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20 February 2005 @ 10:38 pm
Law & Order: Criminally stealing from its viewers  
Tonight, you may have seen advertised a very special episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
You the viewer were given the chance, via the usual premium SMS voting line, to decide the ending.
Recurring character Nicole Wallace, is either going to live or die.
They showed both endings, and by SMSing your vote, and paying for the privilege, you decide which one is official.
You decide if Nicole lives to appear in future episodes or dies once and for all.

There's just one problem.

As you may have guessed, the episode aired in America some time ago.
Interestingly, there the vote was conducted online, aided no doubt by the higher level of broadband access.
Well before we even saw the episode, America voted that Nicole lives.
So, if Australia really makes their choice, and votes that Nicole dies, the network is going to have a pretty hard time explaining why she is appearing in a future episode.
Or are they just going to not show that one here?

Either way, the Australian public is being ripped off.

The episode was made this way basically because the Nicole Wallace character is one of those "controversial" characters.
Not that she stirs up controversial issues, just that a lot of viewers love her and a lot hate her.
That's why they wanted the viewers to decide if they wanted her to ever appear again.

The stupid thing is, the "live" option was actually a much better, open-ended ending than the "die" option.
The way the "live" option ended she may or may not be dead, as opposed to the "dead" option which ended with her in the morgue.
So, really, the makers of the show are under no obligation to ever have her appear again, regardless of the voting outcome.

But, the more imortant aspect of this difference is that it really set it up for the viewers to vote a certain way, anyway.
The "live" ending was a much better ending, dramatically.
The "die" ending seemed rushed and contrived.
So, it really seemed that they had deliberately set the viewer up to vote a certain way anyway.
Or, if I look at it less cynically, and compare it to the story that I just read about how this episode came to be, they wrote the "live" ending first, and quickly tacked the "die" ending on after they came up with the idea of the viewer vote.
Either way, the vote was very one sided.

In the end, anyone who tonight picked up their mobile phone, and paid for the privilege of voting on a foregone conclusion, is being ripped off.
I wonder whether Emily was right in saying that the Ten network may have been planning all along to report the result as a win for the "live" ending, regardless of the actual outcome of the vote.
If this is the case, a real investigation may need to be launched.

EDIT: This is insane.
Australia voted for Nicole to die. What the fuck are they going to do when she inevitably reappears?
Expect to be ripped off an episode of L&O:CI sometime in the future.
Steph_megalomania_ on February 20th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)
I had no idea about any of this...and now I'm glad I ran out of credit this afternoon (so voting wasn't an option) or I'd have wasted my money.
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC)
Well, when I saw the ads, my first reaction was to think, "But, wouldn't they have already shown this episode in America?"

And, sure enough, it didn't take much Googling to find out that they had, and which ending had been chosen.

Sorry if I spoiled the ending for you (they're replaying the chosen ending right now), but I figured no-one waiting for the ending would be reading LJ in the meantime.
Steph_megalomania_ on February 20th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC)
I'm quite ashamed that none of those things even occurred to me (the American airing or the use of google). You didn't spoil the ending, though I wouldn't have been too fussed if you had. I get spoiled for things all the time, and usually it's my own fault for being unable to wait.

I'm amused to see Australians voted for her to die. Can't help but hope the writers will bring her back in a future episode now, just to see what happens if it airs here.

Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 11:53 am (UTC)
Australia voted for the crappy option B!
Now Channel Ten has really put themselves in a pickle.
Some guy called Lap?harkon on February 20th, 2005 11:55 am (UTC)
Ooh, hopefully Today Tonight will beat them up for it...
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of emailing Channel Ten with a "please explain", but since they only give out snail-mail contact details, it might be more fun to give this particular "scoop" to the Herald Sun or somesuch other pillar of journalistic integrity.
Some guy called Lap?harkon on February 20th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC)
My guess is Channel 10 will say that you got to decide the episode's "ending". Did they actually show both possible outcomes in full?
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, they showed both endings in full.

In the one America voted for she may or may not be dead, in the one Australia voted for she is absolutely dead.

So, it might not come back to haunt them, but since the network in America saw it as an opportunity to see if America wanted to see more episodes with her in it, it probably will cause some grief up the track.
Steph_megalomania_ on February 20th, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'm sure it's wrong to hope that this backfires on Channel Ten really soon (with another episode featuring Nicole airing later in the season)...but I can't help it. I'm dying to see how they'd handle it (or if - as I suspect - they'd just put the episode on and hope nobody remembers enough to make the connection).
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
Well, that's the whole point isn't it?
They're playing us for saps.
Some guy called Lap?harkon on February 20th, 2005 11:56 am (UTC)
If you are reading this, could you please check the hotmail account listed in your user info?
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
That's there strictly for IM purposes.
It should work, but I never ever check it.
You can email me using (my livejournal username)@livejournal.com
Some guy called Lap?harkon on February 20th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
Address book updated...
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, and to answer your question, I have no idea.
I'm just a TAFE student, I don't even have tutes, I just have classes.
Some guy called Lap?harkon on February 20th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks anyway.
kunoichi_chankunoichi_chan on February 20th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
How odd. I am glad I didn't watch Criminal Intent tonight (though I normally would). I wouldn't have voted, but that's really silly. Waste of money, too... Perhaps the woman just isn't in any future episodes. *shrug*
Jacobyak_boy on February 20th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
But, that was the whole point of the vote (in America), to see if people wanted to see her in future episodes or not.

They voted yes, we voted no.
But, shucks, aren't the episodes made in America?

So, eventually, there will probably be another episode with her in it, and that leaves Channel 10 with two options:

1) Not air it, thus depriving the Australian audience of an episode.
2) Air it and hope no-one notices, thus treating the Australian audience like idiots.
Gailkowari on February 20th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)
Now you understand why I stopped watching the show.

Man it sucks! This proves it. NCIS is a much better show.
Stupid L&O.
Mikmareth_redorb on February 20th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
This is why I just don't watch TV any more.