Somewhere deep in the bowels of Rockefeller Center in the secret NBC archives, presumably under very serious security, are a serious of guaranteed hits. The network could pull them out at any time for a free ratings boost, but the trick is that they’ll only work once and then they’ll never have the same kind of impact again. One was the long-awaited Friends reunion, which HBO Max put together over the summer. Another is the oft-threatened reboot of The Office, which is definitely going to happen at some point. Today, though, NBC actually pulled the trigger on one of these guaranteed hits by ordering a brand new season of regular Law & Order.
NBC killed off the original series over a decade ago, one season shy of what would’ve been a record-breaking 21 seasons. It was an odd choice at the time, apparently one driven by issues during renewal negotiations, but NBC hasn’t exactly been starving for new Law & Order content in the years since. Special Victims Unit is now on season 23, so it broke the record years ago, and it even has a spin-off of its own now in the form of Christopher Meloni’s Law & Order: Organized Crime. Hell, NBC came up with a bad idea for a Law & Order show earlier this year and then canned it a month later. That’s how little the network needs a new Law & Order.
And yet… here we are. This news comes from Deadline, which makes it sound like the sudden cancellation of the original show stuck with series creator Dick Wolf for this past decade. He says NBC bringing it back is one of the few times in life where “literally dreams come true,” and it would be interesting to know if this is happening because of some kind of behind-the-scenes contract deal. After all, Wolf practically owns NBC now with the success of SVU and his Chicago shows, and he recently started making hits for CBS with his FBI shows. Maybe NBC knew that this was one way to keep him happy?
The new old Law & Order will be led by writer/showrunner Rick Eid, a veteran of the Law & Order-verse as well as the FBI-verse and Chicago-verse, and Deadline says that some original cast members have been approached about returning. No one has signed on yet, but Sam Waterson is apparently “at the top of the wish list.”