Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It aired on NBC, and in syndication on various cable networks. Law & Order premiered on September 13, 1990, and completed its 20th and final season on May 24, 2010. At the time of its cancellation, Law & Order was the longest-running crime drama on American primetime television, and tied for longest running American drama series of all time with Gunsmoke; both are the second longest-running scripted series with ongoing characters after The Simpsons.
Set and filmed in New York City, the series follows a two-part approach: in the first half hour, the investigation of a crime and apprehension of a suspect by New York City police detectives is shown, followed by the prosecution of the defendant by the Manhattan District Attorney's office in the second half. Plots are often based on real cases that recently made headlines.
The show has been noted for its revolving cast over the years. Its first season starred George Dzundza as Detective Sergeant Max Greevey,Chris Noth as Mike Logan, Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen, Michael Moriarty as Executive Assistant District Attorney Ben Stone,Richard Brooks as Assistant District Attorney Paul Robinette and Steven Hill as District Attorney Adam Schiff. After several cast shuffles, its final season starred Jeremy Sisto as Detective Cyrus Lupo, Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard, S. Epatha Merkerson as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, Linus Roache as Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter, Alana de la Garza as Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa and Sam Waterston as District Attorney Jack McCoy.
The success of the series has led to the creation of additional shows within the Law & Order franchise, a television film, several video games, and international adaptations of the series. It has won and been nominated for numerous awards over the years, including a number of Emmy Awards. On May 14, 2010, NBC announced that it had cancelled Law & Order and would air the final episode on May 24, 2010.
Immediately following the show's cancellation, Wolf stated that he was attempting to find a new home for the series, and would also consider a "last resort" plan to conclude the show with a two-hour TV film to air on NBC. In July 2010, however, he indicated that those attempts have failed and declared that the series had now "moved to the history books".