Network sources caution that this is an idea that has been discussed from time to time, and a Law & Order limited series is not in active development at the moment. Still, there has been movement. I hear the network has been exploring the possibility of re-assembling the cast from the early years of the series. I hear several actors have been approached, including original cast members Chris Noth and Sam Waterston, who did not join the show until Season 5 but are the actors most closely associated with the Law & Order brand. I hear NBC is eyeing 10 new Law & Order episodes. The network had no comment.
A new Law & Order installment may help the series get into the history books — albeit with an asterisk. The crime drama’s shocking May 2010 cancellation after 20 seasons came as it had tied Gunsmoke for the longest-running primetime drama series. A limited run could be counted as Season 21, breaking the tie. It also could provide a nice epilogue for one of NBC’s most important series of the last two decades after it didn’t get the send-off it deserved with that abrupt, eleventh-hour cancellation.
That would also be a nice gesture to Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, for whom the legacy of the blockbuster franchise has been very important. He again is the most important drama producer for NBC — three from the five drama series given early renewal by the network yesterday are from Wolf Films: Law & Order spinoff SVU, which also has a shot at history with a Season 17 pickup, Chicago Fire, and its spinoff Chicago PD. Additionally, Wolf is working on further expanding the Chicago Fire franchise with a second spinoff, Chicago Med.
The currently very popular limited series genre lends itself well to bringing back beloved series. Fox did it successfully with 24 and is mulling a second limited series installment. Netflix did it with Arrested Development. NBC and Showtime are next with Heroes Reborn and Twin Peaks, respectively. Will Law & Order follow suit?