In the recent history of television, the people have been given three separate but still gritty police procedurals set in New York City: The police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders in Law & Order, the dedicated Special Victims Unit detectives who investigate especially heinous sexually based offenses in Law & Order Special Victims Unit, and the Major Case Squad detectives who chew scenery as well as they suss out suspects in Law & Order Criminal Intent. But some of their stories may end, as producer Dick Wolf is in the midst of negotiations with NBC over the fate of Law & Order as well as L&O CI.
Wolf has wanted mothership L&O to run a few more seasons to best Gunsmoke's record of being on air, but NBC feels the show is too expensive to produce, given the sagging ratings, especially after relegating to the Friday night basement, aka where Homicide was left to languish. While Wolf refers to his relationship with NBC executives as a Catholic marriage ("There’s some stuff being thrown around in the kitchen, but everybody’s being rational."), we suspect NBC might want to look into an annulment.
Just the suggestion of a NYC film/TV landscape without Law & Order could spawn a million stories. The Post spoke to many actors who have appeared in L&O in guest roles - the L&O franchise has pretty much hired the majority of Broadway actors at one point or another! The actors give their thoughts, opinions and memories of working on the show. Khrystane Haje, who you may remember as Simone from Head of the Class, said:
"I was lucky enough to work with Jerry Orbach, which was very important to me, especially since his passing. He made such an effort to make me feel comfortable. He always went the extra mile with the guests, making sure that we knew where lunch was and that people were talking to us and that we felt included, basically. He was very cordial and friendly and, of course, a great actor."
We wonder if the city will intervene - Law & Order is worth millions to the city's film/TV industry. And for your Mariska Hargitay fans, don't worry - L&O SVU is still a hit and isn't in any danger.
Photograph from a 2005 Law & Order exhibit at the Hudson River Museum by BigAppleOfMyEye on Flickr