Sunday, April 21, 2024

NBC Sets February 24, 2022 for Return of “Law & Order” Classic to Plug Thursday Hole


And so, it’s here.

The OG “Law & Order” will return to the air after 12 years away on February 24, 2022. This will be the 21st season for the show which launched in 1990 and ran until 2010.

No word yet on the cast but Jeffrey Donovan, of “Burn Notice” fame, is said to be involved.

The reason for the “L&O” return is because a series spin off called “For the Defense” never made it to air or even to shooting a pilot. Ordered by NBC after Dick Wolf lobbied to have a whole night of “Law & Order” shows, “For the Defense” was never developed. At the last minute the network had to suck it up, admit it, and look to plug a hole on Thursdays before “SVU” and “Organized Crime.”

The original idea was to have “Manifest” on Thursdays. But NBC cancelled the popular show, sacrificing it for Wolf. This cause a big brouhaha, and now “Manifest” has two new seasons booked at Netflix.

“For the Defense” was never going to work. It meant that the police would be wrong in every episode, as the defense won. Whoops! That’s not the “Law & Order” formula. You’re supposed to have both sides. So, as I wrote when all this was going on, why not just go back to the original show?

Wolf and co. had meantime better take a look at Chris Meloni’s “Organized Crime.” They’ve dropped below 3 million viewers in overnights. The show is impossible to watch or enjoy. And constantly tying it to “SVU” is only hurting that show, which had another excellent episode this week.

“Organized Crime” is too violent, too plot driven, and not giving the fans what they want in developing characters. This week, Meloni’s Elliot Stabler shaved off his facial hair. That was one step forward. But there is much to do. Why not bring over some “SVU” vets to help out, like Tamara Tunie? Make the show less about Stabler’s feud with Wheatley. Tell some stories.  How about getting Paul Sorvino involved, Dick Wolf?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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