It is a very good week to be a Law & Order fan. A day after Law & Order: SVU was renewed for Season 17, Deadline broke the news Friday that NBC is considering bringing back the flagship show for a limited 10-episode run much the way the network is reviving Heroes. The long-running series was last on in 2010 when it was abruptly cancelled one season short of breaking the record for longest-running scripted TV series. But why bother bringing back a show that already has 456 hours of television in the can? We're so glad you asked!
1. It would make a nice anniversary gift This September will mark Law & Order's 25th anniversary and what better way to celebrate that occasion than by bringing the show back? Last September when Friends turned 20, Warner Bros. actually opened a pop-up coffee shop in its honor. Asking to bring back Law & Order seems like a small request in comparison.
2. The brand is still going strong In addition to SVU's renewal for Season 17, Law & Order: UK is still going strong overseas 8 seasons in - wigs and all. And the series that started it all still plays heavily in reruns on TNT, WEtv, Sundance and WGN, among others. Obviously, there is still a demand and still a loyal fan base out there.
3. We need a Law & Order for a new generation For all of those loyal viewers who watch the reruns even though they totally know how the case is going to play out, there's a whole new generation of fans who might have been too young to appreciate Lenny Briscoe's dry one-liners and Jack McCoy's ruthless fight for justice.
4. A move away from the procedural Fans of SVU know that in recent years the spin-off has deviated from the typical procedural formula and delved into the personal lives of Benson, Rollins, Amaro & Co. (particularly Rollins' gambling addiction and Amaro's family problems) to great success. Even without these backstories, the SVU writers proved with Season 15's powerful #SaveBenson trilogy that the rules of procedurals can be rewritten. And that's nothing compared to the recurring ongoing stories told on Dick Wolf's other two shows, Chicago Fireand Chicago P.D. Just this week, a heavily marketed crossover between the two highlighted the search for the arsonist who killed their colleague Shay months after her death occurred in September's Season 3 premiere of Fire. Back in the Law & Order days, the deaths of main characters were discussed for an episode at best before they swiftly moved the focus back to the case of the week. Imagine if Curtis and his wife's painful ordeal with her MS diagnosis or McCoy's affairs with multiple of his A.D.As had been told in the current TV environment? It would be a much different Law & Order.
5. The crossover possibilities are endless If there are only going to be 10 new episodes of Law & Order, then they might not want to waste time trying to find a way to include characters from other parts of the Wolf Films universe. But after Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: SVU pulled off that suspenseful and well-orchestrated three-way crossover in November - and with another on the way for the end of the season - you can't blame us for at least briefly considering the possibilities of a four-way.
6. The actors are still in high demand Aside from the death of Law & Order's arguable on-screen leader, Jerry Orbach, in 2004, all of the show's brightest stars are still as popular as ever. Chris Noth has been Golden Globe-nominated for his work on The Good Wife, which also conveniently shoots in New York. Benjamin Bratt just wrapped a turn on another revived series, 24. Jesse L. Martin is helping The Flash save the world on The CW. S. Epatha Merkerson has been steadily working on TV (The Good Wife) and movies (Lincoln). Angie Harmon and Elisabeth Rohm are still helping put the bad guys away on Rizzoli & Isles and Stalker, respectively. Sam Waterson is coming off of a three-year run on The Newsroom and next appears in the Netflix TV comedy Grace and Frankie. And that's just a small portion of the extensive Law & Order ensemble.
7. Justice for Jack! We saved the best and most persuasive reason for last, just as Jack McCoy did so many times in court during his closing remarks. In 2010 when Law & Order was unexpectedly axed, Merkerson had already decided to leave the show, and so the unintended series finale also served as a poignant farewell to Lt. Van Buren when she left the precinct to focus on her battle with breast cancer. In contrast, Jack McCoy, whom viewers had followed through good times and bad, both personally and professionally, as the executive assistant district attorney and later the district attorney, got diddly squat. This unsettling lack of closure was even more magnified in December when Waterson's character on The Newsroom, a character he only played for three seasons, received a tragic, but significant goodbye when his character died in the penultimate episode and when the finale centered on his funeral and his relationship with protagonist Will McAvoy. If we can get closure for Charlie Skinner, then we at least deserve to know what happened to Jack McCoy.
Do you want Law & Order to come back? Sound off in the comments below.
VIDEO: Tour the set of Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.