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Law & Order

Law & Order

  • Premiered: 
    September 13, 1990
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: NBC
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Drama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Created by Dick Wolf 
  • Subject Matter: Crime
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    Season 1
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Plot Synopsis

LAW & ORDER is a one-hour crime procedural that focuses on the crime investigation during the first 30 minutes and the court proceedings in the last half of each episode. Set and filmed in New York City, this longest-running crime drama aired for a record 20 seasons by using storylines inspired by and ripped from contemporary news headlines, while changing details -- and often increasing the severity of crimes -- for dramatic effect. Each episode opens with the discovery of a crime, usually a murder, which launches an investigation. As the officers and detectives tackle the case, they collect as much evidence as possible while interrogating persons of interest, analyzing forensic results, addressing open questions, and apprehending the criminal. Halfway through the episode, the case is turned over to the district attorney's office, so a DA can try the criminal in court. Each episode ends with justice being served -- a verdict or plea bargain -- sometimes to the dissatisfaction of the police department. Known for its iconic clang sound effect when changing scenes throughout the episode, these tones carried over into the other series in the LAW & ORDER franchise.

After nearly a 12-year break, LAW & ORDER returned for its 21st season on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 8pm ET/PT on NBC. The series continues the classic bifurcated format that was created for its original run, once again examining "the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders." In the season premiere, titled "The Right Thing," newly acquainted partners Bernard and Cosgrove investigate the murder of a notorious entertainer. Meanwhile, a dispute over throwing out a confession creates a rift in the DA's office.

Season 22 of LAW & ORDER premiered on Thursday, September 22, 2022 on NBC at a special time, 10pm ET/PT, as part of a three-episode crossover with SVU (9pm) and LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME (8pm). LAW & ORDER moves to its regular timeslot -- Thursdays at 8pm -- the following week. As the telecast begins, a mysterious young girl is shot in cold blood and Det. Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) teams up with Det. Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks, first episode) to track down her killer. Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) are called in to help when they realize they have more than a typical homicide case on their hands. After uncovering key evidence, Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and ADA Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) seek justice against an international crime ring, but complications threaten the outcome of their case. There will be no credits nor title sequences at the top of the 9 and 10pm hours. After a four-week break, LAW & ORDER returned with new episodes on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 8pm ET/PT on NBC. In the winter premiere, "Land of Opportunity," a homeless migrant is murdered, and evidence leads Cosgrove and Shaw to a mysterious cover-up at a construction site. Price and Maroun push a key witness to testify knowing that speaking out could lead to legal consequences.

LAW & ORDER returned for its 23rd season on Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 8pm ET/PT on NBC. In the season opener, "Freedom of Expression," in the wake of a murder on campus, the line between free speech and hate speech at a university is examined.
On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 8pm ET/PT, NBC premiered "In Harm's Way," the Season 23 finale of LAW & ORDER. When a sports star is killed, Shaw and Riley suspect the shooter missed their intended target. Baxter's daughter comes forward as a witness, but her public testimony could impact his re-election campaign with the confession of a family secret.

LAW & ORDER has been renewed for a 24th season, but Camryn Manheim will not be returning.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Wolf Films
  • In association with Universal Television
  • In association with Studios USA Television


  • 27th precinct - New York City, New York USA

Births, Deaths & Weddings

  • May 17, 2006: Alexandra Borgia dies
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