Today’s Guest: Neal Baer, executive producer “Law & Order: SVU”
The Law & Order television franchise has passed through numerous stages over its two decades on the air at NBC. There was innovation, as in the split show format of the original; shock, as in the horrible nature of some of the crimes depicted; expansion, as in the addition of series such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”; ubiquity, as in, “isn’t there anything on besides these doggone crime shows”; and, finally, respect, as in Mariska Hargitay winning the 2006 Emmy Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
NEAL BAER podcast excerpt: “The secret of the show’s success? I think it’s the teaming of Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni. I think they’re the longest running team in drama; Ozzie & Harriet beat them in comedy—they ran for 14 years. They’ve got great chemistry. Chris represents the rage we feel about the crimes and Mariska represents the empathy we feel toward the victims.”
That’s all the stuff that you and my wife see when you watch hour after hour of “Law & Order.” But what goes on behind the scenes?
That’s what I hope to discover from today’s guest, Dr. Neal Baer, the executive producer of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Dr. Baer is a real medical doctor with a degree from Harvard; he interned at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and, more germane to a discussion of TV, he was on the original writing staff of “ER,” eventually rising to the position of executive producer.