And thats all that I do
Why do I have to pretend
To find ways to be around you?
At the moment, what with being in grad school fulltime plus working 20 hours a week, I have approximately ZERO TIME to do anything other than go to work, school and do work for school. So why is this what I’m doing with the precious little free time I have?? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!
BECAUSE, JUST… !!!!! THEIR SELVES AND THEIR FACES AND BECAUSE MATTY DEVLIN AND HIS ADORABLE CRUSHING AND BECAUSE ALESHA PHILLIPS AND HER KICKASS SOLICITOR CONFIDENCE AND THEM TOGETHER IS JUST ...!!!!
So please enjoy a post dedicated to the Law & Order ship that came out of nowhere: Detective Sargeant Matt Devlin (Law) & Junior Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips (Order).
You've been there all along
Holding my hand like you do
Why do I feel that its wrong
To love to be around you?
Due to the format of the various law & order vehicles, the episodes are usually more focused on the case of the week, you often learn more about the victim or the perpetrator than you ever know about the main characters. However, the writers have done a magnificent job of dropping in bits of personal info for each throughout the series – little pieces of a puzzle that gradually start to form a larger picture of what each of these characters are like – their distinct personalities, their histories, their belief systems... And as little moments between the characters start to add up, you begin to see genuine relationships between them start to form – not just as colleagues, but as friends. And this is where the two gorgeous people above come in!
For those unfamiliar with the show and this ship, here's a general rundown:
From what we’ve learned about DS Matt Devlin, he’s still a relatively young detective, who takes a very black and white view of most things he comes across in his job. He was born to Irish immigrants and has a love-hate relationship with his Catholic upbringing. And from bits of dialogue dropped throughout the series, we can surmise that his homelife wasn't the best growing up. He’s an idealist who wears his heart on his sleeve - and he must suck royally at poker because this kid can’t hide an emotion to save his life. More often than not, these visible emotions are usually being expressed over a certain CP... Matt’s love life and effect on women is a bit of a running joke, and he’s often (and hilariously) the object of many day-player’s affections. He’s a hopeless flirt, HOWEVER, since the start of the series, we’ve heard nothing about any romantic interludes DS Devlin may have been engaging in in his spare time – and I can only conclude that this is probably due to the amazing amount of awesome that is Alesha Phillips, and the MASSIVE CRUSH that Matt has on her.
From the start, we’ve known that Alesha worked hard to get to where she is and to overcome the hurdle of growing up poor in a rough neighborhood. She’s intelligent, confident, strong, and she does NOT mess around. We’ve watched her go through hell and come back out the other side, shaken and bruised, but far from damaged. She’s often the voice of morality and empathy when working with her superiors, forcing them to remember that its real people they’re dealing with, not abstract principles - sometimes she even finds herself fighting on behalf of the person they’re prosecuting. This is where Matt and Alesha’s personalities and beliefs overlap – they both have a difficult time of separating the person they see before them from the crime they committed, and it’s something they often find themselves struggling with. Alesha’s usually all business whenever she finds herself working with her “Law” counterparts, but these little cross-overs always seem to brighten her day a bit and bring out another side of her. It probably helps that she’s got Matt Devlin not so subtly pining after her and making hilariously ill-timed/non- effective efforts to flirt with her – upon which Alesha usually has no idea how to react and is like, seriously nonplussed but flattered at the same time.
For most of the series, the Matt/Alesha attraction always seemed pretty one-sided, although their friendship is the one on the show to have grown the most. However, what started out as harmless flirting on Matt’s part seemed to evolve into something much deeper and real as the episodes progressed (as evidenced by basically every Matt/Alesha and Matt moment in series 1, episode 7 “Alesha”, and here and there throughout later episodes). And then halfway through series 3, something seemed to shift, and suddenly the Matt/Alesha more-than-friends potential relationship didn’t seem so one-sided anymore. Alesha, who never seemed to take Matt’s flirtations seriously, quietly began to exhibit a growing regard for him, beyond friendship, herself – that she realized maybe his signs of affection for her were genuine, and that she was not immune to it.
The writers have done a beautiful job of quietly developing this friendship (that could be more) over the past couple seasons. On a show that doesn’t delve too deeply into the main character’s lives very often, little moments between the two characters that keep getting inserted seem just seem so organic, real and just truly lovely. Although their scenes typically revolve around their current case, there are subtle moments in each – a piece of dialogue, a look – that indicates their friendship continues to evolve, and that they're constantly discovering new elements and depths within each other.
Let me break down the reasons for their incredibleness, starting at the beginning. Any pretence of maturity or non-fangirlishness has now been abandoned.
1) They cross the Law/Order divide and work together!
2) Which usually leads to things like this:
Alesha: (watching Ronnie) Careful, wait til he offers...
Matt: He knows what he’s doing. We’re not just pretty faces.
The flirtatious seeds continue to be sown - and my love begins to grow:
Matt: Oi, how come he gets to have breakfast with you?
Ronnie: (to Alesha) Leave it to me sweetheart, I’m your man.
Matt: Leave what? What’s he doing for you?
Alesha: You come in late, you miss things.
Matt: (shouts out after her as she leaves)...Hey. do you want a coffee!?!
HA, AHAHAHA OH MATT, ever the flirt. But Alesha throwing it right back at him and him being all adorably desperate over her and just, LOVE.
Let the obligatory flirtation in the most inappropriate places continue!
Teddy the Forensicator: You see now, the girlfriend’s car - amazing assortment of specimens in that vehicle. You’ve got sand from two beaches, probably in Norfolk, traces of assorted human detritus, mostly exfoliated skin and the parasites that feed on it. Stuff you might find in your mattress.
Matt: (to Alesha) Not in my mattress.
FABULOUS. And meanwhile, as Matt’s flirting like it’s his job, Alesha’s all adorably like “Uh, okaaay then.” But what makes it is Ronnie’s total “WTF you’re gonna flirt with her here?!” face.
OH MATT DEVLIN AND YOUR FACE I CAN’T EVEN. But seriously, Jamie Bamber makes THE BEST FACES ON THIS SHOW. I DO NOT LIE.
3) THEY ARE RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF ADORABLE TOGETHER
Matt: We’ve got enough on Dutton to charge him with voyeurism - with any luck they’ll end up linking it back to the original e-mails anyway.
Alesha: Not a total waste of time then. What happened to the other one?
Matt: Oh Lowery, yeah. He got out - solicitor managed to get the sexual assault charges dismissed.
Alesha: So he’s back, “spreading the love”.
Matt: I guess so. I can introduce you if you like.
Alesha: Yeah, I think I’ll pass. Oh actually Matt, I’ll need to get a copy of your report.
Matt: What, you wanna check my homework? *SMIRK*
WHERE HAD THEY BEEN? WHAT HAD THEY BEEN DOING?? It's embarrassing how giddy I was when they cut to the two of them walking and talking about the case and being all chummy and at ease with each other. IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY NOW. Things like this:
Matt: Tamika knows what Charlie Tiener was up to, only she um...well, she won’t talk to us.
Alesha: You want me to go...? No, Matt. I’m so not her favorite person.
Matt: What’s not to like?
It's not like he's even intentionally flirting - it just popped out
4) They confide in one another
These scenes are some of my favorites because they show the trust they have in one another growing and how close they're becoming outside of just being colleagues. I love the subtle progression of their friendship SO FUCKING MUCH.
Alesha: Really shouldn’t be digging around in other cases.
Matt: I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.
HE CAME TO HER ON A SUPER IMPORTANT AND SUPER SECRET MATTER, AND SHE WAS LIKE “I WILL TOTES HELP YOU OUT, OBVIOUSLY.”
Alesha: Diane was my best mate at uni. She was raped by her boyfriend and his roommate - they said she’d asked for it. She took a whole load of pills, she quit, she went home. Only I knew.
Matt: What’s all that got to do with Dr. Merrick?
Alesha: She thought she couldn’t have kids because of what they did - so I told her to go and see him. God, I even lent her the money.
Matt: Alesha, why didn’t you come to us?
Alesha: What was the point? She wouldn’t even talk to me, her friend.
Matt: So what, you went to Merrick’s to find out what he’d done?
Alesha: I never knew, but he must have raped her, too. And now he’ll walk free, leaving all of his victims to live with what he did. And it’s all my fault.
Alesha tells MATT about her reasons for getting involved with Merrick (after she was brutally outed on the stand) and how now she's blaming herself for his getting away with everything, and Matt just listens and is there for her.
Matt: Was Jimmy Valentine on duty when the evidence went missing?
Alesha: Along with 17 other officers. Investigation found no fault with anyone on shift that day.
Matt: No fault, terrific.
Alesha: Matt this doesn’t prove anything.
Matt: Except that Jimmy Valentine always seems to be around whenever something funny happens.
Alesha: You should talk to Ronnie.
Matt: I tried... Didn’t go too well.
Alesha knows how close Matt is to Ronnie and that all this must be eating at him, and it's heartbreaking because she can see how upset he is that he's so disconnected from his partner and friend and I fall in love with them just a little bit more.
5) They stand up for each other
When Alesha was assaulted, Matt was the one pleading her case and standing up for her even when the case seemed hopeless. When James decided to use Matt’s deceny, kind-heartedness and respect for the law (knowing Matt wouldn't perjure himself) to argue that Matt's arrogance, poor judgment and incompetence led to the victim's death, Alesha wanted no part of it and was royally PISSED when James just discarded Matt as the case's "collateral damage". And when Natalie and Ronnie didn't fully believe that a young girl had murdered a boy because he had raped her, it was pretty obvious that Matt was so ready to believe her because he was thinking of what had happened to Alesha.
Matt: (to Ronnie) We can’t just give up! This is Alesha we’re talking about here!
Ronnie: If it were any other woman, you’d say the same.
Matt: It’s not any other woman, it’s Alesha!
Alesha: You didn’t have to go that far.
James: I went as far as I needed to.
Alesha: Matt Devlin is a good police officer!
Matt: You saying you don't believe her?
Natalie: I'm saying I'm not 100%
Matt: Well from where I was sitting, I saw a nice young girl who's been through hell.
Ronnie: Yeah well hang on, I mean don't forget at the beginning of all of this there's a dead teenager.
Natalie: Precisely. As a detective I wouldn't mind seeing some evidence to back up her story. When have we dealt with a murder-rape where the rapist was a dead body?
Matt: Well I say "good on her" for fighting back.
6) They comfort and support and just genuinely CARE about one another
If Alesha's ever hurt or upset IN ANYWAY, Matt typically looks like someone just ran over his pet bunny.
Alesha: He just frutted it out. Then he brought up cancer.
Alesha: To intimidate me. Don’t go planning my funeral just yet.
Natalie: So his line will be he was just doing his job.
Alesha: I know the difference between ebeing examined and being assaulted. Unless you don’t believe me.
Ronnie: Oh don’t be daft, of course we believe ya.
Natalie: We’re on your side, ok?
Alesha: It’s gonna be hard to prove
Matt: Hey, it’s never stopped us before.
The entire time Alesha’s calmly giving her statement, Matt’s standing off to the side all tense and upset and twitchy. The second Alesha mentions cancer an immediate look of horror and despair appears on his face (HIS FACE). It's little moments like this when you can begin to see how real Matt's feelings are and how much he genuinely cares for her.
And later, when Alesha's freaking out about the boys' inability to do anything productive, Matt can hardly even look at her, feeling like he’s let her down.
Alesha: What if he goes further next time?
Alesha: What if he already has??
Then when Alesha's been raped, who does Ronnie KNOW Alesha needs? MATT.
Ronnie: Matt, why don't you go in and see her - you're her mate.
Matt: How are you?
Alehsa: I've had better days. At least now we can lock the bastard up. He drugged me, Matt. Must have been ryhpnol or GHB, I don't know. But he kept plying me with water in his office and then in the room.
Matt: Why did you go back after what he already did?
Alesha: Someone had to stop him... I didn't expect him to rape me. It hurt like hell. He kept talking, and I couldn't do anything. You know like in a nightmare, where you can't move or scream? It's ok. All of the romantic details I've forgotten should be on this.
Matt: You filmed it?
Alesha: Hid it in my bag. It's not my word against his anymore. I won't be a victim, Matt.
FREEMA/ALESHA, WAY TO BREAK MY HEART INTO A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.
While Ronnie, James and George watch Alesha’s spycam footage, Matt stands tensely off by the window with his back turned to the whole thing, because he just can’t bear to watch. And then James was like "Did you know she was gonna do this?" and for some reason I just loved that BECAUSE JAMES TOTALLY KNOWS
Matt: She’s here!?!
After James finishes discouraging Matt by informing him that the tape might not be enough to prosecute, Matt notices that Alesha's come into work – the day AFTER she’s been raped - and is suitably like “HOLY SHIT WHAT DO I DO?!”
He does this:
Matt: Hey there.
Alesha: You alright?
Matt: Yeah....You should be at home.
Ronnie: He's right, you know.
And it's just so sweet and I want to take them both home and cuddle them.
(Have I not made it obvious enough for you that "Alesha" is one of my favorite episodes and that I LOVE IT MORE THAN MOST THINGS at the moment??)
Matt: How are you, anyway?
Alesha: Some days are good. Last week I thought the whole world knew and everyone was looking at me.
Matt: Well if you need anything.. you know, if you just wanna talk, or not talk, or just, just company, you know – nothing funny, I’m not cracking onto you.
Alesha: Why not? I’m not broken, Matt.
Matt: Look, um... I think about what happened to you a lot. I wasn’t sure if I should mention it. I’m a bit crap at this.
Alesha: Just be the same – same as always.
This scene in “Samaritan” (the ep after “Alesha”) actually takes place right before the start of Merrick's trial, and it's been a couple of months since the rape. I don't know how often Alesha's talked about it, but Matt still caring enough to ask how she's coping speaks VOLUMES. He just wants to be there for her, and let her know she can come to him for anything and he is just so endearing in his adoration and awkwardness. And Alesha doesn't want Matt to see her as a victim and tells him that she just wants him to be her friend and to treat her as always
They have parallel horrible trial experiences, and one is always in the other's corner, lending some moral support (even though Alesha was on the prosecuting team skewering Matt, but she made her stance on that tactic clear at the start).
You can basically SEE the pain one is feeling on the other's behalf.
When Natalie believes a suspect could be lying about being raped, Matt takes the whole thing harder than Alesha seems to. During the conversation, they’re both constantly stealing glances at one another, checking in to make sure that the other’s ok.
Matt: You ok?
Natalie: What do you think? You got enough?
Alesha: Unless we can prove her story’s a lie she’ll walk on self-defense.
Ronnie: But worth us investigating..?
Alesha: I guess so. Until we know exactly what happened in that flat, yes, it’s worth investigating.
Matt's devestated when a childhood friend is driven to suicide, so traumatized after re-encountering the man who abused him as a kid - but when Matt can't deal with the fact that the police and the CPS seem to have hit a dead end on being able to bring charges, who’s on the case?
Ronnie: Alesha, is that it?
Alesha: Leave it with me.
AND SHE STAYS UP ALL NIGHT SCOURING THROUGH CASE LAW NOT BECAUSE SHE'S OUT FOR JUSTICE BUT BECAUSE IT’S FOR MATT.
I don't know which I love more - Matt so obviously wearing his heart on his sleeve, or Alesha quietly acting on behalf of a friend because she cares about him.
And when Matt had to testify on behalf of his dead childhood friend, Alesha was the one to offer him comfort – she touched his hand (SHE TOUCHED HIS HAND!) and told him that he’d be alright.
Alesha: You ok?
Alesha: Thanks for doing this, Matt.
Matt: Damaged goods? Well if I’d have known that, I would have told you years ago about the day Eamon my goldfish died.
Alesha: You’ll be alright.
I ALMOST DIED FROM SHOCK/HAPPINESS.
So in conclusion, the moral of this obnoxiously long and involved post - if you haven't already been able to tell - is that I am kind of in love with Matt and Alesha right now, and obviously you should be too.
Do you feel what I feel? Well?
Do you feel this way too?
That every wound seems to heal when I am around you
And I must be losing my mind
Maybe I have been hopelessly blind to your beaauty.
And you have a sweet sinful smile
I'm in trouble
You turn me upside down and around and around and around
My feet don't touch the ground when I'm around you.
- Around You, Ingrid Michaelson