March 06, 2006 12:00 PM

NBC (Fridays, 10 p.m. ET)

BY TOM GLIATTO

DRAMA

The shows in the Law & Order franchise have a special endearing quality: a lived-in ugliness. The sets tend to feel either dirty or recently wiped down with an industrial-strength cleanser. Most of the characters look a little like that too, even Christopher Meloni. It’s the grimy patina that comes of the experience of working in New York City’s justice system.

Now Law & Order creator Dick Wolf has decided to spruce things up. He’s lowering the median staff age. Conviction is Law by way of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s an ensemble drama about young district attorneys—sexy young district attorneys—nailing down cases in Manhattan. The show does start off with a senior D.A., but he’s shoved into the afterlife. Ciao, old dude. That leaves the office to be run by Stephanie March from Special Victims Unit. She’s attractively icy and wears glasses she must have stolen from Lisa Loeb. The show has a sheen that’s distinctive from Law—young, exfoliated skin reflects light better from waxed court floors—and promises to be more fun than In Justice, airing on ABC. The pilot episode goes off without a hitch. But without much heat, either. Everyone needs to bed everyone else pronto.

Meanwhile, Wolf plans another series for NBC called Power, about young legal eagles in Hollywood. That’s the place with the pools and nubile bodies.

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