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Case closed: 'Law & Order' canceled on brink of setting TV record

May 14, 2010 | 12:39 pm

Law-and-Order-Cancellation-Season-20 NBC canceled "Law & Order" Friday after two decades on the air. When the procedural drama signs off May 24, it will be tied with "Gunsmoke" as prime-time's longest-running drama series. Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Vonn is one of the show's last guest stars. The ski champ features in the series finale as a key witness in a terrorism case.

Two of the three "Law & Order" spinoffs -- "SVU" and "Criminal Intent" -- were renewed for seasons 12 and 10 respectively; "Trial by Jury" lasted just 13 episodes in 2005. And a new "Law & Order" series set in Los Angeles is scheduled to debut on NBC next season.

The original "Law & Order" debuted on NBC in September 1990. Although the series was a solid ratings performer for most of its run, it failed to win over the Emmys very often, taking home just six awards for its 52 nominations so far.

Beginning with the second season, it earned 11 consecutive Emmy Award nominations for best drama series, winning the award only once, in 1997. Elaine Stritch won the guest actress Emmy in 1993 and the series has won four technical awards -- sound editing (1992) and cinematography (1993, 1997, 1998).

Over the years, "Law & Order" starred three different lead actor contenders -- Michael Moriarty (1991-1994), Sam Waterston (1997, 1999, 2000) and Jerry Orbach (2000) -- but none of them made it to the winner's circle. Neither did either of the two supporting actor nominees -- Steven Hill (1998, 1999) and Benjamin Bratt (1999).

Bratt's then-girlfriend Julia Roberts picked up a guest actress nomination in 1999, and Jane Alexander was nominated the following year for a guest spot that crossed over to the spinoff "SVU." The last Emmy nomination to date for "Law & Order" was a guest actress bid by Tovah Feldshuh in 2003.

Photo: "Law & Order" season 20 cast. Credit: NBC

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Nothing is forever. Now there will be a new show. Cream rises to the top, By the way I found a website that give you prizes for your opinions here is the topic about this Tv Show...

I can't believe they would cancel a show that has become a classic. L&O has been my favorite show since it first air. NBC doesn't know what they are doing look at the mess they did with the tonight show. They must be nuts if they think Law & Order LA will be anything close to L&O. What can we do to keep L&O on TV?

What a shame to see Law & Order go. It's one of the best programs that TV has to offer. The acting is superb. Much better than any other show. I wish NBC would change it's mind and keep Law & Order on the air.

I, like the majority of people who have posted on this site, am a L&O fanatic. One of my favorite aspects of the show stems from its relaistic portrayal in the court room. When the show was at its height, first 12 seasons, it was brilliant. I was living with a law student for several years and we would watch the show together. On many occaisions, she would comment on how case law and precedents, brought up during episodes, were accurate and discussed in her classes. Unfortunately, network tv has been on the decline for most of the past 10 yrs and this show is an unfortunate victim of said decline. I encourage fans of the show to write, blog, and social network to create enough pressure to give the show a proper, and year-long, farewell.

I am going to miss Law and Order. It is and will always be the best program along with spinoffs Law & Order SVU and Criminal Intent. There is so much useless trash shown these days in the guise of realy shows, how did you get so rich, high school reunions etc. Law & Order is up there with my old time favorite Perry Mason,NYPD Blue, which of course are no longer aired for many years along with Matlock. Law & Order has a marvelous team of writes and they know how and when to take a real life crime of coursenot from New York changing times and names and transforming into an excellent piece of work.

Law & Order and All the Spin Offs are the most fantastic shows ever aired. They intermingle current events (Crimes of course with changes) and the actors are the best on the lot. There is so much trash on T.V. these days like the Realty Show, The lastest debacle How did you get so rich, Highschool Reunion etc. They should rethink about cancelling

NBC...I am very disappointed that you would up and cancel my FAVORITE show of all times! Now, all these goofy sitcoms that you have in place before Law & Order comes on should be the ones cancelled. My brother and I looked at the original L&O and SVU L&O religiously every week, even race to the TV, if we missed it, we're mad because one of us didn't tell the other that our show was on, he was the one who really turned me onto the show back in 1994 (we watch each one of the series). So NBC, please don't cancel our show, it's what I watch NBC for each week, give 'em a fighting chance, you gave all these other silly shows a chance, why not Original Law & Order!!!!!!

What is wrong with you people? I watch all of the different Law and Orders even the re-runs! Get rid of all the reality shows,they are just awful! There is nothing like a good suspenseful,on the edge of your seat and who done it show any better than any "Law and Order".
Wake up!!!!!!

I am shocked !!! I have enjoyed every episode this past season as much as every other season I've watched. If nbc is canceling, there have to be other networks wanting to sign this show up. This is the first time I've written a letter concerning any tv program, I hope it will be the last. Please find this show a home for the fall line up.

Don't cancel it!

Sadly it moved to 10pm this season and I couldn't even keep up. Put it back at 9pm and keep it thriving!

Get rid of some of the reality show trash on TV and make room for this show to continue. It's classic, it's perfect.

The spin offs have gone TOO far with gross & bizarre story lines and "weird" character defects...can't watch them anymore.
Let's stick with the tried & true!

Maybe a campaign to reconsider is in order...bombard NBC with letters demanding L&O be returned for another season or more...I love Jeremy Sisto...such a cutie with a mischievous smile...Keep L&O on the air...get rid of the reality shows instead...

Dick wolf can surely sell the show franchise to another network ?

NBC is just dumb. EIther they or Wolf should have bit the bullet and greenlighted it for a final record-breaking season. It is still a good show and deserved a proper send-off not this garbage move.

Very very upset with NBC's announcement to cancel Law and Order. It is one of the premier shows on television.
I hope enough people will echo my comments and have some effect on NBC

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reconsider NBC. In this econimic climate television viewership should be up. Law & Order is one of the few shows that I will rush home for. I love NBC's programming, please don't fail me now.

please say this is not true!!!! it is my favorite show !!!!!!

Hopefully USA Network will pick up orginal Law and Order like it did Criminal Intent. How dare NBC do this. They must like screwing people over! Just look at Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

I personally hope "Law & Order: Los Angeles" fails for NBC. You can't create character by having a back lot where the backdrop of the city was integral to the original.

Bad move!! I watched gunsmoke with my family until it was canceled, and I watch Law & Order have never missed a show "I recoard them " to watch after I get off work. It is much to good to cancel!!!

I agree with Gertrude. I think this season has been one of the best for the original in recent years, and I sincerely hope this is a decision NBC with STRONGLY reconsider. Shows have been brought back in the past after cancellation when it was clearly how dedicated their fan bases are (and yes, this applies to Law and Order, even in the most "coveted" demographics -- I am 26!), let's hope NBC recognizes that would be a wise choice in this case.

Please don't cancel Law & Order. It is one the the best mainstays of
TV viewing. We never tire of it. It's always well done and current.

Please reconsider. Thanks!

I forgot the last time I enjoyed an episode of the original Law and Order but it was many, many, many years ago. The most recent cast has been the worst cast in L&O years IMO. I'm glad the show was cancelled. It deserved to get axed.



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