‘Law & Order’ Ratings Revealed for Three-Hour Crossover Premiere

by Suzanne Halliburton
Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Maybe Law & Order should merge the three shows more often. Because its three-hour crossover Thursday night was a ratings winner.

How big was the audience? Let’s break down the numbers. First, for the crossover, NBC flipped the order of the shows. Law & Order: Organized Crime, which normally is the final show of the evening, kicked off the premiere. Then came SVU and the revamped OG, Law & Order.

So these are their (ratings) stories:

Organized Crime, the newest spinoff, drew an initial audience of 5.2 million. Note, this doesn’t include DVR or streaming numbers. It takes about a week to determine those totals. But the same-day viewership number was the largest since the show premiered, April 1, 2021, to give Christopher Meloni another platform to play Elliot Stabler.

Law & Order: SVU Enjoyed Its Best Night In Five Years

The SVU audience swelled to 5.8 million for the kickoff to season 24. That was the series largest audience since the season 19 finale.

And then Law & Order finished the evening with 5.1 million. That’s the best audience since NBC relaunched the series, Feb. 24, after a 12-year hiatus.

Let’s also mention what a good week Dick Wolf, who created the shows, enjoyed. He has nine series running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Six of them are on NBC, with the One Chicago shows on Wednesday night. CBS runs the FBI shows on Tuesday. All nine shows allowed Wolf Entertainment to dominate each night.

FBI, which runs Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern, was the most watched non-sports show of the week. It’s premiere attracted an audience of 6.8 million. And here’s why that’s important. Last TV season, NCIS was the most watched non-sports show on broadcast TV, followed closely by FBI. NCIS launched season 20 this past Monday with a crossover with NCIS: Hawai’i. The show drew an audience of 5.8 million. Of course, NCIS also went head-to-head with Monday Night Football.

So let’s get back to Thursday night and Law & Order. It’s the first time those three series shared their cast and plots. In fact, the shows flowed seamlessly from hour to hour. All three episodes were under the same name: “Gimme Shelter.”

The first hour introduced new Law & Order character Jalen Shaw, played by Mehcad Brooks. He’s the former lawyer turned narcotic detective who’s transferring to homicide. Shaw partners with Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan).

Crossover Ended with Amanda Rollins In Hospital

The case started with the murder of a teenaged Ukrainian refugee named Ava, who was shot as Frank was trying to bring over a stretcher. SVU’s Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) got involved because Ava was being trafficked. Then Meloni’s Stabler and crew were drawn in because Organized Crime had been investigating Sirenko, the guy who killed Ava.

An episode about drug running and sex trafficking evolved into one about terrorism. Rublev, a Russian close to Vladimir Putin, ordered Sirenko to plant a car bomb in the parking garage of a large hotel, where a NATO conference was discussing Ukraine.

Finally, Jack McCoy, Nolan Price and Samantha Maroun tried to bring the criminals to justice. Sirenko received a reduced sentence for testifying against Rublev. But someone assassinated the Russian as he was trying to make a deal with prosecutors in exchange for information on Putin. Plus, there was all sorts of side drama. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) did survive getting shot, but her days on Law & Order: SVU are numbered.

The three Law & Order shows return this Thursday back to their normal (and separate) hours. But here’s to the crossover.