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Original 'Law & Order' To Return To Television For 21st Season After 12-Year Hiatus

Tuesday’s announcement of the beloved show's return comes with no news of who will lead the cast or when it will premiere, but NBC did say that the series will keep the classic split format of crime-solving and courtroom drama.

Law And Order G

Dun-dun! It’s back.

NBC announced this week that its original smash hit series “Law & Order” will be returning for a 21st season after 12 years. The return of the flagship series in the franchise, which has spawned several successful spinoffs, including the long-running “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the recent hit “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” has been a hope for its creator, Dick Wolf, for some time.

“There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true,” Wolf said in a statement. “This is mine.”

Tuesday’s announcement of the beloved show's return comes with no news of who will lead the cast or when it will premiere, but NBC did say that the series will keep the classic split format,  focusing on “the police who investigate the crimes and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders,” as NBC Universal said in its announcement. 

The series was nominated for more than 50 Emmy Awards and won in 1997 for Outstanding Drama Series.

“Law & Order” premiered in September 1990 and completed its 20-season run on May 24, 2010. Over those two decades, it launched the careers of Chris Noth, Richard Brooks and many others, while featuring beloved actors like Jerry Orbach, Dianne Wiest and Benjamin Bratt. On-location filming in New York gave the show its unique energy and local color, while several of the city’s personalities, including Donna Hanover and Fran Lebowitz, would often make appearances as judges. 

And of course, the show's theme music by Mike Post has become iconic — as has the show’s signature bleat and aural calling card, which The New York Times called “the most successful sound in television history.”

The show’s “ripped from the headlines” format, reflecting real-life cases, helped propel it to the top of the Nielsen television ratings for years. At the height of its popularity in 2002, a single episode brought in more than 20 million viewers. When its finale aired, “Law & Order” had tied with “Gunsmoke” for the longest-running prime-time TV drama.

”‘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 [Wolf] on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating,” Susan Rovner, chairman of  Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, told Variety.

“This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere,” she added.

Rick Eid will serve as showrunner of the new iteration of the series from Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television and Wolf, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski will serve as executive producers.

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