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Law & Order is a franchise of American police-procedural legal TV drama series created by Dick Wolf and originally broadcast on NBC, beginning with the premiere of the titular series Law & Order in September 1990. With its continuous run for two decades, the series was recognized as the "longest-running crime drama on American primetime television" at the time of the finale broadcast in May 2010. In addition, the original series has spawned four spin-off shows based on a similar format, with the most notable program being Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. As of May 20th, 2015, a total of 1,052 original episodes of the Law & Order franchise have aired.
All but one series in the Law & Order franchise are set and shot in New York City, with the exception of Law & Order: LA which is based on a fictionalized version of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), following various divisions within a fictionalized version of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Each episode formulaically begins with the police investigation of a crime and subsequent apprehension of a suspect led by two detectives and their commanding officer, with the latter half detailing the prosecution of the defendant by the District Attorney's Office.
In 1988, Dick Wolf developed a concept for a new television series that would illustrate the inner workings of the American criminal justice system in an hour-long episode, from the criminal investigation and arrest of a suspect by the police to the prosecution of the defendant by the district attorney's office. After pitching the show and the pilot episode to all three major U.S. broadcast networks, the series was picked up by NBC for a full season, premiering on September 13th, 1990. Over the course of the following two decades, the show ran for 20 seasons, consisting of 456 episodes in total, before the finale episode aired on May 24th, 2010.
- In 1999, around the height of the show's ratings, the first spin-off series premiered under the title Law & Order: Special Victims Unit which focuses on sexual crime cases.
- In 2001, a second spin-off series titled Law & Order: Criminal Intent premiered, which follows a fictionalized version NYPD's Major Case Squad, a specialized division that investigates high-profile cases of serious crimes involving V.I.Ps and officials of the financial industry, the art world and even the government.
- In 2005, the third spin-off series Law & Order: Trial by Jury premiered, which departed from the franchise's standard half-investigative, half-legal procedural formula by exclusively focusing on the criminal trial of the accused from the perspectives of both the prosecution and defense teams, such as jury selection, deliberations in the jury room, as well as jury research and mock trials prepared by the defense.
- In 2010, the fourth and most recent series Law & Order: LA premiered as the first project in the franchise to be set outside of New York City, though the format itself remained true to the rest of the of spin-offs with some alterations adapted to Los Angeles criminal justice system.
h5. Law & Order: Criminal Intent
The popularity of the Law & Order franchise has also led to the development of several video games for the PC featuring appearances by cast members from various series: Law & Order: Dead on the Money (2002), Law & Order: Double or Nothing (2003), Law & Order: Justice is Served (2004), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2005) and Law & Order: Legacies (2011). In most titles within the series, gameplay experience is closely modeled after the TV series format: the player begins by investigating a crime with interviews of witnesses and examination of evidence, followed by prosecution of the arrested suspect(s) through the practice of various legal-procedural conventions.
Upon its premiere, the first season of Law & Order was met by favorable reception, with the ratings steadily climbing well into 10 million viewers for every season and peaking at 18.7 million during the 12th season (2001 – 2002). The first spin-off series Law & Order: SVU has also enjoyed success in ratings and popularity; as of 2015, SVU is the only series within the franchise that still remains in production.
Intimidation Game is an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit that was based on the GamerGate movement and its surrounding events. Following its broadcast in mid-February 2015, the episode was quickly met with mostly negative reactions and mockeries from both pro and anti-Gamergate camps due to its corny screenplay, as well as its oversimplification of the actual events.
During its run spanning over two decades, Law & Order series won six Primetime Emmy awards, two Screen Actors' Guild awards and five Edgar awards, among many others. Moreover, the series was nominated for more than 60 awards and accolades in total. Law & Order has been hailed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, ranking at 27th place on Entertainment Weekly 's "New TV Classics" list, 24th place on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in the 2002 edition of and 14th place on TV Guide's 60 Greatest Shows of All Time in the 2013 edition.
“DUN DUN” is an onomatopoeic reference to the dramatic sound of echoing gavel frequently used in Law & Order. Online, the phrase is often used as text replies to mock or emphasize an even slightly-dramatic event. To a lesser extent, it has been used as a response to any reference to the TV show.
These Are Their Stories
“These Are Their Stories” is a memorable quote from the opening sequence of several procedural drama television shows in the Law & Order franchise. On Tumblr, the phrase is often used to caption photographs of actor Christopher Meloni in bizarre or sexually suggestive poses.