Thompson: Law & Disorder

After his sad 16 percent in South Carolina, it looks like Fred Thompson will be calling it quits before closing arguments in the next real presidential trials: Florida, and then February 5's Super Tuesday. But he has only himself to blame. When former senator Thompson was playing district attorney Arthur Branch in Law & Order, his end-of-the-episode appearances had a certain gravitas. But by Labor Day, when he finally made official his long-rumored run for the Republican nomination, it was late in the game. Too late.

And now the verdict is in: Not only did Thompson blow his presidential chances, but his misguided run also hurt Law & Order. With Thompson removed from the cast, longtime star Sam Waterston finally moved up from deputy DA to the top slot -- which gives Jack McCoy some long-delayed recognition, but also gives Waterston less time on screen. The result is a show almost as dull as Thompson's presidential run.

Objection, your honor. -- Patricia Calhoun