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HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” featured a lengthy segment criticizing the “Law & Order” brand for pushing what he considered a “fantasy” of law enforcement.
The “Law & Order” franchise was created by Dick Wolf in 1990 with the debut of its original show. Since then, the series has spawned several spinoffs which have produced more than 1000 episodes of television.
While the fictional law enforcement series has been seen as a staple of television, Oliver blasted the franchise for being openly “pro-law enforcement.”
“For as much as Dick Wolf brags about how the show is written in shades of gray or how it’ll show both sides of an issue, there is one side that it is always on and that’s the police,” Oliver said.
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He particularly focused on the shows’ habit of portraying upper class White men as the criminals a majority of the time in an effort to cover police’s “structural racism.”
“You can see what he might not want to make a show in which his good-guy cops are disproportionally targeting communities of color. He wants people to like them. But the result of all of these creative decisions is that instead of depicting a flawed system riddled with structural racism, the show presents exceptionally competent cops working within a largely fair framework that mostly convicts White people,” Oliver said.
He added, “In general, police reforms are often portrayed by the main characters as at best a nuisance to them and at worst a threat to public safety.”