It always bothers me when shows pretend that actors haven’t been around previously as other characters. I could never get over the fact that Seinfeld had George date low-maintenance artist Paula (Christa Miller) two years after he was ousted from a job interview by furious businesswoman Ellen de Granmont (Christa Miller). It also bothered me that Nia Long returned to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to play Will’s longtime fiance Lisa Wilkes after, years prior, she had portrayed the vapid “bad-date” Claudia. Now, the introduction of Andre Braugher to the coming season of Law & Order: SVU is not quite as offensive as those cases, but there are still qualms to be taken.
Braugher previously worked on Homicide: Life on the Street alongside Richard Belzer, who played John Munch in the series, as he does in Law & Order: SVU (and has on Law & Order, The X-Files, The Wire, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Sesame Street…this is a new definition of typecasting). In Homicide, Braugher played Detective Frank Pembleton, whereas in SVU, he’ll play a lawyer for the underprivileged. Presumably, he and Munch won’t recognize one another…unless this is an elaborate plotline involving the Witness Protection Program or the CIA that ret-cons the realities of all procedural series we’ve yet to know. Now THAT would be good TV.
But instead, Braugher will serve as a love interest to the work-obsessed Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). I’m sure it’ll be all fine and dandy, but I’m really attached to this whole CIA idea. Also, no one will ever been good enough for Benson… except Stabler. But that ship has sailed.