Law & Order: Countdown to New Record

Law & Order:  Countdown to New Record

Law & Order vs Gunsmoke: the battle for the record.  Will the longest running TV drama in history be replaced by the “mother ship” of the Law & Order family – an enduring dream of the series’ powerful creator, Dick Wolf.  As it stands right now, NBC is not telling.

The question is, “Will the criminal justice system be alive on “Law & Order” next fall?”  NBC refused to confirm rumors that the show was being canceled after 20 seasons on the air, one year short of the Gunsmoke record.  Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one person close to the production said talks are still on going.

The show’s season (or series) finale airs May 24, with no official closure. It will mark the departure of S. Epatha Merkerson, a cast member since 1993.  Merkerson had appeared on the show before she became a regular.  Many characters have come and gone during the 20 year run, but it is believed the all time favorite was Lenny Briscoe, the wise cracking detective, played by the late Jerry Orbach. The series’ current stars include Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, Linus Roache, Alana De La Garza and Sam Waterston.

Despite sagging ratings, “Law & Order” had been considered likely for renewal next season. With the official announcement of NBC’s 2010-11 schedule due Sunday, the network on Thursday still wasn’t handing down a verdict on the show.