a breathless arrival

I was congratulating myself on completing the manuscript when there was a great clutter at the end of the platform.  A late arrival!  Forsaking her accustomed grace, in a small state of panic, and this close to tears, she made her wishes known.  

“Stop this train.  I want to get on. I have to get on.”

No trainman is also a gentleman refuses a belle in distress and the belle is now on board, ribbons stowed, heart beat slowing, perfume pooling (where once it trailed), dignity on the mend.  

I have around a week to make her really comfortable, but she is most welcome because now we have a better last chapter and Culturematic will be, er, “heavier” by 10,000 words.   Anyhow, this means I will be AWOL another week.  Sorry.

In the meantime, this is a nice little test.  Law and Order is auditioning 5 guys as replacements for Chris Meloni.   

The dark horse favorite, IMHO, is Michael Raymond-James (Terriers), the most effortlessly gifted actor I have seen in a long time.  This role may be too small for him but they would be mad not to take him if he’s willing.  On another note, this array of talent tells us how “deep is the bench” for American TV, a cultural undertaking that used to be hard pressed to find a single one of these guys.  

Your thoughts, please.  

4 thoughts on “a breathless arrival

  1. Sheila Germain

    I’ll admit, I am unfamiliar with the work of all of these options. However,
    like most card-carrying New Yorkers, I am very familiar with all of the properties
    under the L&O umbrella.


    However, if I may inject my comment with a bit of old skool headshot-casting-cum–book-by-the-cover
    analysis, then I’m with you on Michael Raymond-James. Visually, he holds a grit
    the others don’t possess. Like Meloni, they are all handsome. The teams responsible
    for 20+ years of styling casts and guest stars have perfected the art of
    applying a nice 20 grit sanding on even the most manicured amongst them, but
    them men, in particular, have all inherently possessed their own headiness.
    It’s as if they get up each day solely to carry the weight of New York’s working-class
    safely through another day.

    Studies have shown (I know I should cite at least one, Professor McCracken, but I’m not going to)
    that women and men respond more positively to the male facial weatherings of scars and
    lines in the areas of security, trust and respect. If I were to make an assessment
    based on the pictures on dose, Conrad looks too soft to be NYPD, Pino and Alejandro are
    very pretty (and seem a little young to be respected NYPD detectives), and Coiro
    looks more Fed than City. Visually, Raymond-James stands apart because he’s in
    the middle, seems taller than the others, and is editorialized in a more rugged way.

    I pray to never have anything rip-worthy happen in my life to warrant a retelling
    on L&O. But if I did, I’d be okay with Mr. Raymond-James showing up at my door
    with a pair of handcuffs and the sweet whisperings of my Miranda Rights.

  2. Michael

    I’ve written in this space before about how much I loved (and subsequently mourned the death of) Terriers. Michael Raymond-James acting was the one of the main reasons I enjoyed the show so much (another being his chemistry with Donal Logue). I was amazed that an actor that gifted seemed to appear out of thin air. Effortless is a great description of him. Believable is another.
    Now the idea of him joining SVU sounds exactly like what the show could use right now. As one of the favorites of my wife’s (who has very few TV favorites), any given night SVU is on our TV. Having so many reruns on air has made it pretty easy for loathe some of the dated episodes, but at the same time recognize that this past season might very well be the best the show has had. Something about the writing has changed. The plots. The pace. The final who-dunit. New life has been breathed into a very formulaic structure. Can’t put my finger on it. Grant, was wondering if – 1. you noticed an improvement, and 2. if you can account for it in some way? I also think the quality of “guest actors” has been getting much better (I’ll submit Jay Mohr’s unexpected casting as a neurotic fashion designer as a perfect example). For a genre that can be easily type-casted, Raymond-James (and Logue) did such a great job on Terriers of turning the characters off axis just enough that it didn’t seem contrived, but at the same time was unexpected and relatable. And for a show (or franchise for that matter) that can easily get lazy and become expected, SVU has done a great job this season of staying out of that trap. Michael Raymond-James has the unique ability to take this show up a notch (or two), while giving it the needed grounding at the same time.

    1. grant mccracken

      Michael, excellent comment, thanks, “thin air” is right, where are these actors coming from? And “off axis” is really well said. This playing against expectation, but only just that really makes popular culture hum. Thanks, Grant

  3. Michael

    Yes, “just” against expectation. I love that when you see it.
    (quick on the reply today huh? faster than most get back to my text message! Noticed and appreciated.)

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