The original “Law & Order” will return to NBC with new episodes for Season 21, nearly a dozen years after the series signed off after a 20-year run.
Rick Eid will serve as showrunner of the new iteration of the series from Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television. “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf has worked for years to get the mothership series back with new episodes in primetime.
“There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true,” said Wolf. “This is mine.”
There’s no word yet from NBC on casting or a premiere date. The original series had a revolving ensemble over the years that helped keep the show energized as actors would naturally move in and out of roles in law enforcement and criminal justice.
“Law & Order” has spawned more than a dozen spinoffs that have generated billions of dollars in licensing revenue for NBCUniversal around the world. “Law & Order: SVU,” which bowed on NBC in 1999, has now outlasted the run of the original series and is in its 23rd season.
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” also had a long run on NBC and USA Network. Most recently, former “SVU” star Chris Meloni rejoined the Wolf pack by signing on for the series “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” which had a successful midseason launch in April.
NBC had ordered another “Law & Order” branded series for the 2021-22 season — “Law & Order: For the Defense” — but it was scrapped over the summer. That series would have examined the defense side of the criminal justice system in a deeper way than the franchise has done in the past. At the time there were rumblings of still another “L&O”-branded series in the works.
” ‘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 of Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere.”
The original series, with its distinctive procedural format, has become an enduring part of pop culture as reruns of the series are widely available across the television dial and now on the Peacock streaming platform. The show won the outstanding drama series Emmy in 1997.
“Law & Order” ended its run in May 2010, after 456 episodes, and was replaced on the NBC schedule that fall with “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” but that spinoff only lasted a season. At the time, Wolf shopped the show to TNT and AMC, among other networks, but both sides couldn’t come to terms on a license fee. More recently, NBC and Wolf in 2015 discussed bringing “Law & Order” back as a limited series, but that also didn’t come to fruition.
Other previous “L&O” series include “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” (2005-2006), “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” (2017). Another edition, “Law & Order: Hate Crimes,” was initially announced in 2018 but put on hold.
“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,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, chairman of Universal Studio Group.
Eid will executive producer the new “Law & Order” along with Wolf, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.
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