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NBC picks up new 'Law & Order' series, 'For the Defense'

Producer Dick Wolf created the "Law & Order"

Producer Dick Wolf created the "Law & Order" TV franchise. Credit: Invision / AP / Evan Agostini

Producer Dick Wolf, who recently expanded his venerable drama franchise "Law & Order" with "Law & Order: Organized Crime," has received a straight-to-series order for yet another: "Law & Order: For the Defense."

NBC announced Monday that the upcoming series would focus on a law firm specializing in criminal defense, and would examine the nature of both the attorneys' work and the criminal-justice system. Carol Mendelsohn, the founding showrunner of "C.S.I.," will be showrunner and an executive producer of the new series.

"This new show is exciting for me personally," the New York City-born Wolf, 74, said in a statement. "We spent the last 30 years on shows that played offense," referring to the original "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and its spinoffs, which are both police procedurals about the pursuit of criminals and legal dramas about their prosecution. "Now it will be great to play defense, and being able to do it with Carol is an honor and an opportunity for both of us to do television that hasn't been done before."

"We can't wait to bring audiences the latest chapter of 'Law & Order,' which will explore a different angle of the criminal-justice system," said Lisa Katz, NBCUniversal's president of scripted programming, in a statement. "We're excited about Dick Wolf's perpetually thought-provoking approach as well his collaboration with Carol Mendelsohn, who we have been eager to do a series with for a long time."

NBC in March 2020 had given a 13-episode commitment for the current "Law & Order: Organized Crime," in which Christopher Meloni reprises his role as NYPD Det. Elliot Stabler from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the other still-running show in the franchise.

The original "Law & Order" spun off "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 1999, followed by "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001-2011), "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005-06) and "Law & Order: LA" (2010-11). Wolf did not create the anthology umbrella "Law & Order: True Crime" (2017).

NBC gave another spinoff, "Law & Order: Hate Crimes," a 13-episode commitment in September 2018. The show has been in various forms of development since, and in June a producer told The Hollywood Reporter's "TV's Top 5" podcast that due to language concerns it was being considered for NBC's streaming service, Peacock, rather than the broadcast network.

Wolf additionally created a British version, "Law & Order: UK," that ran in the United Kingdom.

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