Law & Order: Tonight’s May Not be the Last Episode

Law & orderOne of the surprises of last week’s TV news was the cancellation of Law & Order after 20 seasons. The venerable NBC drama had been on the cusp of becoming the longest-running primetime drama on American television. Tonight marks the series finale of the show, or does it?

Created by Dick Wolf, Law & Order revolves around criminal investigations by the NYPD 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.

The ratings for Law & Order have been pretty low for awhile but, in part because it is produced in-house and in part because the rest of NBC’s schedule has done so poorly, the series has remained on the air.

It looked like it would certainly be back for season 21 but Wolf and NBC couldn’t come to an agreement over the finances. One potential deal even had NBC paying for eight episodes and TNT (which airs syndicated reruns) paying for another eight but the cable channel wouldn’t go for it.

Last week, NBC announced that a new series, Law & Order: Los Angeles, would be joining the schedule in the fall and that the original Law & Order had been cancelled. TNT released a statement that said the cable channel wasn’t in talks to pick it up.

However, it seems Wolf and NBC aren’t giving up. The veteran producer says that he’s seeking “other offers” for the show to try to keep it going as a weekly series. There are now reportedly meetings set up between NBC Universal and TNT execs to revisit the possibility of the cable channel funding original episodes. The NBC folks are apparently going over the numbers to try to figure out a way to make it work financially.

If these efforts don’t succeed, there has been talk of NBC working out a deal with Wolf to film some sort of wrap up for the show. That would most likely take the form of a two-hour movie.

Whatever happens, it doesn’t sound like tonight’s episode will be the last we’ll see of Law & Order. Despite issuing a statement that the series has been cancelled, NBC is now referring to tonight’s installment as merely the season finale.

What do you think? Do you think the TV show will continue on another station, will wrap up in a movie, or just disappear?

Canceled and renewed TV show

63 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Paula says

    Of course I think L & O has to continue. It’s one of the few intelligent shows on TV. What is better? Dancing with the Stars?

  2. P. Stamp says

    I do hope that NBC and TNT can come to an arrangement to give this show another season. Best of luck to you, Mr. Wolf in seeing this thru. I just re-watched some of the episodes from the last couple seasons. They’re really good. Different from episodes from the early years, but engaging nonetheless. The quality of the writing and acting is still far superior to most of what is on television, and much of what gets higher ratings. I personally want to find out more about what will happen between Linus Roache’s character and Sam Waterston’s. Their relationship has added a new dynamic to the show. I think there are more fireworks to be mined there.

  3. Forever Faithful says

    Watched last nights “Finale” and was upset by the thought of this WONDERFUL show ready to be canceled! After watching J.McCoy torpedo the union rep/lawyer out of the water, I thought ‘what are they thinking?” This is what ‘law & order’ is all about; the very idea of having a Jack McCoy to fight for what is right and will not back down to no one…
    This is hands down the very best show on the air. I along with many of the L&O fans have been true to this show since the beginning. I believe something this good is worth fighting for – find a way to keep L&O on the air; do what you gotta do to make it work! But do not assassinate Van Buren, she and McCoy are the cornerstone of the show. I will watch L&O regardless of what station carry’s it.

  4. TA says

    Law and order will be a forever TV series. I loved the ending. I watch it on TNT in the evenings for two hours. It’s one of those series you never get tired of watching. I pretty much know what the episode is going to be as soon as it comes on but you just never get tired of watching the process and all the actors doing what they do best. I will buy the TV box set of the series so I can watch Law & Order whenever I want to now that its gone off.

    Law & Order – Fantastic
    Law & Order Special Victims Unit – Fantastic – Elliot nd Stabler are two terrific actors.
    Law & Order – Criminal Intent – Horrible, especially with D’Onofrio and Erbe. I mean he solved all the cases, no mystery. Erbe’s role was nothing, the writers really did her a disservice. Keep that show off local channels.

  5. TA says

    Law and order will be a forever TV series. I loved the ending. I watch it on TNT in the evenings for two hours. It’s one of those series where you never get tired of watching. I pretty much know what the episode is going to be as soon as it comes on but you just never get tired of watching the process and all the actors doing what they do best. I will buy the TV box set of the series so I can watch Law & Order whenever I want to.

    Law & Order – Fantastic
    Law & Order Special Victims Unit – Fantastic
    Law & Order – Criminal Intent – Horrible, espeically with D’Onofrio and Erbe. I mean he solved all the cases. Erbe’s role was nothing, the writers really did her a disservice. Keep that shoff off local channels.

  6. Connie says

    Another quality show gone. What is the network thinking. I entered a comment on another show that I felt was very good. The same holds true for L&O. The reality shows are dumbing-down America. What entertainment is seeing a man degrading women and his worship decides on a mate. Same as the reverse. This is good entertainment??? Also, and I know there are fans out there, but Amazing Race. What is this good. Teams arguing about whose holding up who??

  7. CNapier says

    My wife and I have loved this show for along time and I think we’ve seen every episode and watched a lot of reruns. Even though were still watching faithfully the one thing we really miss is Jerry Orbach who played Lenny. He brought a great sense of humor to the role he played. Now we have Anthony Anderson playing Detective Kevin Bernard who is a funny man, but they have him playing so serious. Don’t get me wrong I know its a serious show!! I think that Detective Munch from Law and Order SVU would have been a great replacement for Lenny or Jerry Orbach who played Lenny, who could have brought that little bit of humor that he is so good at. I think it would help ratings. Please don’t take it off NBC!!!

  8. DocJohnson says

    In response to the comment suggesting a series finale revolving around the assassination of Lt. Van Buren, I have to point out that this would closely resemble, if not mirror/duplicate exactly, the 2 hour finale of Homicide: Life on the Street. In that finale, Lt. Giardello is gunned down during a speech for his mayoral campaign in Baltimore, and much of the original cast, most notably Andre Braugher’s Det. Frank Pembleton, return to work on the case. The episode ended with a dream sequence of sorts, in which Giardello and two deceased characters (Daniel Baldwin’s Beau Felton and Jon Polito’s Steve Crossetti) join G in the squad room, recounting early lines of dialogue from the pilot episode. I’ve always felt this was an underrated finale, as it made up for the season finale in which Tim Bayless (Kyle Secor) goes to jail for murder. So while a return of actors like Noth in his Logan role might make sense, I have to think they will go another route. The common denominator may be SVU’s Richard Belzer’s Munch, who as this site has pointed out has appeared in both series and more TV series than any other character perhaps in history portrayed by one actor. I’d love to see a finale in which he was more than comic relief.

  9. says

    I love watching the show and have adjusted to all the great actors coming and going over the years!! PLEASE find a way to keep the show going because it should have MORE longevity than Gunsmoke did because of the fabulous scripts, nuances, and twists and turns!!!! Long live LAW & ORDER!!!

  10. says

    I think it should absolutely be renewed for at least one more season, either on NBC, TNT or even better, USA Network. USA Network is, I believe, the best cable network on television. Second to that would be TNT. Either way, good idea, move forward!

  11. says

    As much as I hate to see the original L&O go, I think it ended well. It’s not LOST, there are no lingering questions. I do not want to see everything tied up in a bow. That would not be consistent with the characters.

  12. Anne Finn says

    L&O is an institution. Pay Dick Wolf the money he deserves for an excellent product & move on! L&O is one of the very few intelligently written & well acted shows left on T.V. Why is there so much reality crap? I thought people watched T.V. for enjoyment & escapism from the realities of one’s own life! I have watched L&O since its genesis, with Chris Noth as a fresh faced kid. All the cast changes have been bad enough, but the show’s excellence carried it through the dismantling of regulars. And why are Chris Noth, who’s been associated with L&O in some capacity from the show’s beginning (except for his absence when he was supposedly suspended), & Vincent D’Onfrio & Catherine Erbe all gone? Mike Logan is, or was, the only original character left in any of the L&O spin-offs. Noth made Logan exist. I cannot take Jeff Goldblum in L&O:CI. He’s a talented actor, but not in this role. Bring back D’Onofrio & Erbe. If money is the issue, pay these actors what they are worth! D’Onofrio’s idiosyncratic character was intriguing, interesting & captivating; Erbe was perfect as his partner. If NBC doesn’t want to pay them for full time roles, alternate them with Goldblum & his partner like you did with Noth & his various partners. Also, J. Sheridan was much better than Eric Brogosian (sp?). as captain. And why ditch Courtney Vance? His portrayal of A.D.A. Carver was excellent. All this talent, great acting, wonderful scripts, intelligent plot twists, & YOU CANCEL THE BEST SHOW ON NETWORK T.V.! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

  13. patrick craft says

    I have watched this show since its beginning. Over the last few years I have had trouble following it with all the schedule changes. Its a timeless show I have never tired of seeing. Another poor NBC programming decision

  14. stevenmcq says

    I say Dick Wolf should go one of 3 routes. Either push for another season of L&O but on TNT, go with USA, or close it out with a 2 hr movie tying up all loose ends in NYC. With option 3, he could put some old faces in there – Serena Southerlyn, Joe Fontana, Ed Green, Abbie Carmichael, Dr. Emil Skoda, Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, and Arthur Branch. And have the story involve the assassination of Lt. Anita Van Buren just after she says ‘I do’. The wedding and her death will be what has old characters interacting with the final season’s cast. Several current (and past) characters will be shaken and one will be shattered by the loss of Van Buren. Meanwhile, her successor is TBD. There will be mentions of all this made on SVU and CI. Lupo will get his law degree and try to get into the DA’s office, but learns of definite prospects out west. And at least one of the ADAs will make a move in the same general direction [ahem-Connie Rubirosa-ahem (she could stand to get some color)] as well, to join a private firm. DA Jack McCoy could stay in NYC for L&O: SVU and CI
    And Elyse is right. La La Land’s so overdone it’s obscene. Wolf should try L&O set in Seattle.

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