Spill a little on the curb for the passing of the long-running TV show Law & Order, which, after 20 solid years/seasons on the air, plus giving birth to several spin-offs, had the plug abruptly pulled on it by NBC last Friday. Admittedly, the passing of a TV series may not be nearly as seriously tragic as the recent real life passings of musicians Ronnie James Dio or Lena Horne, but for both the dedicated fans and the actors and others employed by the long-running show (matched only by Gunsmoke in terms of being TV's longest running dramas), it is sad news. But at least we have re-runs and the various seasons of Law and Order on DVD -- available at Amoeba Music.
The Dick Wolf created show, with its instantly recognizable theme music by Mike Post, in its current season stars Anthony Anderson, Jeremy Sisto, and Linus Roache. Law & Order has also featured S. Epatha Merkerson for 391 episodes and Sam Waterston for 368, with a grand total of 453 episodes. Perhaps most beloved on the show was the late Jerry Orbach, who played Detective Lennie Briscoe from 1992 to 2004. In fact, he even made cameos on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and the short lived Law & Order: Trial By Jury -- three spin-offs of the influential Law and Order franchise that each employed the trademark "doink doink" sound effect (hear it below) to bridge scenes. There is also a spinoff British version, Law & Order: UK.
Law & Order's trademark "Doink Doink" sound effect
Admittedly, as mentioned in the funny but loving ode to Law & Order by comedian John Mulraney (below), the scripts were often filled with "vague and crappy dialogue," but regardless, the show (which did win both a Peabody and an Emmy for best drama) provided addictive viewing for so many over the years and I, for one, will miss it. As with so many network TV decisions, when it comes to logic and the canceling of seemingly popular shows (although low ratings is the reason the network gave), the irony of this announcement is that it came at the exact same time NBC announced the arrival of a new Law and Order spin-off, Law & Order: Los Angeles, which is scheduled to premiere in the Fall. The network also just renewed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for a twelfth season. The Law & Order 20th season series finale will air on NBC next Monday, May 24th. But no doubt the show will be in reruns for many decades to come!
John Mulaney "Law & Order and Mr. Jerry Orbach" skit
Mike Post "Law & Order Theme"
Sesame Street spoof "Law & Order Letters Unit"