down by the cold hard reality of this story. The heaviness of the show is perfectly complemented by the phenomenal performances of all the actors. The acting of Gus Halper and Miles Villanueva as Erik and Lyle was particularly moving; they had the intimidating task of playing characters with intense emotional turmoil, and they certainly stepped up to the challenge.

Overall, while I can’t speak to the accuracy of this show, as a longtime crime-show-devotee, I can say that Law & Order True Crime is an excellent addition to an already wonderful franchise.