NBC's decision to cancel Law & Order doesn't just mean that we'll no longer get to guess which headlines were ripped (Hookergate! The Taconic Wrong Way Crash! Hipster Grifter!) on the latest episode, it also means that $79 million will not go towards NYC businesses, actors, and interests. That's the amount that NYC Film, Theater and Broadcasting Commissioner Katharine Oliver estimates the productions spends annually—and she also told the NY Times that the show employs about 4,000 people, each year, including one-day parts. Oliver said Law & Order producer-mastermind Dick Wolf "really proved that New York City is an affordable place to shoot."
It would be impossible to overstate the show's importance to NYC actors. Besides featuring a veritable who's who of Broadway and off-Broadway actors or actors before they were stars (remember Edie Falco as the public defender? Philip Seymour Hoffman? Lauren Graham? William H. Macy? Jennifer Garner?), there are the unknown working actors. Actors could get $300-800 for small roles, while bigger roles could earn them $5,000-6,000. Denis O'Hare, the Tony-winning actor who was on the show four times (a repeat offender, if you will), told the Daily News, "It was good money. At times, it saved my life. I made more in a two-week shoot on 'Law & Order' than in an eight-week run of an Off-Broadway show. Plus, the scripts were great, and the actors were amazing."
However, one executive on the show told the Times, "There’s no bigger ‘Law & Order’ junkie than I am, but we’ve been in almost every Upper East Side apartment in New York and explored all those stories."
Mayor Bloomberg (yes, he's been on the show) issued a statement, "We’re grateful to Dick Wolf for choosing New York City as its location for all of these years, and for helping showcase the City’s depth and versatility as a setting and all of the advantages of filming here," (full statement below), and the Post even has an editorial about the show, blaming its demise on "when its producers started burdening it with vacuous left-wing political themes") but admitting, "Still, for most of its run, 'Law & Order' was for much of the country, the embodiment of a gritty yet resolute New York City. So long."
Mayor Bloomberg's statement about Law & Order's cancellation: "Over the last 20 years, Law & Order became a New York City institution. It began filming in the City at a time when few series did, and it helped pave the way for the more than 150 television shows based here today, including the Law & Order spinoff Special Victims Unit, which will continue. Law & Order not only broke the record for New York City’s longest-running primetime series, it set the record for the longest-running crime series in the nation, collecting numerous Emmy awards along the way. It also helped launch the careers of thousands of talented actors and featured many memorable performances - although my cameos are not among them. We’re grateful to Dick Wolf for choosing New York City as its location for all of these years, and for helping showcase the City’s depth and versatility as a setting and all of the advantages of filming here.”