NBC announced Tuesday that they have ordered 13 episodes of a new iteration of the award-winning series Law & Order. The new series, titled Law & Order: Hate Crimes, takes place in New York City. This new unit will focus on crimes motivated by discrimination and bias.
The new series is based on New York's actual Hate Crimes Task Force, which is the second oldest bias-based task force in the country. In real life, this department is a subset of the Special Victims Division of the NYPD. The relationship will be mirrored on the small screen, with the show's Hate Crimes Unit debuting towards the end of the upcoming season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
NBC executives call this partnership between Law & Order creator and executive producer Dick Wolf and former SVU showrunner Warren Leight "extremely timely." Lisa Katz, Co-President of Scripted Programming at NBC said, "Considering that last year there was a double-digit rise in hate crimes in our 10 largest cities — the highest total in over a decade — it seemed like this topic is begging to be explored."
The two-time Emmy-winning producer is excited for the opportunity to, "depict what's really going on in our cities and shine a light on the wide-ranging victims and show that justice can prevail."
"Twenty years ago when 'SVU' began, very few people felt comfortable coming forward and reporting these crimes, but when you bring the stories into people's living rooms – with characters as empathetic as Olivia Benson – a real dialogue can begin. That's what I hope we can do with this new show in a world where hate crimes have reached an egregious level," Wolf continued.
Co-creator Leight found inspiration in the Hate Crimes Task Force. "I'm extremely impressed by the actual men and women investigating these cases in a city as complicated and diverse as New York," Leight said. "The work they are doing puts them on the front lines in a battle for the soul of our city and nation," he said in a statement.
Comprised of over 1,000 hours of programming across 6 series since 1990, the Law & Order universe is one of the most successful television franchises in history. The procedural has been nominated for the most consecutive Emmy Awards of any primetime drama. Thanks to syndication of the wildly popular series, episodes of Law & Order can air up to six times a day in some cities.
No information on filming or air dates has been released at this time. Fans of the Law & Order franchise can keep themselves occupied with the 20th season of SVU, which begins September 27.