NBC has dropped the hammer on its long-running show “Law and Order” after 20 seasons, just one short of the record for the longest-running show on television still held by the incomparable Gunsmoke.
“Law & Order” is done.
NBC officials have confirmed that the influential New York-set crime drama will air its last telecast May 24 at 10 p.m.
NBC probably acted three or four seasons too late, really, to rehabilitate the show’s image. The storylines, “ripped from today’s headlines” as the old ad copy went, had spent the past few years flogging whatever left wing horse the writers could find. If there was a way to turn an episode into the George Bush/Right-Wing Scorn Hour, Law and Order would find a way to get it done.
I was a fan of the show for its first few years, well into its syndication on the A&E Network. I liked that the stories demanded I pay attention lest I lose one of the clever turns. The chemistry shared by the actors working on either side of he ampersand (the “law” of the police detectives and the “order” of the DA’s office) was unmatched, even though there were occasional replacements. Of course, the “doink doink” at the beginning of every episode was a call to action, even if it came at 3 o’clock in the morning after I had come off an evening shift at work. I’m pretty sure that L&O was a big reason I didn’t get to bed before 4 AM most nights I worked second shift.
Of course, fans of the show shouldn’t feel all that bad. There are at least three or four near-identical clones out there in Law and Order: Special Victim Unit, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: Los Angeles, Law and Order: Mall Cop Patrol, and Law and Order: B-List Character Actor Cameo Squad. So if you’re looking for carbon-copy crime dramas with a healthy dollop of left-wing propaganda, you can still get your fill.