Courts Winners & Sinners Too Thin

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Call it the law's greatest hits: Courtroom Television
Network will air a retrospective of some of the past decade's big trials before we ring in
the New Year.

The basic network will actually run a two-week
retrospective, kicked off with sort of a cinematic summary called Winners & Sinners.

And a retrospective is all it is: It might have been
interesting had a reporter taken a run at updating the fodder here, especially since most
of the core material is so overexposed. This viewer, for one, has seen the "If it
doesn't fit, you must acquit" clip from the O.J. Simpson trial summation more times
than my own wedding video.

No, the only professional who gets a workout in this
special is the editor, and he or she wields a quick cutter. Even material that hasn't been
shown to death -- like the cathartic victim declarations by the survivors of Colin
Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad shooter -- are trimmed so tight that they are nearly
robbed of their humanity. This segment, which shows the true devastation of handgun
violence, can't be shown enough.

The clip selection for the hour-long kick-off special has
some bizarre choices. One features a grizzled Charles Manson ranting at a parole hearing.
Taken out of context, it makes even less sense than Manson usually does.

There are some intriguing nuggets. The commentators allude
to their favorite subjects, such as attorney Bobby Lee Cook, described as a
"real-life Matlock." He's prone to saying things like, "He's such a liar
that if he told me it was raining out, I wouldn't even get my coat and my hat." But
that's all you hear of him.

Actually, if you're intrigued at all by Winners &
Sinners
, you'd be better off surfing into and out of Court TV for the two weeks ending
the year. The network will reprise 10 trials and one parole hearing. Coverage of the
Jeffrey Dahmer and Menendez brothers trials will be included, as well as classic
law-themed movies such as Inherit the Wind. The programming year will end with a
top 10 Crime Stories countdown.

Winners & Sinners will debut tonight (Dec. 20) at
10 p.m. on Court TV. Check local listings for the legal repeat of your choice.

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