It's official: NBC cancels 'Law & Order'

law-and-orderImage Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCIt’s now official: NBC has pulled the plug on Law & Order just shy of a record-breaking 21st season. The series finale will air on May 24. The network also announced the renewal of Law & Order: SVU and the pickup of new spin-off Law & Order: Los Angeles.

“The full measure of the collective contributions made by Dick Wolf and his Law & Order franchise over the last two decades to the success of NBC and Universal Media Studios cannot be overstated,” said NBC Chairman Jeff Gaspin. “The legacy of his original Law & Order series will continue to make an impact like no other series before.”

Peacock president Angela Bromstad added: “Law & Order has been one of the most successful franchises in the history of television, which is why it is so critical that we continue this important brand and our relationship with Dick Wolf and his team with LOLA and Law & Order: SVU.”

Reports surfaced late yesterday that NBC had axed the long-running procedural, but indications were that talks were continuing between the network and Wolf. The end of the series means that Wolf will have to settle for simply tying Gunsmoke‘s record as TV’s longest-running drama series. Wolf’s only comment on the matter was the following cryptic statement: “Never complain. Never explain.”

It’s unclear if Wolf plans to bring any of the show’s current castmembers over to LOLA, which NBC describes as “a procedural crime drama that will follow the theme and storylines similar to the Law & Order-brand series on the streets of Los Angeles.”

My Bubble Show Scorecard has been updated. Now please proceed to the comments section and join the mass grieving already in progress.

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  • tigger851

    I will miss the original L&O but just like ER, it’s time to leave it at a good place and pursue some other avenue!

    • SFDA

      It was a decent show – but I really hope network will develop more variety – shows like FRINGE (sci-fi), Human Target (action), LOST (mystery/sci-fi), and yes Legend Of the Seeker (Fantasy). All of the cop/lawyer/medical dramas and reality shows need to be reduced in volume. I know that would hurt CBS the most which has zero variety but they should try.

      • Jo

        All but 2 shows I watch (“Extreme Makeover Home Edition” and “Lost” – for a few more weeks) are on CBS. With the cancellation of “Law and Order” NBC has lost me as a viewer.

      • MC

        @ Jo, same here. L&O was the only show I still watched on NBC. In fact I can count on one hand the network shows I watch (Amazing Race, House, Desperate Housewives). Cable seems to be where the good shows are these days.

      • oderal

        shut yo mouth

      • Ruby

        @ SFDA

        Completely agree! Those shows (as well as stupid reality) are boring, repetitive, and god awful! I don’t watch anything on CBS OR NBC anymore. I just watch:
        LOST
        Fringe
        V

        Thank god they finally cancelled Heroes. I stopped watching in Season 3; the writing after the first season was the worst deterioration in writing I’ve ever seen on a show.

    • Slips

      I get why it might be time to go — but keeping SVU? I can’t imagine any person watching that more than once before vowing never to watch again.

      • Kara

        SVU is unbearable. One inane plot to the next. I watch it as a comedy.

      • Bibi

        I stopped watching SVU when it went to the sexual abuse of a child. Couldn’t stomach that as a plot line. I only watch Criminal Intent. I like Jeff Goldblum but really miss Goren and Eames. Their relationship was so unusual.

      • kellybelly

        SVU is the best L&O and has been for a long time. BUT I am soooo sad to see L&O go. This is the best cast in a long time.

      • Meredith44

        This. The mothership is the strongest it has been in years, with a great ensemble cast. SVU has become way too melodramatic and over the top, and I haven’t been able to watch it in a couple of years now. (I tried to watch last season’s finale, but it was dreadful.) I don’t usually wish harm on another show, as I know all shows have loyal fans, but I’d so take the mothership over SVU any day. Sigh…

      • MB

        Agree.

      • Chrs P.

        @Bibi and the SVU Bashers
        The original L&O will always, in my mind, be the best of all the L&O’s, but a close second goes to SVU. SVU is about special victims aka children that have been abused and stuff like that hence the name “Special Victims Unit.” What did you expect every episode to be about a rape. Also Criminal Intent sucks; the acting sucks the directing sucks, and the story line sucks. Criminal Intent just sucks.

      • 2late

        I agree Criminal Intent sucks bad there actors are weird. SVU has great acting and alot of the stuff their episodes are based on are true. It sucks you in, because it’s creepy that this stuff really happens.

    • Yes

      What I don’t get is cancelling L&O just to do another one in LA. New York was part of what made it so good. It was another character on the show. The cast on it right now is great, the best in years but it’s been treated poorly this year being moved around to make way for the the crapfest that was the Jay Leno show.

      • Abby

        Maybe it’s a lot more expensive to film in New York?

      • Megan

        Actually, Abby, L&O got some special tax breaks for filming in New York. Apparently, about 8,000 NYers work for L&O. The city has really benefited from having the show filmed there.

      • kellybelly

        There is nothing more expensive than filming in LA. And this is where I live. BUT, the city has been trying to get more stuff shot here, and negotiating all the regulations etc.

      • Brett

        Location shooting’s expensive in L.A., but not soundstage shooting (where the police station, DA office, and courtroom stuff would be shot).

      • bbkenn

        I agree with you about New York.

      • Shana

        I know! setting it in New York is a huge part of what makes L&O what it is. One of the few shows still set in New York, damn I’m going to miss it

      • Jess

        I will miss this show! bbwloversmatch

      • Christi

        You know to all of you L&O bashers out there, just keep to your reality shows and sex, and women living with their gay friends and half grown kids living with 2 guys, because that is why their was a L&O to begin with!! It was based on what really goes on in this sick world today.. that is why it is tied as the longest running tv series!!! Now the one I am truly sorry to see leaving though is my SVU!!! I loved it, and I will also have you bashers know that Mariska Hargitay is in the World Record book for being the highest paid actress for that tv series… thank you!!! God Bless

    • Kim

      Though I admit it’s been on it’s last legs for YEARS now I really wish it could have been given that one last year to surpass Gunsmoke as the longest running drama series. You know that’s the reason why they were given life these past 3-4 years. Just tie-ing is so bittersweet.

      • Mary

        I totally agree. I wish they could have been on one more season to have a really great final season, and a great series finale. Also, to be on the air longer that GunSmoke. Sam Waterson is the best besides the late Lennie Briscoe. Noone has surpassed those one liners in a long time. I will truly miss this show. Sometimes, I wish NBC would get it together.

        Let’s cancel this to make room for all the reality CRAP that is out there, and stupid stupid 30 minute comedy shows. Yes, I like comedy but do they ALL have to be talking joking ALL the time about sex. It gets really old. I miss Seinfeld also.

        Waterson did deserve a better ending than this one.

    • Cat

      I am in my 40s and never seen one of these full shows, I always liked the LA Law, and my fave legal show The Practice. This show seemed dry to me.

    • tee

      you are so right all good things must come to an end. But no matter how many spinsoff there are and will never be another Law N Order

  • tigger851

    I will miss the original L&O but just like ER, it’s time to leave it at a good place and pursue some other avenue!

    • SFDA

      It was a decent show – but I really hope network will develop more variety – shows like FRINGE (sci-fi), Human Target (action), LOST (mystery/sci-fi), and yes Legend Of the Seeker (Fantasy). All of the cop/lawyer/medical dramas and reality shows need to be reduced in volume. I know that would hurt CBS the most which has zero variety but they should try.

      • Jo

        All but 2 shows I watch (“Extreme Makeover Home Edition” and “Lost” – for a few more weeks) are on CBS. With the cancellation of “Law and Order” NBC has lost me as a viewer.

      • MC

        @ Jo, same here. L&O was the only show I still watched on NBC. In fact I can count on one hand the network shows I watch (Amazing Race, House, Desperate Housewives). Cable seems to be where the good shows are these days.

      • oderal

        shut yo mouth

      • Ruby

        @ SFDA

        Completely agree! Those shows (as well as stupid reality) are boring, repetitive, and god awful! I don’t watch anything on CBS OR NBC anymore. I just watch:
        LOST
        Fringe
        V

        Thank god they finally cancelled Heroes. I stopped watching in Season 3; the writing after the first season was the worst deterioration in writing I’ve ever seen on a show.

    • Slips

      I get why it might be time to go — but keeping SVU? I can’t imagine any person watching that more than once before vowing never to watch again.

      • Bibi

        I stopped watching SVU when it went to the sexual abuse of a child. Couldn’t stomach that as a plot line. I only watch Criminal Intent. I like Jeff Goldblum but really miss Goren and Eames. Their relationship was so unusual.

      • kellybelly

        SVU is the best L&O and has been for a long time. BUT I am soooo sad to see L&O go. This is the best cast in a long time.

      • Meredith44

        This. The mothership is the strongest it has been in years, with a great ensemble cast. SVU has become way too melodramatic and over the top, and I haven’t been able to watch it in a couple of years now. (I tried to watch last season’s finale, but it was dreadful.) I don’t usually wish harm on another show, as I know all shows have loyal fans, but I’d so take the mothership over SVU any day. Sigh…

      • jennrae

        SVU is bananas. They don’t talk like real people anymore. The M.E. always pops in with a sound bite. In fact, they all speak in sound bites. It’s terrible.

      • MB

        Agree.

      • Chrs P.

        @Bibi and the SVU Bashers
        The original L&O will always, in my mind, be the best of all the L&O’s, but a close second goes to SVU. SVU is about special victims aka children that have been abused and stuff like that hence the name “Special Victims Unit.” What did you expect every episode to be about a rape. Also Criminal Intent sucks; the acting sucks the directing sucks, and the story line sucks. Criminal Intent just sucks.

    • Yes

      What I don’t get is cancelling L&O just to do another one in LA. New York was part of what made it so good. It was another character on the show. The cast on it right now is great, the best in years but it’s been treated poorly this year being moved around to make way for the the crapfest that was the Jay Leno show.

      • Abby

        Maybe it’s a lot more expensive to film in New York?

      • Sarah

        I don’t get it either. Why not just keep the original and not bother with LOLA?

      • Amy

        I couldn’t figure out just why the idea of LOLA bothered me, but you helped me – New York WAS a character on the show. L.A. had such a different vibe, and it just doesn’t feel like the show would work there. There is a reason every single spin-off to L&O was also set in NY, at least until now.

      • Megan

        Actually, Abby, L&O got some special tax breaks for filming in New York. Apparently, about 8,000 NYers work for L&O. The city has really benefited from having the show filmed there.

      • dkass

        I agree this cast was really good and the stories seemed to be better the last tow season – this is too bad

        The move to LA is a sad one too – i love watching and trying to figure out where in the city they were

      • Rush

        It’s not that much cheaper to produce TV shows in LA. Which is why we may soon, Law & Order: Vancouver.

      • kellybelly

        There is nothing more expensive than filming in LA. And this is where I live. BUT, the city has been trying to get more stuff shot here, and negotiating all the regulations etc.

      • bbkenn

        I agree with you about New York.

      • Shana

        I know! setting it in New York is a huge part of what makes L&O what it is. One of the few shows still set in New York, damn I’m going to miss it

      • Jess

        I will miss this show! bbwloversmatch

      • Christi

        You know to all of you L&O bashers out there, just keep to your reality shows and sex, and women living with their gay friends and half grown kids living with 2 guys, because that is why their was a L&O to begin with!! It was based on what really goes on in this sick world today.. that is why it is tied as the longest running tv series!!! Now the one I am truly sorry to see leaving though is my SVU!!! I loved it, and I will also have you bashers know that Mariska Hargitay is in the World Record book for being the highest paid actress for that tv series… thank you!!! God Bless

      • bertbiz

        I agree. Why start LOLA instead of just keep the original. It’s been the best of the series so far!

    • Kim

      Though I admit it’s been on it’s last legs for YEARS now I really wish it could have been given that one last year to surpass Gunsmoke as the longest running drama series. You know that’s the reason why they were given life these past 3-4 years. Just tie-ing is so bittersweet.

      • Mary

        I totally agree. I wish they could have been on one more season to have a really great final season, and a great series finale. Also, to be on the air longer that GunSmoke. Sam Waterson is the best besides the late Lennie Briscoe. Noone has surpassed those one liners in a long time. I will truly miss this show. Sometimes, I wish NBC would get it together.

        Let’s cancel this to make room for all the reality CRAP that is out there, and stupid stupid 30 minute comedy shows. Yes, I like comedy but do they ALL have to be talking joking ALL the time about sex. It gets really old. I miss Seinfeld also.

        Waterson did deserve a better ending than this one.

    • Abby

      I realize it had to go sometime, but this doesn’t give them a chance for a proper farewell. At least give them another tv movie to do it properly.

    • Cat

      I am in my 40s and never seen one of these full shows, I always liked the LA Law, and my fave legal show The Practice. This show seemed dry to me.

    • tee

      you are so right all good things must come to an end. But no matter how many spinsoff there are and will never be another Law N Order

  • dcmom

    Hey, I’m kind of bummed about this. I had lost interest in recent years, but this year the show has been great–I have not missed an episode all season.

    • Lola

      I’m bummed, too. This season has been great. I hope they end it with Connie and Mike getting together.

      • D

        I like Connie and Lupo!

    • Ben W

      I have not missed one either. There was definitely a resurgence of quality in the last couple of seasons. I really liked the Jack as DA story lines where Mike threw the crazy stuff Jack did as an ADA in his face. And for some reason I really liked Connie with Mike and Lupo and Bernard had good chemistry. Saddd. :(

      • D L

        I agree with Ben completely.

      • KKKKKatie

        Ditto!

  • dcmom

    Hey, I’m kind of bummed about this. I had lost interest in recent years, but this year the show has been great–I have not missed an episode all season.

    • Ben W

      I have not missed one either. There was definitely a resurgence of quality in the last couple of seasons. I really liked the Jack as DA story lines where Mike threw the crazy stuff Jack did as an ADA in his face. And for some reason I really liked Connie with Mike and Lupo and Bernard had good chemistry. Saddd. :(

      • D L

        I agree with Ben completely.

      • KKKKKatie

        Ditto!

  • Anna

    Sad, but maybe for the best. The show was never really the same after Briscoe died.

    • Nicotine

      I think the show took a dive after Chris Noth left. But this past season hasn’t been half bad.

      • Dan

        Seriously, Chris Noth? He hasn’t been on the show for almost 15 years. The show has been fantastic after his departure.

      • JB

        I liked Chris Noth too. I think it was still good after him but I like the seasons around that time. I was sad when Clair was killed and stoped watching for several years after that. I think when it really wasn’t as good was after Briscoe was gone.

    • @anna

      Word.

    • Leslie

      Briscoe and Green were the best partners; Abbie Carmichael was the best female ADA, although I like the current, Rubirosa, a lot. McCoy was
      the best male ADA, and not sure but what he hasn’t been the best D.A. Schiff and Branch were okay, but the character Dianne Wiest played was fairly worthless. Never cared much for the earliest seasons and don’t bother to try to catch re-runs before the mid-90′s.

  • Anna

    Sad, but maybe for the best. The show was never really the same after Briscoe died.

    • Nicotine

      I think the show took a dive after Chris Noth left. But this past season hasn’t been half bad.

      • Dan

        Seriously, Chris Noth? He hasn’t been on the show for almost 15 years. The show has been fantastic after his departure.

    • Leslie

      Briscoe and Green were the best partners; Abbie Carmichael was the best female ADA, although I like the current, Rubirosa, a lot. McCoy was
      the best male ADA, and not sure but what he hasn’t been the best D.A. Schiff and Branch were okay, but the character Dianne Wiest played was fairly worthless. Never cared much for the earliest seasons and don’t bother to try to catch re-runs before the mid-90′s.

  • BamaEd

    So wrong. They should have been allowed to have a final season and a proper send off. This is so disrespectful. They were given a cheap gold watch that doesn’t work.

    • Chris

      I thought that too at first, but really this show isn’t about season or series arcs. The main focus of the show are the individual episodes. Any story arcs created were just supplemental. Even the characters themselves (though some certainly better than others) were supplemental, as is evidenced by the revolving cast.

      • Dan

        Not really. A decent send off for a show… especially like this that’s been around for 20 years, DESERVES that final season send-off where the writers KNOW this is the last season. You promote the *&^$ out of it and ratings go up… you bring in former cast members for one last hurrah, do all those last things you’ve been putting off. If the SERIES ends with Van Buren DYING… I’m gonna be SO pissed off. That would be a totally TRAGIC yet PERFECT way for her character to go. It’s a HORRIBLE way for the show to go out on. It’s a slap in the face to do this to the show, the people behind the show, and the fans with only 3 weeks left. No real SERIES finale. Get bent NBC… I’ve got my LA show on CBS and don’t plan on coming back next season.

      • DivaSoulSista

        I’m with Dan!

      • JDMB

        I’m with Dan As well. This isn’t the first time NBC cancels a show without giving it – that is, us fans – a chance to properly say goodbye. Life, Homicide:Life on the Streets, Journeyman… the list is huge. I think L&O contributed more overall to NBC than, say, ER, and look how they promoted the @#$% out their last season…

  • BamaEd

    So wrong. They should have been allowed to have a final season and a proper send off. This is so disrespectful. They were given a cheap gold watch that doesn’t work.

    • Chris

      I thought that too at first, but really this show isn’t about season or series arcs. The main focus of the show are the individual episodes. Any story arcs created were just supplemental. Even the characters themselves (though some certainly better than others) were supplemental, as is evidenced by the revolving cast.

      • Dan

        Not really. A decent send off for a show… especially like this that’s been around for 20 years, DESERVES that final season send-off where the writers KNOW this is the last season. You promote the *&^$ out of it and ratings go up… you bring in former cast members for one last hurrah, do all those last things you’ve been putting off. If the SERIES ends with Van Buren DYING… I’m gonna be SO pissed off. That would be a totally TRAGIC yet PERFECT way for her character to go. It’s a HORRIBLE way for the show to go out on. It’s a slap in the face to do this to the show, the people behind the show, and the fans with only 3 weeks left. No real SERIES finale. Get bent NBC… I’ve got my LA show on CBS and don’t plan on coming back next season.

    • A.F. for EW

      Right on! Law and Order is one of the classiest acts to come along on TV in many years, and it deserved better than this! It’s time for a “Save Law and Order” grass-roots campaign!

      • Maggie

        I sent a protest e-mail to NBC. went to the NBC website and hit the link on the bottom of the page for “contact us.” Everyone who is upset at the cancellation should do this.

    • mark

      i totally agree. this is a horrible way to end this great show. its amazing that this show continually changed actors and it didnt really matter. lenny was my fav cop but the others were good too.

  • Barbara E.

    Ok, this article does not answer the major question of WHY. Why is NBC canceling a show that has a big fan-base?

    • because it had poor ratings. plus it seems like they’re excited about their pilots, so maybe they thought they just didn’t need it anymore? idk.

      • Liz

        This season averaged between 6-8 million viewers, so the ratings really weren’t that bad. In comparison, Gossip Girl’s highest rated episode this season was 2.5 million, yet it was renewed months ago. Networks should be happy that a show gets 6-8 regularly, not axe it.

      • Kristine

        Considering the show spent most of this season on FRIDAY night, it wasn’t terrible. If they’d stopped moving it around (and left it on at 10 during the week, but how dare we not be subjected to Jay Leno in primetime) it would have done fine. NBC is run by a bunch of idiots.

      • Jany

        “it seems like they’re excited about their pilots, so maybe they thought they just didn’t need it anymore”

        They are replacing it with Law and Order:LA. Not very imaginative. It would be better if they just kept the original.

    • Sally in Chicago

      Why? How about costs? Plus it’s at a sh**ty network….they should go cable or try to relocate to another network. But you notice they’re developing LAO LA? What’s that about?

  • Barbara E.

    Ok, this article does not answer the major question of WHY. Why is NBC canceling a show that has a big fan-base?

  • ObiHave

    Waterston deserved a better ending than this. Maybe he can get back to the stage.

    • girlieusa

      i agree! he was always my fav, but everything has a shelf life, and i guess its time has come. honestly, i havent watched it for two years! used to be my fav #1 show. but, nbc just doesnt seem to be able to make one good decision! as my daughter would say “they’re a hot mess”.

  • ObiHave

    Waterston deserved a better ending than this. Maybe he can get back to the stage.

  • Kyle

    if they could have just stuck it out for ONE MORE season!

    • ripratm

      Big whoop, so they break the record, isn’t simpsons going to break the record next year?

      • Kyle

        i think the record is for hour-long dramas

      • Leslie

        Kyle’s right.

  • Kyle

    if they could have just stuck it out for ONE MORE season!

    • ripratm

      Big whoop, so they break the record, isn’t simpsons going to break the record next year?

      • Kyle

        i think the record is for hour-long dramas

      • Leslie

        Kyle’s right.

  • BBD

    Will miss the original but LOLA sounds like a good replacement. Love SVU and think Sharon Stone has been a great addition. And of course, Criminal Intent has been terrific this season too.

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