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“Law & Order” now enters its 13th season on NBC and is television’s longest-running current drama. The series, which explores crime and the legal system, was the 1997 Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Drama Series and is the record holder for the most consecutive (11) nominations in that category, sharing the overall record with NBC’s “Cheers” and “M*A*S*H.”

With its renewal through May 2005, “Law & Order” is set to become the longest-running police series and second longest-running drama series in the history of television.

Filmed entirely on location in New York City, this realistic program looks at crime and justice from a dual perspective. In the first half-hour, Detectives Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) and Edward Green (Jesse L. Martin) investigate crimes and apprehend suspects under the supervision of their precinct lieutenant, Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). In the second half-hour, the focus shifts to the criminal courts. Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn (Elisabeth Rohm) work within a complicated justice system to prosecute the accused. This season, a new District Attorney, Arthur Branch (Fred Thompson), has been elected to serve as the guiding force in the D.A.’s office, offering a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Some cases may be simple, but most are multi-faceted. The investigations are challenging, prosecutions are complicated, and decisions about legal procedures and plea-bargaining are vexing. In the arduous and complex process of determining guilt and innocence, lives often hang in the balance.

Last year in its 12th season, “Law & Order” achieved its strongest Nielsen ratings ever with a 7.0 rating/ 19 share among adults 18-49 and 18.7 million viewers overall. The acclaimed crime drama defeated its combined regular network competition in virtually all key categories, and for the ninth-consecutive season, was NBC’s top-scoring Wednesday series.

“Law & Order” is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Network Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer, Jeffrey Hayes, Michael Chernuchin and Peter Jankowski are executive producers; Lewis J. Gould, Richard Sweren, Eric Overmyer and Arthur Forney are co-executive producers.


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