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Law & Order (1990–2010)

TV Series  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 23,790 users  
Reviews: 156 user | 36 critic

The show follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.


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Nominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 44 wins & 196 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Lt. Anita Van Buren / ... (391 episodes, 1991-2010)
 Jack McCoy (368 episodes, 1994-2010)
 Detective Lennie Briscoe / ... (274 episodes, 1991-2004)
 D.A. Adam Schiff (229 episodes, 1990-2000)
 Detective Ed Green (198 episodes, 1999-2008)


The show follows a crime, ususally adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court. Written by Mike Menditto

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the complex process of determining guilt and innocence, lives often hang in the balance. See more »


TV-14 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

13 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Law & Order Prime  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(456 Episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many regulars on the show made one time guest appearances before becoming regulars including S. Epatha Merkerson, Jerry Orbach, Annie Parisse, Milena Govich, and Jeremy Sisto. Jesse L. Martin was hired for a small role, but he decided not to take it. See more »


In several episodes in the first season, Sgt. Greevey shows his credentials to identify himself, however the badge in the wallet is a NYPD "detectives" shield which is different from a Sgt's shield. See more »


Adam Schiff: Flipped a coin in my head. Came up tails. Talk to the boy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Some (but not all) episodes show a disclaimer emphasizing the fictional nature of the story just prior to the closing credits. This is particularly important on those episodes that were inspired by well-known real- life legal cases. See more »


Spoofed in Robot Chicken: Tapping a Hero (2007) See more »


I'm Not Driving Anymore
Written and Performed by Rob Dougan
(UK Version)
See more »

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User Reviews

The Criminal Justice System
26 April 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Law And Order is a testament to the intelligence of the American viewing public that if police drama and courtroom drama is presented intelligently doesn't need crazy car chases nor choreographed police shootouts to become a hit. It has stayed at the top of the viewing public's taste because of the intelligent way it presents the criminal justice system and the issues of the day.

The typical Law And Order episode will have a murders the cops will investigate and arrest their suspect and then the District Attorney will take over. The ADA be it Michael Moriarty, Sam Waterston, or Linus Roache will have some obstacle tossed his way by smart defense lawyering or a judge that will hinder the prosecution. They will have to overcome it and most of the time they do. But not always, defense lawyers do win, it's why they command the fees they do and folks this is not Perry Mason.

The show's concept has struck a resonating tone with the public, it has to be the concept because no other show in the history of television drama has undergone as many cast changes as Law And Order. Even the boss has changed with New York County having four District Attorneys in the time of the show with Steven Hill, Dianne Weist, Fred DaltonThompson and now Sam Waterston moved up through the ranks. Hill was clearly based on the District Attorney in Manhattan for almost 40 years Robert Morgenthau.

The police are also an interesting lot. I think the show really lost something when Jerry Orbach left and died. Lennie Briscoe had the map of New York written across his face and I used to live for Orbach delivering Briscoe's cynical, but uncanny observations about life and love. There were good actors before and after Orbach, but none ever really got the essence of New York in their character.

Three regulars have died on the show, ADAs Jill Eikenberry and Annie Parisse, and Detective George Dzundza. Two of the ADAs Richard Brooks and Carey Lowell have become defense attorneys and have come back to the show on a few occasions. One I've been waiting to come back as a defense attorney was Elizabeth Rohm. When Fred Dalton Thompson fired Rohm and said she was more suitable as a defense attorney and after she confessed that she was a lesbian, I've been waiting for her return.

One of the other things I liked about the show was the steady semi-regular cast of defense attorneys who would appear now and then. Of the group I liked the late George Grizzard, Tovah Feldshuh, and Bob Dishy. And it was a special episode indeed when the late William Kunstler did a cameo role to defend a Sixties radical who was now in custody.

This show spun two successful other Law And Order franchises, Special Victims and Criminal Intent. Those shows have their points, but I think Law And Order sticks far more to reality than the others. Both the two spin-offs are likely to come up with some really wacky scenarios that go far beyond the scope of the shows.

This show could run forever as it apparently isn't dependent on any one player to succeed. And it has a never ending supply of plots taken from real life. What could be better?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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