Dick Wolf Blasts Original ‘Law & Order’s Cancellation 12 Years Ago: ‘Shouldn’t Have Gone Off Air’

by Shelby Scott

As one of Hollywood’s most prominent writer-producers, Dick Wolf remains a household name within the television industry. Across more than three decades, Wolf has seen the success of multiple popular franchises. He kicked off that success with “Law & Order,” followed by “One Chicago,” and “FBI” most recently. However, despite the success of Dick Wolf’s most iconic franchise—”Law & Order”—the flagship show became canceled 12 years ago. Now, reflecting on its cancellation, the TV icon is blasting the decision, claiming “[‘Law & Order’] shouldn’t have gone off air.”

Aside from “Gunsmoke,” “Law & Order” ranks as TV’s longest-running drama. Further, in 2010, Variety reports the Dick Wolf-produced show was just about to “elbow its way” past the mid-20th century Western when NBC pulled the plug. Wolf revealed his long-held grudge when he said, “It was a political cancellation. It shouldn’t have gone off the air when it did.”

Nevertheless, Wolf also expressed pride in his original series. “Law & Order” finally returned for its 21st season earlier this year. Altogether, that accomplishment put nine Dick Wolf original series on television. Additionally, all three of his franchises scored timeslots during TV’s primetime.

In speaking about his successes in April, Wolf said, “The biggest miracle was getting nine broadcast series scheduled.” However, at the time, the next big miracle would be seeing all nine of the series renewed. And, much to his and fans’ delight, we were granted that miracle.

When our favorite procedural dramas return in the fall, we can look forward to another season of “Law & Order,” as well as season 24 of “Law & Order: SVU” and season 3 of “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

Interconnected Universes Lends to the Success of Dick Wolf Franchises

Few series have seen as much airtime as “Law & Order” and there’s a major reason for that. When Dick Wolf launched “Law & Order” in 1990, the writer-producer set out to change TV dramas. Now, that endeavor has seen Wolf’s stories occupy not one, not two, but three full nights of primetime television. Tuesday nights on CBS spotlight “FBI”; Wednesday nights on NBC showcase “One Chicago”; and Thursday nights are devoted to Wolf’s kickstarter franchise, “Law & Order.”

But how exactly did Dick Wolf essentially form a monopoly on primetime TV? Well, as per Variety, Wolf introduced binge-able series and “intricate narrative metaverses” long before Netflix. So, as the streaming service gained in popularity, Wolf managed to maintain his hold on mass audiences through a growing universe of beloved characters, settings, and plotlines.

Further, he drove home that success as he forced those universes to cross. In doing so, the characters come together from their respective offices, agencies, and cities to increase the depth of the narratives. However, interestingly, despite the ongoing success of those crossover events, network executives resisted his goal to have intricate metaverses, insisting it would “never happen.”