No; I'm not getting political; instead; I'm indirectly quoting Dick Wolf! In his featurette for the first season of Law & Order; Wolf talks about his inspiration to create L&O and how, at the time (1988), the show's title was becoming more commonly known as a result of the Reagan administration. As Wolf also adds, Law & Order is the very first cop show to observe both cops ***and*** lawyers prosecuting; rather than just cops! Two years before creating Law & Order, Dick Wolf had become a frequent screenwriter for Miami Vice, and the same grittiness he gave Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, he gave original L&O stars George Dzundza (written out after the first season due to having to share the star title with his cast mates and being frustrated with having to commute from Los Angeles to New York constantly) and Chris Noth.
Dzundza and Noth were not introduced without style, either. They tell jokes and, at the same time, they manage to put the fear of God into criminals, the very men and women who threaten the street of New York City and abroad. Their backgrounds are quite unique: while both men are Catholic, Dzundza's Detective Sergeant Max Greevey happens to be a very devout Catholic. As we learn from the episode Life Choice, Sergeant Greevey is pro-life and cares deeply about the lives of innocent, unborn babies. Detective Logan, meanwhile, is cynical of his Catholic "faith" (quotation marks not on behalf of the faith itself but of Detective Logan's cynical faith--which isn't really faith, as you learn from getting to know Logan better) and is pro-choice entirely. Detective Logan hurts for the women who lost their clinic (to a bombing) and Sergeant Greevey struggles to not empathize with those guilty for the bombing.
Ah, yes: the episodes of Law & Order are, as it has been commonly said, "ripped straight from the headlines." They can be very disturbing at times--sometimes too disturbing. But, as we all know, a show has to be honest in order to be real.
With the character progression, action, suspense, drama, and sometimes humor, plus bonus features (a preview for the Law & Order computer game and interviews with Dick Wolf and fellow L&O crew members about the creation of the show and its background), the first season DVD for Law & Order is, hands down, a winner.
Features Dann Florek in his current SVU role as Captain Donald "Don" Cragen, along with (for one episode each, separately of each other) S. Epatha Merkerson and Courtney B. Vance, three years before Merkerson joined the cast of L&O and eleven years before Vance joined in the cast of L&O: Criminal Intent (neither of them play their future, permanent characters).