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Law & Order: TV Show Officially Cancelled; What Happened to Season 21?

IMAGEWell, now we can say it for sure. The original Law & Order TV show has been cancelled after 20 years. No special last episode, no beating Gunsmoke’s record, and no season 21. What the heck happened?

Created by Dick Wolf, Law & Order was revolves around NYPD crime investigations and the trials that follow. The current performers include Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Linus Roache, Alana de la Garza, and Sam Waterston.

If you look merely at the ratings. Law & Order should been cancelled awhile ago but it’s produced in-house and is lucrative in syndication. Last spring, Wolf reportedly made concessions to NBC so that the show could stay on the air in order to tie Gunsmoke’s number of seasons on the air.

A few months ago, NBC entertainment president Anglea Bromstad said that she intended to renew it for year 21. It was later revealed that NBC really needed TNT to pick up the additional episodes in syndication to help with the production costs. TNT already has 20 seasons of episodes to draw from and the agreement stipulates NBC couldn’t shop season 21 elsewhere.

According to Deadline, NBC had told Wolf in March that they would negotiate a new agreement with TNT to include financing for some new episodes. Supposedly, NBC opted not to do that.

According to NYMag, NBC was still interested in bringing the show back next season for between six and 10 episodes. To do that, NBC execs wanted him Wolf to find a way to trim costs even further, including potentially trimming his profits, to align more closely with the show’s low ratings.

It seems that Wolf balked at that idea and negotiations fell apart. Several people in the cast and crew were told that the deal wouldn’t be moving forward and that’s how the cancellation news leaked out. NBC claimed that they hadn’t made a final decision yet but ultimately decided to pass.

There was some speculation that TNT might pick up the show and finance first-run episodes. However, the cable channel made it known pretty quickly that they weren’t interested in that.

Law & Order has now been officially cancelled and won’t be back for season 21. The last episode will air on Monday, May 24th. It won’t have any closure though it will serve as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren’s swan song. Actress S. Epatha Merkerson was set to leave the show anyway.

Word is that the network and Wolf will meet to discuss some kind of closure for Law & Order. Characters might appear on another Law & Order series or there could be a wrap-up movie of some kind.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Law & Order go or has it overstayed its welcome? Would you like to see any of the characters transfer to other shows?

 

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Shani November 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I refuse to watch any other Law & Order Series. Dick did the same thing to Criminal Intent and U.K. Only a matter of time before SUV (why oh why is that one still on air I don’t know) and Law and Order LA meet the same fate as the series that started them all.

At least we know Mr. Wolfe isn’t the only one that shoots blanks. LOL.

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Wanda McKay November 10, 2010 at 6:07 am

I am very disappointed they should have allowed the final season to wrap up the story lines and I would love to see other characters move to other shows. I can watch all the Law and Order shows forever.

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sandy October 31, 2010 at 10:11 am

I really enjoyed watching Law & Order. I even purchased one of the earlier Series DVD’s.
I think they should at least do a final movie for all the fans they produced over the years. It would also be good to allow some of the actors from Law & Order to show up in some of the other Law & Order spin offs.

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Heather October 29, 2010 at 3:12 am

I think this is just awful!! If they knew they were cancelling, they should have had a good-bye finale. There has to be a huge amount of fans that have followed over the years, and are extremely disappointed. This wasn’t just a show that was on for only one season. I feel that NBC owes both the cast and the fans a finale at least, if they aren’t coming back.

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Brenda Hargrave October 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Please bring back L@O I miss the whole crew,L@O Los Angeles is awful and the only person that i like is Terrence Howard,there is no closeness together like it was on the L@O. I have no idea what is wrong with NBC please, I hope enough people continue to voice their opinion and vote for it to come back.

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AARON WARREN October 6, 2010 at 6:08 am

WELL IN MY OPINION,I REALLY DIDNT START CATCHING LAW N ORDER TILL ABOUT LATE 90s EARLY 2000s AND I LOVED IT WHEN JERRY ORBACH WAS IN IT BECAUSE, HE HAD THE PUNCHLINES AND MADE IT COOL TO WATCH AND WHEN HE DIED LATE 2004 FOR ME IT WAS LIKE WOW, BUT I TRIED TO KEEP UP WITH IT THE BEST I COULD BUT MY ONLY THING IS THIS….AT LEAST HAVE SOME TYPE OF CONSCIOUS WITH LETTING A 20 YEAR OLD SHOW HAVE A DECENT FUNERAL I MEAN THE WAY NBC DID IT WAS LIKE HOW FOX AND CBS DO SHOWS…”BOLD”,CONSIDERING I DONT WATCH NONE OF WHATS ON NBC NO MORE,FOX,OR CBS BECAUSE WHATEVER IT IS…DOESNT HAVE GOOD WRITERS…..PERIOD!!!! P.S. NBC,FOX,AND CBS…SINCE YALL HAVE SORRY WRITERS FOR WHATEVER COMES OUT,JUST USE BACK IN THE DAY IDEAS,YOU KNOW 1970S ,1980S..HELL START RE-DOING SHOWS BECAUSE YALL IDEAS SUCK!!!!

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Chance October 2, 2010 at 7:33 am

I watched nineteen seasons, and enjoyed them. After a few episodes of the final season, I quit watching because it got so radically left wing political. The show always had some political episodes, but they we usually (mostly) balanced and showed all sides of issues. The last season became a devise for left wing social commentary, without even a hint of being fair or showing all sides of the political issues they highlighted. I’m happy it was canceled… the final season sucked big time.

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Linda July 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

I love this show, please don’t take it off, i get so tired of all stupid shows that are on, who wants to watch about a bacholor, who cares about some one trying to lose weight , They take off the good shows and leave on the crap.

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Maria Ann Smith June 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Granted Epatha was planning on leaving…but how can you possibly let go a phenomenal talent as Sam Waterston? What is with you people? Saw Sam at Long Wharf Theater in Have You Seen Us and I was totally floored by the talent this actor possesses. WAKE UP.

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Maria Ann Smith June 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Let may say AGAIN —- will you please bring back Law and Order….Vincent & Kathryn…you are needed back on CI. Jeff is okay if he had more quirks…but the others are BORING! NBC – WAKE UP FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE….BRING LAW AND ORDER BACK.

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Tony Garrido June 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Please bring back Law & Order, We watch this as a family night. I’ve been a fan for a very long time. NBC you need to think what you guys are doing don’t make the same mistake that BP made…

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Maria Ann Smith June 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm

What is going on? L&O Criminal Intent is awful. SVU – so far so good. Please- bring back Law and Order – it was and will always be a phenomenal show. Wake up NBC. Let’s get the crap off the air and stick with the good stuff. And as an added note: Vincent D’Onofrio—Kathryn Erbe………..PLEASE COME BACK AS WELL. Saw Sam Waterston in a play recently….phenomenally talented…miss seeing him on L&O. NBC – you are burying yourself by not seeing to it that L&O had a season 21.

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mary-jo uplinger June 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

yes iam very upset to see law and order go off the air.iam such a big fan of the show and could never get trired of watching it. i loved all the characters,i think allthe story lines were great.i dont know how the ratings droped,beause as i see it there isnt that much on at this time that i really like. i really like to see nbc change it mind. mary-jo

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Lyn Kristensen June 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Law and Order is y favourite TV show. I have all the Box Sets available.
I cannot in words express my disappointment that Law and Order has been cancelled.
If there was anything I could do to have this decision altered I would do it.,
PLEASE DO NOT CANCELL THS FANTASTIC SHOW. IT IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW TV SHOWS MADE FOR ADULTS AND WHICH HAS A BUILT IN SOCIAL VALUE.

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suzanne johnson June 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Read today that the show has been cancelled and I couldn’t believe it. I’m very disappointed the show has been cancelled. My husband and I would stay home to watch it; dvr-ing was not an option. Very well written and acted and always intriguing and surprising. NBC must reconsider.

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