Well, it’s official in every way now. Law & Order, the original and best in my opinion, is gone. No chance apparently for even coming back on another network or cable provider, not as a TV-movie, and not as an NBC final episode or two to wrap up the characters. On July 30th 2010 at the Television Critics Association press tour, Dick Wolf said, “I will confirm that it has moved to the history books…We were extremely disappointed that Law & Order is not coming back for a record 21st season. But that’s life. All series start with a death sentence, they just don’t give you the date of execution.” Talk about an appropriate description given the heavy nature of the show’s material.
But it would have been nice if that execution date hadn’t been sprung on everybody at the last minute – news the show was cancelled came about a week and a half before the final episode aired. Maybe advance notice and prep time would have resulted in a more final feeling finale.
While there was a special last scene in the last episode “The Rubber Room” which had all the characters together and gave a happy resolution for one, there was no similar resolution for other hinted at relationships or long running plotlines. Some have said it was fitting that’s how the show should have ended. I can see their point since Law & Order was always more about the cases, and generally all wrapped up into one hour little bundles. It was the antithesis of a serialized show. But, there were character relationships subtly woven in over the years that deserved attention.There were also stronger plotlines and guest stars for some episodes more so than for others. No disrespect meant to the last episode’s case, but I don’t think it was near the show or season’s best. I can’t help but think and hope that a last episode that was intended as such could have been better. That said, I remain grateful for the final three or four minutes of the series. As others have gratefully pointed out, at least the last episode didn’t just end with their trademark brief comment at the conclusion of the case. We got to see the Law and the Order sides together one last time.