“Law & Order” is a television series that has been occupying airtime since 1990. Its newest crime anthology, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” premiered on September 26, and dramatizes the high-profile criminal trial of Lyle And Erik Menendez, two brothers from Beverly Hills who were convicted of killing their parents, Jose and Mary. The crimes took place in 1989 inside the Menendez home. Lyle and Erik were 21 and 18. Jose was shot point-blank in the head, and Mary was shot multiple times, leaving her unrecognizable. A 9-1-1 call was placed by Lyle, in which he cried, “Somebody killed my parents.”
The brothers were not seen as suspects at first, but attracted the attention of authorities when they spent about $1 million of their parents’ fortunes immediately after their deaths.
The series follows stars Gus Halper as Erik Menendez, Miles Gaston Villanueva as Lyle, Edie Defalco as the defense attorney Leslie Abramson and Josh Charles as Dr. Jerome Oziel, the brothers’ psychologist whose sessions with the boys ended up leading to their convictions.
“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” is mostly based on facts of the case. The show does a phenomenal job at not drawing its own conclusions as to who was guilty and who was not. It displays the facts, fuels them with the dramatized emotions of all of the parties involved, and lets the audience reach their own verdict. It’s filled with surprising twists, shocking revelations, and interesting angles. It draws in outside factors that impacted the crime and how it was shaped by the moment and by the boys’ social status.
The Menendez Murders were crimes that fit perfectly for television, and the “Law & Order” anthology turns it into exactly that. Since most of us weren’t around to watch the trial in 1990, we can, luckily, watch this story be told in a different light on NBC on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.