Every so often on Law & Order you get a "Ripped From the Headlines" episode. The procedural drama equivalent of the sitcom' Very Special Episode, a RFTH episode is guaranteed to have at least two of the following: A plotline suspiciously similar to some incident that shocked the nation a good two or three months ago; shameless stunt casting in the form of a celebrity guest acting against type; and Benjamin Bratt not acting very well. With most of our afternoons free anyway, we here at CRACKED sat down and noted the most uncomfortable of these episodes during one of our daily L&O marathons.
7Stephen Colbert, Criminal Intent, season 3
Colbert's character is a forger of antique documents assisting a cult-like church in trying to prove its founder's sainthood. Colbert's mother is part of the congregation, and when one of the members is murdered, the son's past forgeries suggest a sinister motive. CI always tackles high-profile crimes, and no heinous act grips the public quite like…historical letter forgery!
Ripped from the headlines?
Yes. A skilled forger by the name of Mark Hofmann achieved notoriety by "discovering" early Mormon documents that cast doubt on the foundations of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Hofmann had cooked them up himself, and he managed to fool the Justice League of Handwriting Experts, or whoever gets to declare these things genuine.
Soon he was faking all kinds of documents: Brigham Young's false claim to succession, a Pilgrim constitution, Mark Twain's Bar Mitzvah speech. His finds were so in-demand that he started killing people pressuring him for new material. (Take note, CRACKED editors.)
Worth watching uncomfortably?
Colbert makes us laugh when he pretends to be a creepy, naive man. With this episode, he proves to the world that "creepy" is actually his entire dramatic range. It's almost impossible to watch his scenes here because you're anticipating punchlines that never come-it's like he faked right… and went right.
The overwrought dialogue doesn't help. On the other hand, doesn't this seem like a Colbert Report bit? A man who fabricates American history to bamboozle churchy folk with their own hypocrisy? Throw in some false grizzly bear leads, and this one reeks of Steve.