Law & Order: For the Defense, which had been slated for a fall 2021 launch with a straight-to-series order, has been scrapped by NBC. The legal drama, which was supposed to be part of an all-Law & Order Thursday lineup alongside Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime, will be replaced on the schedule by veteran The Blacklist, which will relocate from Fridays to the Thursday 8 PM berth for its ninth season.
Dick Wolf had partnered with Carol Mendelsohn on Law & Order: For the Defense, which received a straight-to-series order in early May. The project, which took an inside look at a criminal defense firm, had progressed to the casting stage, with offers made to name actors over the past two months.
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I hear a decision ultimately was made to not proceed with the show, though NBC, Wolf and Universal Television — the studio behind the Law & Order franchise — are already developing a new series under the Law & Order banner. Details still are scarce, but the network and the producers are believed to be moving in another creative direction with an offshoot that is not a legal drama.
NBC similarly gave a straight-to-series order to and then shelved Law & Order: Hate Crimes several years ago. The prospective spinoff had remained in development on the back burner; it is not believed to be the new L&O series that is being fast-tracked right now.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starring Emmy winner Mariska Hargitay, remains strong after 22 seasons, having broken the record for the longest-running live-action series in television history. SVU offshoot Law & Order: Organized Crime, starring Chris Meloni, scored the top series debut from any network in 2½ years (excluding NFL lead-ins) when it premiered April 1.
The Law & Order brand launched in 1990 with the original Emmy-winning Law & Order, which ran for 20 seasons on NBC.
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