Television: Cross Courts

Two reality shows reveal the messy side of justice

The formula is a hit for Law & Order: rip a legal case from the headlines and make it into drama. Now two reality series, NBC's Crime & Punishment and ABC's State V., are cutting out the middleman and giving us the headlines straight from the courtroom.

Crime (Sundays, 10 p.m. E.T.), from L&O producer Dick Wolf, borrows not just L&O's cha-chung! sound between scenes but also its pro-prosecution bent. Made in cooperation with San Diego prosecutors, it finds raw drama in cases of murder and child molestation; after one verdict, a courtroom melee breaks out. As reality TV, it's riveting,...

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