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'Law & Order: The Long Painful Death'

Think of Law & Order: Los Angeles as the final frantic thrashing and splashing of a drowning man. NBC's trademark cops-and-courts franchise is going under, and there's no life preserver in sight.

The network coldly canceled the original Law & Order last spring just as it was on the verge of becoming Lola the longest-running scripted show in television history. One of its spinoffs, L&O: Criminal Intent, has long been banished to the wilderness of cable. And the last three offspring -- L&O: Trial By Jury, the reality show L&O: Crime & Punishment, and Conviction, which used the franchise's characters if not its title -- were all stillborn, none making it through a full nine-month season. A new British cousin, L&O: UK, isn't even an original show, just a collection of old scripts that have been Anglicized.

So Law & Order: Los Angeles, or LOLA, as it's known around NBC, is probably producer Dick Wolf's last shot at reviving his wheezing franchise. Read my full review in Wednesday's Miami Herald.

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