Watching Law & Order Has Made Me Afraid of Public Restrooms

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

So I know I'm not the only nutjob who comes home from work, puts on a little TNT to catch a rerun of Law & Order, then realizes five hours later that the whole evening has passed her by and she has once again spent more time with Lennie Briscoe than her own husband.

The point is, watching so much Law & Order has made me afraid of public restrooms. Not just restrooms, but parking garages, alleys, car trunks, and parks. Why? Because I'm constantly imagining I'm going to find a dead body there.

It's how every episode of the original (and still the best) L&O starts. Some extras are bantering back and forth - running in the park, arguing outside a restaurant, playing with their kids in the playground - and bam. Cadaver. Just sittin' there. Or actually, laying there. Sometimes with some bruises around the head and neck, sometimes with a big ol' pool of blood pouring out of their noses. Sometimes with a glove or a baseball bat nearby. Sometimes nothing.

I wonder how many two-bit actors have been cast as "the ones who discover the body" in the history of Law & Order. Sometimes they just have one or two bits of dialogue, usually along the lines of, "Oh my God, Jerry, call the police!" But sometimes, if they're lucky, they get to have a little back and forth with Lennie and his partner after the opening credits, where they tell the detectives a little bit about what they know. ("I could always hear them fighting in the apartment." Or "She was a crazy one, visitors in and out at all hours." Or "I never liked him. He played his music so loud.")

More often than not, however, they are just glimpsed for a few seconds as they react to the shock of finding a dead body where they never expected one to be. And they've rubbed off on me, these people, causing me to fear every remote public space where the next police case could be hiding.

Sigh. These are the things that I think about. This is what takes up my brain space. Don't know if that's good or bad or what. I'm just being honest with you.

-- Jennifer Mathieu

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.