Why I Love When Sam Waterston Yells: The Joy of Witnessing Righteous Indignation

When you are down or having a hard day, I recommend watching, or re-watching, Law and Order (the original, and preferably seasons 10 and 11 specifically). It may help due to pure nostalgia, but also note the therapeutic outbursts of the characters, and the calming effect of the episode formula.

Every. Single. Time. Some unsuspecting people find a body, it’s declared a murder, and Jerry Orbach says something cynical. Detectives interview people who don’t remember things and then suddenly do really, really clearly. Lawyers accuse someone and then realize they’re wrong and accuse someone else. They are all pursuing true justice against the odds. Sometimes someone in power is trying to stop them. Then Sam Waterston yells at someone, and then they sometimes win. At the end, there’s always a lovely scene where the lawyers et al., chat about what they have learned, and how it reflects on society. Then someone else says something cynical and the credits role.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

And the overacting. And the appearances from super young actors who later became famous. It’s fabulous.

In some ways it’s comforting to know that, no matter what I’m going through, at least I’m not sitting in a witness box weeping while Sam Waterston yells at me in righteous fury.

Or in one of those small rooms with a table in the middle where they agree to a plea for something like “8 and a half to 25”.

But also wouldn’t you love just once to be able to yell at someone a la Sam Waterston?

“Are you telling me, that you didn’t know [very obvious thing]…” Or “That’s quite a coincidence Mr. So-and-So.”

And they would, of course, break down and cry and say, “Ok, ok! I did it! I confess! I’m so sorry.”

I’d love that.

So in conclusion, re-watch Law and Order. It’s good for you.

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