Eleven and a half years after NBC abruptly canceled Law & Order, denying its shot at making TV history, the network is bringing back Dick Wolf’s Emmy-winning series for a new season, its 21st.
NBC has greenlighted a new installment of Law & Order, from Wolf and writer-showrunner Rick Eid, which will continue the classic bifurcated format and will once again examine “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”
There is no cast set but the new season is expected to feature beloved characters from the original series, with Sam Waterson’s Jack McCoy believed to be at the top of the wish list. Former cast members will be contacted by the producers of Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment about returning. Some Law & Order stars are currently in the Wolf Entertainment/Uni TV fold, including S. Epatha Merkerson on Chicago Med and Alana De La Garza on FBI.
Law & Order, which launched the biggest procedural franchise on TV, was on the cusp of breaking Gunsmoke’s record as the longest running primetime drama ever when NBC in May 2010 unceremoniously canceled the series without a proper finale when renewal negotiations fell through.
While Law & Order creator Wolf got to set a new record for the longest-running drama series with spinoff Law & Order: SVU, now in its 23rd season, he always felt he had unfinished business with the mothership series ending the way it did.
“There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true. This is mine,” He also spoke about the Season 21 orders.
There were rumblings about a potential Law & Order revival back in the spring, with feelers sent out to several original cast members. NBC ended up greenlighting a new Law & Order series instead, legal drama Law & Order: For the Defense. The network and Wolf eventually opted not to go forward with the new show, which had been scheduled for fall as part of a Law & Order Thursday lineup alongside SVU and L&O: Most Wanted. Shortly after news broke in July about For the Defense‘s cancellation, chatter shifted again to a revival of the mothership series.
Wolf has given Eid, one of his most trusted lieutenants to write the new installment and serve as showrunner. Eid, a Law & Order, L&O: SVU and L&O: Trial By Jury alum, is showrunner on two Wolf series, FBI and Chicago P.D.
Wolf and Eid executive produce the new season with Wolf Entertainment’s Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.
“Law & Order is quite simply one of the most iconic shows in television history, and the idea of continuing its legacy and partnering with Dick on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, “This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere.”
No premiere date for the new season has been set. The series, produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment, would likely be slotted alongside SVU and Most Wanted for a Law & Order Thursday lineup to match Wolf’s FBI Tuesday on CBS and One Chicago Wednesday on NBC.
“The return of the flagship Law & Order series for a pivotal 21st season is a proud moment for Dick and a proud moment for us, his studio partners,” Chairman of Universal Studio Group Pearlena Igbokwe.
The original series won Outstanding Drama Series in 1997 and was nominated for over 50 Emmy Awards.