It’s hard to think of two shows as different from each other as NBC’s upcoming Law & Order spinoff L&O: Los Angeles and the long-running FX comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. L&O: L.A. is a "ripped from the headlines" legal thriller while Philadelphia is a very dark comedy about a group of deranged, depraved "friends."
But this fall, the two shows will have at least one thing in common: the issue of gay
marriage as both plan to tackle the subject, albeit in very different
While the L&O franchise is woefully inadequate when it comes to including recurring LGBT characters (only last year, in the show’s 11th season, did L&O: Special Victims Unit finally confirm George Hwang is gay), gay-related issues have long been part of the landscape. And when L&O: L.A. makes it debut this fall, that will
continue to be the case as the spinoff will tackle the issue of Prop 8 (which was just overturned by a California court)
in its first batch of episodes.
Executive producer Rene Balcer spoke to AfterElton.com about how the show will handle the contentious issue. Said Balcer, "One of the episodes that we’re doing is [about] the money behind the Prop. 8
people and the hypocrisy of black churches supporting a Proposition like
that, and also looking at the whole "initiative industry" and how these
lobbyists make a lot of money."
Asked to elaborate on that "hypocrisy," Balcer is emphatic: "There is a hypocrisy… In fact, that’s one of the lines in the script: ‘How can you as a black minister who has fought for civil rights now
fight to deny someone else their civil rights?’ I mean it makes no
And Balcer feels exposing that hypocrisy is one of the goals of the show. "I think there’s an obvious hypocrisy [in Prop 8], and if anything we’re consistent. We just try to go after hypocrites of whatever stripe."
Asked how the episode came to be, Balcer said, "[We] were sitting around talking about it and thought, ‘OK, we got the
first six stories. What’s the next seven?’ And then this came out. And
I’d been having lunch with a former judge in the 9th District Federal
He and I had been talking about the whole initiative process and how
that’s totally perverted California politics, and from there I was
thinking about Prop 8, and all the money behind it. And who was behind
that money…. and once that comes out you can’t ignore it."
Asked if the show will address the Mormon influence in the success of Prop 8, Balcer said "Oh yeah, the outside money coming in. That’ll be there as well."
Given that Los Angeles is such a diverse, gay-friendly city, might these Law & Order feature a gay character more prominently? Balcer thinks it’s a possibility and that the show reflect the city’s diversity. "I think [the show] should reflect the community. And the gay community is very important in this city, as it is in many other cities. Especially in this city, politically, it’s very powerful."