Outside of The Simpsons and Star Trek, it's tough to think of a show or television franchise that has enjoyed greater longevity than Dick Wolf's Law & Order. It launched in 1990 with the original series, which, after nine years, spawned the similar yet distinct spin-off Special Victims Unit, which is still running to this day (and some would say has improved with age). Two years after that, came Criminal Intent and things have gone on since then. Now comes word that NBC has committed to 13 episodes of a brand new show titled Law & Order: Hate Crimes. Like the other series, the storylines will be torn straight from the headlines.
The show, created by Wolf and Warren Leight, is based on New York's actual Hate Crimes Task Force, the officers of which have a zero tolerance policy against any sort of discrimination. It works under the NYPD's actual Special Victims Unit, frequently utilizing its detectives. The fictional version of this unit will be introduced during the latter part of SVU's upcoming 20th season.
Says Wolf, "As with all of my crime shows, I want to depict what's really going on in our cities and shine a light on the wide-ranging victims and show that justice can prevail. Twenty years ago when SVU began, very few people felt comfortable coming forward and reporting these crimes, but when you bring the stories into people's living rooms — with characters as empathetic as Olivia Benson — a real dialogue can begin. That's what I hope we can do with this new show in a world where hate crimes have reached an egregious level."
For his part, Leight, a former showrunner on Special Victims Unit, adds, "I'm extremely impressed by the actual men and women investigating these cases in a city as complicaed and diverse as New York. The work they are doing puts them on the front lines in a battle for the soul of our city and nation. I'm thrilled about the chance to reunite with Dick and NBC to portray the reality of this crisis."
While we wait for more details on Law & Order: Hate Crimes, what follows is a quick guide to all of the other shows in the franchise.