'L.A. Law' tries to entice viewers with another kiss . . . and more


Remember The Kiss?

It was the kiss of kisses of last year's TV season. It was the one on "L.A. Law" between C. J. Lamb (Amanda Donahoe) and Abby Perkins (Michelle Greene), the first lesbian kiss ever in prime time.

The program has another kiss coming tonight (9 p.m., Channel 2) that lots of folks will be talking about tomorrow morning. There's also a psycho killer, a cold-blooded shooting in the bedroom of one of the law partners, the bloody body of murdered woman hanged by her heels, and a woman attorney inviting Leland McKenzie (Richard Dysart) to a sexual encounter in a stall in the woman's bathroom.

It's kiss-kiss/bang-bang time on "L.A. Law" as the producers plunge up to their elbows in high-class, smartly crafted sex and violence to try to get the show back in the buzz and stave off a hard charge from "PrimeTime Live." The ABC news magazine program, which airs opposite "L.A. Law," has jumped into the top of late.

Will it work?

The fact that you are reading this indicates that it is, to a certain extent. The producers sent the tape of tonight's show to TV critics around the country hoping for previews like this, which will presumably drum up viewers.

It would be wrong, obviously, to write about the show just because it serves the producers' purposes, but this is one of the all-time great "L.A. Law" episodes. There is not a weak moment in it. It's funny/absurd. It's poignant. It has a great trial, sex, violence and The Kiss II.

The producers have asked reviewers not to discuss the kiss, but NBC is showing the scene in ads for tonight's episode, so . . . Kiss II is between McKenzie and Grace Van Owen (Susan Dey). Think of Lou Grant kissing Mary Richards in a romantic way. Unless Diane Sawyer finds Adolph Hitler alive and well in Argentina and has him exclusive, "L.A. Law" is where you want to be at 10 tonight.

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