‘Law & Order’ And CBS’ ‘JonBenet Ramsey Murder’ Series To Join The True Crime Resurgence

Ryan Murphy has started a new television trend with his recreation of the O.J. Simpson trial on his American Crime Story series, and now both NBC and CBS are throwing their own spins on the true crime genre into the ring. For NBC, Law & Order producer Dick Wolf has created a new spin-off for the franchise, entitled Law & Order: True Crime, and it will undoubtedly be as bold and compelling as have all previous installments in the Law & Order franchise. While Law & Order: True Crime will presumably delve into a new case each week, or perhaps each season, CBS is offering an intensive look into a single case with their currently untitled look into the JonBenet Ramsey Murder case.

Law & Order: True Crime To Rival American Crime Story Season Per Season

The proposed new installment in the Law & Order franchise will be set up in much the same way that Ryan Murphy has set up his own American Crime Story, tackling one true crime story per season, as Murphy has already done with the O.J. Simpson trial. For Law & Order, this means giving a literal meaning to the “ripped from the headlines” branding series producers have always tried to play up, even with the first, original Law & Order. For True Crime, Dick Wolf wants to tackle another big case, the Menendez brothers murders.

Law & Order: True Crime — The Menendez Brothers Murders will be an eight-episode event dealing with Eric and Lyle Menendez and their plot to kill their parents. In the real case, the Menendez brothers, who were 18 and 21 at the time of the crime, were arrested and tried for the 1989 slaying of their parents, but the first two trials both resulted in hung juries. The third and final trial took place in 1996 and convicted both Lyle and Eric Menendez to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

“This case captured the public’s attention like nothing before it as it examined taboo issues such as patricide and matricide in gruesome detail, all against a backdrop of privilege and wealth,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. “We will re-create the cultural and societal surroundings of both the murders and trials when people were not only obsessed with the case but examining how and why these brothers committed these heinous crimes.”

Not To Be Left Behind, CBS Joins The True Crime Genre By Offering A Look At JonBenet Ramsey

CBS may have the biggest draw in the true crime genre with their untitled JonBenet Ramsey murder series, which the network describes as being similar to the already popular Making a Murderer, because, unlike American Crime Story and Law & Order, CBS is tackling a case that is currently unsolved. Tom Forman (48 Hours) is on board to produce the series, which is set to air this fall and will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Ramsey murder.

The case revolved around the murder of six-year-old beauty pageant participant JonBenet Ramsey. JonBenet was found murdered in her parents’ home in Boulder, Colorado, in 1996. The victim’s parents were among the top suspects, but were cleared of suspicion in July 2008 through DNA analysis. Many criticized the police for the way in which the investigation was handled for the numerous and unproductive grand jury trials in JonBenet’s murder case.

A new series focusing on the JonBenet Ramsey murder, 20 years after the fact, may be able to shine a light on previously undiscovered or erroneously dismissed evidence, which would bring a wider viewership and possibly even bring justice to JonBenet Ramsey. Even if the CBS series can’t directly solve this true crime murder mystery, the renewed interest generated by the series may ultimately produce new leads for law enforcement.

[Image by NBC]