Law & Order Has Been Renewed For Season 22 After Its Successful Return

Dads and uncles worldwide, rejoice! One of television's most successful and longest-running shows to ever hit cable apparently still has some juice to wring out of it, over three decades later. Not even 12 years of remaining off the airwaves after its cancellation could put a nail in the coffin for "Law & Order," which made its return for season 21 earlier this year. And now, with two episodes still to go before wrapping up the ongoing season, NBC has gone ahead and given the green light for another season renewal (along with its spin-off series, "Organized Crime.") You might not be able to tell from looking around online, but "Law & Order" fever is sweeping the nation, folks! At least, that appears to be the case among the same demographic that helped prop up other examples of syndicated television over the years, like "NCIS" or "JAG" back in the day (both of which I used to watch religiously, so I probably have no room for snark here).

The news was announced directly by NBC (via Variety), which should come as music to the ears of all those who just can't get enough of the crime procedural that has its formula down to a science by now. Of course, any property that has existed for as long as this one has will inevitably undergo some rough patches, which /Film's Danielle Ryan found to be the case with the season 21 premiere. As it turns out, attempting a comeback with a show revolving around the criminal justice system at this particular crossroads in American history didn't make for the most ideal of circumstances. As she put it in her review,

If the series weren't so self-serious and its topics of discussion weren't so painfully relevant, the goofy dialogue and often stilted performances would be enjoyable for the nostalgia they provide. There is absolutely zero self-awareness, however, and the poor handling of the material feels flippant at best and exploitative at worst.

Nevertheless, this is one train that seemingly can't be stopped.

Law & Order returns (again)

The new season of "Law & Order" saw stars Sam Waterston and Anthony Anderson returning to reprise their classic roles as Jack McCoy and Kevin Bernard, respectively. The rest of the cast included Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy, and Odelya Halevi, with original creator Dick Wolf staying involved as an executive producer and Rick Eid serving as the showrunner. In a statement, Wolf had this to say about the news:

"Dreams do come true. The renewals of the entire Wednesday and Thursday night lineups is the ultimate verification of our partnership with NBC and Universal Television. I personally want to thank the talented writers and casts, the producers who keep the trains running on time and the crews who tirelessly turn out outstanding shows despite a degree of difficulty never before experienced due to the pandemic."

As you might expect from a series with such a built-in audience, Variety also reports that season 21 was a standout ratings success. Nielsen reports that an average of 6.1 million viewers tuned in week after week, certainly justifying yet another return trip following "the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders" in the "Law & Order" universe of shows and spin-offs. Lisa Katz, president of scripted programming for NBCU Entertainment and Streaming, chimed in with a statement of her own:

"The iconic 'Law & Order' brand has long been synonymous with NBC and we couldn't be more excited to bring back all three of these dramas for the 2022-23 season. It's a testament to the brilliance of Dick Wolf's storytelling that audiences remain compelled by these unforgettable characters week after week, year after year."

The final two episodes of the current season of "Law & Order" will air on NBC tomorrow, May 12, and on May 19, 2022.