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Follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

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2010   2009   2008   2007   2006   2005   … See all »
Nominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 46 wins & 196 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...  Anita Van Buren / ... 391 episodes, 1991-2010
...  Jack McCoy 368 episodes, 1994-2010
...  Lennie Briscoe / ... 274 episodes, 1991-2004
...  Adam Schiff 229 episodes, 1990-2000
...  Ed Green 198 episodes, 1999-2008
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Storyline

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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Bravo [Canada] | Channel 5 [UK] |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Law & Order Prime  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(456 Episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prior to becoming an actor, Dennis Farina (Detective Joe Fontana) was a Detective in the Chicago Police Department for eighteen years. He got into acting through his former partner and police commander, Chuck Adamson, who had retired and became a police consultant on movies and television shows. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the series, the detectives (or the Crime Scene Unit Forensic Technicians) are able to ID a bullet caliber from the wound size. In reality this is impossible. A 9mm, .38, .40 and even a .45 all make wounds that are indistinguishable from each other on a body. The police also often look at a bullet and ID the pistol from it. While possible, this requires forensic analysis and is generally not very conclusive because the bullet is too deformed. The conformation of a particular bullet coming from a particular gun using "ballistic fingerprinting" has never resulted in a conviction. See more »

Quotes

[looking at a hospital sign that says "Pediatric Oncology"]
Det. Lennie Briscoe: Now there's two words that should never go together.
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Crazy Credits

At the start of the season one episode "Torrents of Greed, Part 2" the customary "In the criminal justice system..." opening monologue and screen title were replaced with a monologue and screen title about manipulation of the legal system. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Conan: I Believe the Children Are Our Future D-Bags (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Not Driving Anymore
(Instrumental)
Written and Performed by Rob Dougan
(UK Version)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gritty and Compelling Ensemble Drama That Works
27 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

This intense drama, now in its 15th season and still going strong, set the stage for ensemble drama, in which the cast plays a secondary role to the story. Law & Order, as originally conceived, drew the viewer into the process by which American law enforcement and litigation works, or doesn't, depending on the viewer's opinion. The first half-hour is devoted to the investigation of a crime, the second to its prosecution. Cases are made or lost by evidence, lack thereof, a technicality, or even judicial whim. Dick Wolf made it clear from day one that the cast was expendable; no prima donnas here. The first cast was all male, with one African-American. Wolf apparently caved to fan pressure for a more politically-correct spectrum, but it really didn't matter so long as the actors could carry the story forward. His best casting choice was Jerry Orbach, his worst Elisabeth Rohm, but with or without these people, the drama continues. In recent years, L&O has lost some of the grittiness that made it so compelling, and I do miss actors such as Steven Hill, Michael Moriarty, Chris Noth, Jill Hennessy and now Orbach, but the show is still far superior to the majority of what passes for prime-time programming. It only suffers in the rare episodes when a politically-correct message is pushed into the story, i.e., whenever it deviates from its original format of presenting how the criminal justice system works. Ignore the spinoffs; the original Law & Order is still the best.


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