Law & Order Forums

NBC (ended 2010)

Could Elisabeth Rohm's departure caused the downfall of "L & O's"

Do you think Elisabeth Rohm's departure is the reason "L & O's" ratings declined

  • Avatar of Wallyhorse

    Wallyhorse

    [1]Apr 3, 2007
    • member since: 07/14/05
    • level: 7
    • rank: Talk Show Host
    • posts: 418

    Given how unpopular Ms. Rohm was with the "real" fans, it would not seem so, however:

    One thing that many who hated Ms. Rohm when she was on "Law & Order" as the Assistant DA may not have realized was the show's highest ratings occured AFTER she replaced Angie Harmon to start the 12th season of the show in the 2001-'02 TV season. While the ratings have declined sharply since she left, and some of that can be attributed to writing, perhaps it also could be attributed to when Ms. Rohm left, so did many fans of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" who came over to "L & O" when she did specifically because she was in the cast.

    It may sound ludicrous, except that even though both "Buffy" and "Angel" are no longer on the air, both shows still apparently have rabid fan bases who still heavily discuss the show. It may have been that those viewers did leave with Ms. Rohm and caused a "tilt" in the original show's ratings.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of danharr

    danharr

    [2]Apr 4, 2007
    • member since: 04/30/05
    • level: 45
    • rank: Swizzle-Bird
    • posts: 10,938
    It does raise a good point I always thought it was asthetics.  I mean if your a casual viewer and you see an attractive blonde playing second chair.  Your more likely to stick around than for say the plain and boring Boriga character.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of donnii79

    donnii79

    [3]Apr 6, 2007
    • member since: 09/23/06
    • level: 2
    • rank: Sweat Hog
    • posts: 6
    I have to say I never truly hated Elizabeth Rohm of her character.  Serena was actually one of my favorite ADAs to be quite honest.  At first, yah, it took a bit to get used to her...but she grew into the role...I was disappointed when she left.  For me, some of my interest in the series definetly went away with her.  Borgia was just horrible!  They couldn't get rid of her fast enough!  The new character is not horrible...She has definetly grown on me.  I've also been amazed by Cassidy's character.  She seems to have gotten a lot better since the start of the season.  I definetly think that Elizabeth Rohm's departure lessened my interest in the series.  I do have to say as well, the way they wrote her out kinda pissed me off too.  The whole firing thing was ridiculous, followed only by the "Is this because I'm a lesbian" line!  I had a hard time taking the show seriously after that.  I realize what they were trying to do with it, but still...too much!
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of kidnoeight

    kidnoeight

    [4]Apr 6, 2007
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 9
    • rank: Door Number 2
    • posts: 20

    I really like Elisabeth Rohm, I was sorry to see her leave Angel, but thrilled when she started on Law & Order. It was a bigger part and while less physical she was still no wall flower and didnt back down from her opinions. She much like, Angie Harman/Abbie Carmichael not only stood up to McCoy, but would tell all of the DA's her thoughts as well. She was the only one though to sort of act as his McCoy's consience, at least until they butted heads near the end.  She and Angie/Abbie were also the ones to have the last word in coversations with McCoy (& the DA's).

    I don't know if its the time changes, the writing, the acting, the cardboard cutouts they are now using for Asst DA's, but the show has lost some of its appeal. But the fact that they got rid of the old guy (Fontana) and kept the Green & Van Buren and the new detective (Gafney), make me try to watch every week. But if you miss it, it will be repeated and repeated in the next week or so. It isn't the "must watch" that it used to be for me.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of tjoceasde

    tjoceasde

    [5]Apr 6, 2007
    • member since: 07/10/05
    • level: 18
    • rank: Land Shark
    • posts: 1,175

    The ratings did decline after she left, but keep in mind that she left after Jerry Orbach did.  While she may have contributed to the declining ratings, his departure was what really did it.  But in retrospect, it wouldn't have mattered because he passed away shortly after he left the show.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of headmonkeys

    headmonkeys

    [6]Apr 7, 2007
    • member since: 05/26/03
    • level: 7
    • rank: Talk Show Host
    • posts: 139
    I liked her character and I like Elizabeth as a person, but I don't think she's all that great of an actress. Especially when compared to the long list of talent that was on the show that she was there, and all the actors of the past. My personal fave for Jack's assistant is Angie Harmon, follwed by Annie Parisse, and then Jill Hennessey.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Wallyhorse

    Wallyhorse

    [7]Apr 19, 2007
    • member since: 07/14/05
    • level: 7
    • rank: Talk Show Host
    • posts: 418

    Well:

    It's true Orbach's departure caused many to leave (and if you saw his two Trial By Jury episodes you knew how sick Orbach really was), however, they would likely have had to have written Orbach's character out anyway within a year of his departure in order to keep the series realistic since if you go by the season three episode "Virus", Orbach's character had already reached the real-life NYPD mandatory retirement age of 63, something no one could have imagined being a possibility when Orbach joined the cast nine episodes into the 1992-'93 season.

    What probably does help "L & O's" chances of survival now is the fact "ER", which has been a ratings powerhouse for years has tumbled to the number of viewers "L & O" has in a much more watched time slot. That is a major factor in why I think NBC may cancel "CI" and move the original back to its former Wednesday 10:00 PM slot if it does come back next season.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Synetech

    Synetech

    [8]May 4, 2007
    • member since: 04/26/05
    • level: 22
    • rank: Freak and Geek
    • posts: 1,286
    I recall that a lot of fans where really pissed at the way they sent her off. The episode carried on as normal and then at the very end she gets fired and the last thing she says is that she's gay The whole thing was very off-handed and felt like an afterthought. You would have thought that her departure was a last minute thing that the writers tried to cram in; either that or they just didn't care.

    There was also a lot of ire about the gay thing. It had never come up before and almost felt as though they were doing that to lash back at her or something; "Take that; now your character is gay Haha!"

    It didn't help either that in the next season Dennis Farina stunk up the place—I loved him in In Laws but hated him here; Fontana sucked big time. He was constantly more concerned with his expensive suits than doing his job and helping people. (Leave the damned suits at home moron!) And Nick Falco was just a patch for Jesse's Broadway stint.

    There was just too much turnover in that season which made it difficult for people to stay tuned, especially after they brutally killed off Borgia who was getting to be pretty good.

    This season was (surprisingly) the strongest since Orbach left. Some people were resistant to a lead female detective for the first time in this show's history, but all of the other L&O shows have had them since the beginning and they're doing fine.

    Of course, the true death of L&O comes at NBC's own hands. They pushed L&O out of its timeslot (after 17 years!) to Friday nights (the television execution yard) so that they could put Kidnapped in it's place. They then cancelled Kidnapped but didn't return L&O—what the heck is even on Wednesday on NBC? Why don't they just put L&O together with SVU and CI? What the Hell?! Why put only two together? I'm sure that if they put all three on one night, that they would all do great! But oh, no, they can't make an L&O night, what would non-L&O fans do that night? (Like they're really watching NBC on Tuesday because of Dateline.) They can put Dateline—a documentary—on Friday night where it belongs (like 20/20 was for 30 some odd years).

    NBC pulled the classic dirty network trick that FOX perfected. They put it in a bad timeslot which pushed down ratings, then they blamed the lower ratings on the show. It's so that they could have a "reason" to cancel it. They sabotaged it for cancellation clean and simple.
    Edited on 05/04/2007 5:53pm
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of WittyName

    WittyName

    [9]May 5, 2007
    • member since: 05/17/04
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 624
    Law & Order's rise in the ratings originally should probably be attributed more to the booming interest in the genre, rather than Elisaboth Rohm joining the cast. Shows like CSI were starting to pop-up, and people were really beginning to get into the whole crime thing. L&O adapted, and began just flying on autopilot. Now interest in the genre has died off a little, Jerry Orbach is gone, and they are still in autopilot. They need to take a note from the other two entries in the franchise, and start developing original drama.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of JPPT1974

    JPPT1974

    [10]May 7, 2007
    • member since: 11/02/05
    • level: 50
    • rank: Airwolf
    • posts: 8,302
    I think what really cause the downfall was indeed Jerry Orbach's departure and untimely death. That caused it to, as they say, "jump the shark!"
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of diannedede2006

    diannedede2006

    [11]May 8, 2007
    • member since: 10/03/06
    • level: 2
    • rank: Sweat Hog
    • posts: 144

    JPPT1974 wrote:
    I think what really cause the downfall was indeed Jerry Orbach's departure and untimely death. That caused it to, as they say, "jump the shark!"

     

    I think that caused it to go from top 20 hit to middle of the road show.  It was still competitive on Wednesday's at 10 pm.  They then ditched Dennis Farina and hired Melina Govich.  She may be a fine stage astress but she does not fit the shows senses of realism in police work (raise your hands if you thisk anyone that green would get promoted over hundreds of other QUALIFIED applicants straight to homicide for getting good press - have they even heard of the police union and what they would do with something like that - the grievences would be going on for years - literally).  She does not have the acting chops the rest of the cast does and it shows each week.  She doesn't fit into the show.  It was then I think the shark was jumped for good when it lost it's real New York cop feel and turned into a wierd version of Charlie's Angel.  Real gritty NY to fluff tv.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of FMfan

    FMfan

    [12]Jun 9, 2007
    • member since: 11/13/05
    • level: 1
    • rank: Weatherman
    • posts: 9
    Elisabeth Rohm is a fairly attractive actress, but Serena Southerly was bad. I disagree with anybody who says Borgia is bad. Alex Borgia is more intelligent and lively than Southerlyn was, and she was better as a person too. It is a bummer that she left. The current ADA, Connie Rubirosa is doing fairly well. She is certainly better than Southerlyn, but not as good as Borgia. Alex Borgia was awesome.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of toroscope

    toroscope

    [13]Jun 9, 2007
    • member since: 06/04/07
    • level: 7
    • rank: Talk Show Host
    • posts: 31

    I don't think her departure caused the drop in ratings....it is as was discussed earlier, moving the show to a bad time-slot. Losing Orbach was also critical. They need to improve the writing as well. If the changes that are forthcoming free up enough money to get some superior scripts from better writing talent coming in...it may be all good.

    For future, need to think about what they are going to do for replacing Jack as senior ADA as he moves up to the political post of DA. I really like the idea that another poster came up with in a different thread. Munch already moved to the Big Apple and L&O SVU from Baltimore (Homicide: Life on the Street). As that show came to an end, Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) was going to Law School. He would make a "great" senior ADA and maybe they could even have him interact with Munch on SVU or even better, move Munch over to the original L&O and team him with whatever new detective they brought in to replace Detective Greenwhere he could interact on a regular basis with Frank. The only thing about that is that its hard to see the character of Frank Pembleton being able to stay on the see through side of the glass of the "box" (interrogation room)....that was one of his "signature specialties" in H:LOTS haha.

    We can only hope that they come up with something to improve the ratings and the chances for renewel this next season.

    Those are my thoughts (which are an opinion and you know what they say opinions are like and why LOL)

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of bluejayfusion

    bluejayfusion

    [14]Jun 14, 2007
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 262

    L and O goes throught its share of great characters and crumby ones. I don't believe that Rohm leaving had much to do with the decline of Law and Order. In my personal opinion it was caused by three things-

    Orbach leaving- he was what Sam Waterston is to the order side of the show.

    CSI, Cold Case, Without a Trace- Crime dramas became huge and they all had a hook. Potential audiences don't have the patience for old fashioned detective work when they can have "cut scenes that reenact the crime" and "gadgets that zoom a photograph 1 billion times without making it blurry." (P.S. while I am being cynical, I enjoy these shows too)

    Nothing Shocking- no new stunning plotlines. lots of ripped from the headlines stuff. And while L&O doesn't do too much character exploration, some well placed episodes (for instance season finales) that focus on a particular character outside of their "work persona" would help. The episodes involving Jack and Claire Kincaid, Lenny and his daughter, and Det. Curtis and his wife were really powerful at the time.

    However, I have confidence Law and Order will improve. As for the time slot change, perhaps it was a result of L&O's decline more than a cause of it.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of WittyName

    WittyName

    [15]Jun 15, 2007
    • member since: 05/17/04
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 624
    toroscope wrote:

    I don't think her departure caused the drop in ratings....it is as was discussed earlier, moving the show to a bad time-slot. Losing Orbach was also critical. They need to improve the writing as well. If the changes that are forthcoming free up enough money to get some superior scripts from better writing talent coming in...it may be all good.

    For future, need to think about what they are going to do for replacing Jack as senior ADA as he moves up to the political post of DA. I really like the idea that another poster came up with in a different thread. Munch already moved to the Big Apple and L&O SVU from Baltimore (Homicide: Life on the Street). As that show came to an end, Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher) was going to Law School. He would make a "great" senior ADA and maybe they could even have him interact with Munch on SVU or even better, move Munch over to the original L&O and team him with whatever new detective they brought in to replace Detective Greenwhere he could interact on a regular basis with Frank. The only thing about that is that its hard to see the character of Frank Pembleton being able to stay on the see through side of the glass of the "box" (interrogation room)....that was one of his "signature specialties" in H:LOTS haha.

    We can only hope that they come up with something to improve the ratings and the chances for renewel this next season.

    Those are my thoughts (which are an opinion and you know what they say opinions are like and why LOL)



    Haha, I'm glad you liked that idea. Andre Braugher is a fantastic actor, so I'm sure he could make it work. He's in the new Fantastic Four movie, and while he doesn't get to show his acting ability, I'm sure, it does get his face out there, which might get Dick Wolf more interested. Braugher has two Emmies to his name, as well. Having S. Epatha Merkerson, Jesse L. Martin, Andre Braugher and Alana de la Garza could help booster the show in the African-American and Hispanic communities, as well. Only two of six characters would actually be white. Couple that with the great acting it would deliver, and good writing, and you have a show which could be on the rise, again.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of THEJELLYBEAN66

    THEJELLYBEAN66

    [16]Jul 21, 2007
    • member since: 04/25/06
    • level: 17
    • rank: The Crazy Neighbor
    • posts: 2,497
    diannedede2006 wrote:

    JPPT1974 wrote:
    I think what really cause the downfall was indeed Jerry Orbach's departure and untimely death. That caused it to, as they say, "jump the shark!"

     

    I think that caused it to go from top 20 hit to middle of the road show.  It was still competitive on Wednesday's at 10 pm.  They then ditched Dennis Farina and hired Melina Govich.  She may be a fine stage astress but she does not fit the shows senses of realism in police work (raise your hands if you thisk anyone that green would get promoted over hundreds of other QUALIFIED applicants straight to homicide for getting good press - have they even heard of the police union and what they would do with something like that - the grievences would be going on for years - literally).  She does not have the acting chops the rest of the cast does and it shows each week.  She doesn't fit into the show.  It was then I think the shark was jumped for good when it lost it's real New York cop feel and turned into a wierd version of Charlie's Angel.  Real gritty NY to fluff tv.



    Thank you! Finally! I've been saying this all along...Milena Govich was way in over her head. She was excellent as a lawyer in "Conviction" but she was really really REALLY off on L&O. I don't know if a female lead detective was the right way to go or if it was just the actress herself that couldn't make me believe. I was bothered by the fact that she couldn't dress like a COP instead of dressing like a FEMALE COP. I understand that Mr. Wolf (and probably NBC) was trying to get the younger guys to watch and that's why I had to tolerate Cassaday's goodies every week but this is a cop show. You want T&A, take your remote and go to Spike TV or somewhere else where the plot either doesn't make sense or doesn't matter because it's all about the T&A.

    My family and I stop everything to watch all the L&O shows but this past season we were in no rush to watch anymore. Now with Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under) taking MG's place, I'm starting to get that schoolgirl feeling (about L&O; not Jeremy Sisto) again! I would have liked Michael Imperioli to come back as Det. Nick Falco; I think he did a fine job as a temp for Green but I'm game for giving JS a chance.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of TVKitty

    TVKitty

    [17]Aug 29, 2007
    • member since: 08/17/07
    • level: 4
    • rank: Thighmaster
    • posts: 89

    I disagree with some people on this thread. I liked Serena Southerlyn. She spoke out on women's issues more than some of the previous ADA's and challenged some of the more 'macho' attitudes when dealing with cases calling for more sensitivity. I did not see the episode where she was fired, but I don't think her departure was the catalyst for L&O's poor ratings. I think it was a combination of Briscoe's departure and the sly shifting of time slots (I agree that thissounds like a ploy on the part of NBC to try and 'downsize' L & O). But I don't thinkthat fans would let NBC get away with trying to end L & O!

    I wasn't crazy about Borgia, didn't think she was as strong as Abbie Carmichael, Kincaid or even Southerlyn. I think Rubirosa is a better ADA. More depth to her character.

    Think I'm in the minority here, but not too crazy about Cassady either. She pales in comparison to female detectives like Benson in SVU, or Eames in CI- tough, funny, but with a vulnerable edge. She's too cold, too unconvincing somehow.

    Edited on 08/29/2007 2:01pm
    Edited 5 total times.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of ssimonds1

    ssimonds1

    [18]Aug 29, 2007
    • member since: 04/10/07
    • level: 24
    • rank: Golden Girl
    • posts: 574

    I doubt the slide in ratings has anything to do with Miss Rohm. If anything it was probably more the semi retirement and then death of Jerry Orbach.

    Personally I thought Seerna was the weekest ADA in the history of the franchise. I found her to annoying and argumentative. Why the writers decide to slant her that way is beyond me. Every ADA since Paul Robbinette, has been a woman and every last one of them has been a defender of womens (and other minority) rights so I don't buy that argument either.

    And the whole thing when she was fired, (is it because i'm gay came out of left field. The show writers just dropped the ball from start to finish with Seerna. She was, quite simply, a poorly written character. That poor writting is the more likely culprit in the shows slip.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Synetech

    Synetech

    [19]Sep 2, 2007
    • member since: 04/26/05
    • level: 22
    • rank: Freak and Geek
    • posts: 1,286
    A thought just struck me. While not a causal relationship, the whole Serena leaving debacle is in fact related to the downfall of the show. Depending on how long the (then current) writers were with the show, it could be argued that the way that they wrote her off was a clear indication of either their apathy, having given up trying, or else their ineptitude. Naturally, if the writing sucks, the ratings will drop and the show will suffer (and eventually die).

    As much as I want to blame it ALL on NBC and deride them with a hot poker, it may in fact be the show's own fault. Then again, after nearly 20 years and a solid track-record, NBC should have had enough respect for the show to help it get back into shape instead of cutting their budget and hanging the sword of Cancolese over their heads. There, I found a way to blame NBC, now I feel better; all is right with the world once more.

    (Also, although I liked him in In Laws, Farina did not help here. He came on the scene, played a prick who was more concerned about his expensive suits than solving cases, then disappeared, came back, sucked more, then left. Viewers don't really like that much change that fast. The past few seasons have had too much turnover on the show, and next season is unfortunately no different.)
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Gaby8529

    Gaby8529

    [20]Sep 2, 2007
    • member since: 09/01/07
    • level: 24
    • rank: Golden Girl
    • posts: 836

    watching a few reruns and one episode where they dealt with Gay people adopting children.. I noticed how Sourtherlyn reacted everytime they talked against the gay couple. I guess there were hints.

    Oh and I really doubt Elisabeth Rohm's departure caused the downfall of "L & O's""

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.