>Geography on TV: Law & Order (S19/E14:Rapture)



I probably watch far too much TV. I am selective about what I watch, though, and the shows that I watch tend to feature geographic themes occasionally.

Law & Order in all of its permutations is one of my favorites. SVU, or Criminal Intent, or the Original Series, it doesn’t matter. They are all great. I haven’t always felt this way; I thought they were boring and routine. Sometimes, they are. But Christopher Peloni and Mariska Hargitay are an awesome team, Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt, or Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathyrn Erbe – a great cast of characters.

Many of these shows have geographic themes that pervade them. Cell phones with GPS, GPS, mapping technology, image analysis, and cultural diversity can be found in almost every episode.

During Episode 14 of Season 19 (is that true?), an episode entitled, “Rapture,” the audience gets gun through the gamut of major world religions, a fundamentalist Christian sect that works to relocate Jews to Israel in hopes of advancing the time of the rapture, and a Zionist facilitator that seeks asylum with Muslim Iran. Sometimes, the plot becomes so woven I loose the threads.

The concept of Extraterritoriality plays an important role in this episode. Extraterritoriality goes back to the days of Britain in China, when the British passed laws that made them and the land they occupy exempt from the local Chinese laws. This concept became the basis for the embassy systems in place today – the idea that once one steps foot inside the border of their embassy the ground is subject to the laws of the homeland and not the laws of the land in which the embassy exists. Consider “The Da Vinci Code” as Robert Langdon tries to reach the U.S, embassy in Paris, in order to elude the French legal system, aka the police.

As you watch TV, watch for geographic themes, they can make a seemingly entertaining show even more so.


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