Don't get me wrong. I have been a fan of the Law & Order franchise since the first season, way back in my freshman year of high school in 1990. I've been
through it all, whether it was Ben Stone's exit, Mike Logan blasting a city councilman in the mouth, Serena Southerlyn's out-of-left-field lesbian admission, or whatever in the hell Trial by Jury was supposed to be. I will never be optimistic enough to assume anything will last forever, but NBC's recent annoucement that they were cancelling the original Law & Order series at the end of its twentieth season left me questioning the network's sanity, the tiny, walnut-sized scrap that remains.
To simply cast off as show as durable as Law & Order, with nary a farewell episode in sight, speaks volumes to either the arrogance or the desperation of
NBC, a network that seems to have found a comfortable place with their own mediocrity. I have fallen into the mindset of other fans, who wonder why the
network doesn't simply bring the show back for a twenty-first season, at thirteen episodes, in order to script up a fitting series finale. In other words,
nothing near the drama I can imagine NBC milking out of Minute To Win It, or God forbid, The Marriage Ref.
Law & Order was hardly a dead horse trying valiantly to make it one more lap around the track, or a show dealing with a complete cast overhaul, such as the revamped Law & Order: Criminal Intent, so the logic of retiring it before a historical mark is reached, especially in favor of a new spinoff set in Los
Angeles, is that of a man in midlife crisis marrying a 23-year-old Hooters waitress. Sure, he's digging it now, but in a couple of years, he'll be holding
his head and pining for better days. While I imagine one could make the point from a production cost standpoint, there is also a safety in sticking with a
show that had earned eleven consecutive Emmy nods for Best Dramatic Series (1992-2002, with a win in 1997) among its 52 total nominations.
Maybe I am being a bit premature. Some reports have talks still underway to being the show back, but with NBC's recent track record on handling shows, I
wouldn't be putting off reading new scripts if I were a L&O cast member.