‘Law & Order’ Almost Had a Completely Different Title

by Josh Lanier

When Dick Wolf started working on Law & Order in the 1980s, he didn’t know what to call it. For a time, he used the name Catch ‘Em and Cook ‘Em as a placeholder. It was one of several names he considered for the billion-dollar franchise early on.

Dick Wolf cut his teeth as a writer on police procedurals such as Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice. But he noticed a growing hole in the market. All of these shows focused on flashy detectives or hard-nosed cops on the beat. What about the workaday officers? Or the district attorneys putting in 80 hours a week to take on defensive attorneys making four times their salary?

So, he started working on a script that would focus on them. A novel concept at the time. But what do you call it? He tried Catch ‘Em and Night and Day as well as several others, Wolf said before.

“I played around with Night and Day and all sorts of other things,” Wolf told the authors of Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion. “And then I came up with Law & Order and was very proud of myself: Oh my god. I had an original idea.”

Though, Law & Order was already taken. Ronald Reagan, who was president when Wolf started work on the series, starred in a movie of the same name in the 1950s. Wolf considered some other names but none had the same oomph as Law & Order so he stuck with it.

Sam Waterson To Return as Jack McCoy for ‘Law & Order’ Reboot

Law & Order returns to NBC next year, and one of its most beloved characters will be there. Sam Waterston announced this week that he would return to the series as District Attorney Jack McCoy. Waterston appeared on the series for 17 years before the network canceled it in 2015.

It’s good news for fans of the series as Waterston’s McCoy is one of its most iconic characters. So far, NBC hasn’t said if S. Epatha Merkerson, who played fan-favorite Lt. Anita Van Buren, will rejoin the cast. She currently works on Chicago Med, another Dick Wolf series.

Along with Waterston, Anthony Anderson will reprise his role of Det. Kevin Bernard for the reboot. Producers also cast Jeffrey Donovan to play an NYPD detective, Hugh Dancy as an Assistant District Attorney, and Camryn Manheim, who will star as Lt. Kate Dixon, per Deadline.

The series will return to NBC on February 24, 2022. Creator Dick Wolf called the decision a “dream come true.” He said fans of the series can expect more of the same from the reboot.

“We always approach storytelling the same way: Good writing, acting, and production values, and give the viewers what they want,” he told Variety last month. “That’s been our mantra from day one.”

NBC executives said the decision was a long-time coming and welcomed the series back onto the network.

Law & Order is quite simply one of the most iconic shows in television history,” said Susan Rovner, chairman of Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “And the idea of continuing its legacy and partnering with Dick on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating. This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere.”