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Law & Order showrunner cites the “lessons learned” of revival

Law & Order
Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

Law & Order’s showrunner is ready to take the revival to new heights.

With Season 21 about to wrap up this week, Rick Eid opened up on what lessons he learned from the revival of the classic show and how they can work into Season 22 this fall. 

Law & Order’s return was a big deal

The return of one of NBC’s most iconic series was one of the bigger stories of the 2021-22 TV season.

After plans for a spin-off called For the Defense fell through, NBC instead decided to revive the original Law & Order. Instead of a reboot, it would be a continuation as it’s listed as Season 21, brushing over the 12-year gap since the series was canceled in 2010.

The show has mixed together old favorites like Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy and Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard alongside several fresh faces like Hugh Dancy, Odelya Halevi, Camryn Manheim, and Jeffrey Donovan

The show has continued the classic “ripped from the headlines” stories with cases based on everything from Elizabeth Holmes to Anna Delvey. While there has been some criticism of the storylines, the series remains a success.

Speaking to Give Me My Remote, showrunner Rick Eid discussed the lessons he learned from the first season of the revival to use in the future. 

“The biggest lesson, looking back, [is] you’ve got a really sophisticated and passionate fan base, and you’ve got to make [the episodes] good. I don’t know if that’s a lesson I’ve learned, or that’s just what I feel, but you really want to create the best episodes possible, because the show has such a fantastic legacy and it’s so important to so many people. [We] feel this obligation to make every episode as special as it can be or as authentic as it can be. And we try hard to do that. Whether we succeed all the time, I’m not sure. But that is our goal.”

The Season 21 finale will be powerful as Mariska Hargitay guest-stars as Olivia Benson, who aids the detectives when a cop is murdered. That will lead to an explosive trial to wrap up the year.

What’s coming in Law & Order Season 22?

Law & Order
Maroun (Odelya Halvei) and Price (Hugh Dancy) talk a case on Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

With the show earning a renewal for Season 22, Eid states he hopes to dig into the characters more in the coming year. 

“We will probably… learn more about them on a personal level and a professional level— what makes them tick?” he notes. “Who are they? And dig deeper into all of that, whether it’s [part of a] main storyline or it’s just an aside. We’ll hopefully begin to learn more about these people and explore the different dynamics among the team in more depth.”

Law & Order usually focuses on the cases, not the personal lives of its characters but has touched on some pasts. A recent episode revealed Nolan Price (Dancy) is driven by his brother dying of a drug overdose while Maroun’s sister was murdered. 

Eid wants to use that but also touch on ideas such as what Bernard has been up to in the decade since the original show went off the air.

“At the beginning, I imagined the backstory of all the new characters. I even found out what was said about Detective Bernard while he was on the show [during its original run] and then added my own version of [where he went after] that, in what he’s been doing in the in the intervening years.

You create all these backstories about all these characters, and then you write the episodes. And sometimes you go, ‘Nah, I feel like it’d be more interesting if this was really who he is or what he did.’ You learn as you go. As you write, you get to know the characters better. But you need to have some—or at least I do—sense of who they are in my head, and then that evolves as I’m writing.”

With Season 21 heading to a wild end and Season 22 set to expand on it, the Law & Order revival seems set to improve as time goes on.

Law & Order Season 21 finale airs Thursday, May 19 at 8/7c on NBC.

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