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(Image courtesy of NBCUniversal)
(Image courtesy of NBCUniversal)

NBC looks to reunite with 'Law & Order,' 'Night Court'


Wed, May 5th 2021 09:40 am

NBC’s straight-to-series order takes an inside look at a criminal defense firm

The most successful brand in television history is expanding on its already impressive legacy with NBC’s straight-to-series order of “Law & Order: For the Defense.”

From two-time Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf, creator of the "Law & Order" brand, “Law & Order: For the Defense” will take an unbiased look inside a criminal defense firm. The series will put the lawyers under the microscope, along with the criminal justice system with every week delivering the promise of a contemporary morality tale.

Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI”) will serve as showrunner and executive producer, along with Wolf, Arthur Forney, Julie Weitz and Peter Jankowski. The series will be produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Wolf Entertainment.

“This new show is exciting for me personally,” Wolf said. “We spent the last 30 years on shows that played offense. Now it will be great to play defense, and being able to do it with Carol is an honor and an opportunity for both of us to do television that hasn’t been done before.”

Lisa Katz, president of scripted programming for NBCUniversal television and streaming, said, “We can’t wait to bring audiences the latest chapter of ‘Law & Order,’ which will explore a different angle of the criminal justice system. We’re excited about Dick Wolf’s perpetually thought-provoking approach as well his collaboration with Carol Mendelsohn, who we have been eager to do a series with for a long time.”

The “Law & Order” brand has been a hallmark of NBC dating back to the original Emmy Award-winning “Law & Order,” which debuted in 1990, and has been a staple of the network ever since. “Law & Order: SVU,” starring Emmy-winner Mariska Hargitay, is a testament to the excellence and popularity of the brand as, now in its 22nd season, the show is the longest-running live action series in the history of television.

Wolf is also the executive producer of the brand’s most recent installment, “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” which premiered April 1 and was the top series debut from any network in more than two years (excluding NFL lead-ins.)

In addition to the “Law & Order” brand, Wolf is executive producer of NBC’s hit “Chicago” series, which continue to dominate the drama landscape, as well as CBS’ highly rated “FBI” and “FBI Most Wanted.”

Dan Fielding Lives On

NBC has given a pilot production order to “Night Court,” a half-hour multi-camera comedy from After January Productions/Warner Bros. Television/Universal Television. The continuation of the original, circa-1980s “Night Court” pairs Melissa Rauch “(The Big Bang Theory”) with original series player John Larroquette.

Rauch, Winston Rauch (After January) and writer Dan Rubin are executive products of the show, which is based on the original series created by Reinhold Weege.

In “Night Court,” unapologetic optimist judge Abby Stone (Rauch), the daughter of the late Harry Stone, follows in her father’s footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court and tries to bring order to its crew of oddballs and cynics, most notably former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding (Larroquette).

Rauch said, “My intention was purely to be behind the camera on this project, but my plans quickly changed after falling in love with the incredible script from the brilliant mind of Dan Rubin. I couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with Dan, the immense talent that is John Larroquette, and the two powerhouse institutions of comedy that are NBC and Warner Bros. to bring ‘Night Court’ back to television.”

A true multi-hyphenate, Rauch is coming off the hit CBS/Warner Bros. TV comedy series “The Big Bang Theory,” which celebrated its final season in 2019. After that, she appeared in Steven Soderbergh's “The Laundromat,” alongside Meryl Streep; as well as “Ode to Joy,” opposite Martin Freeman. Rauch starred, produced and co-wrote, along with Rauch, “The Bronze,” which was the “Official Opening Night Film Selection” of the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics. She recently produced, co-wrote (with Rauch), and starred in a stage production of a political satire titled “The Secret Lunches of Chelsea & Ivanka” at Joe’s Pub in NYC. After January has several projects currently in development through Warner Bros. TV.

Larroquette most recently joined the cast of “The Good Fight” on CBS All Access, and starred on the CBS comedy series “Me, Myself & I.” He has recurred on ABC on both “The Practice” and “Boston Legal.” His work on “The Practice” garnered Larroquette two of his seven total Emmy nominations and one of his five wins. The others were for his previous work on NBC’s “Night Court,” which enjoyed a nine-season run for a whopping 193 episodes from 1984-1992. Larroquette won four consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Dan Fielding from 1985-88, before withdrawing his name from the ballot in 1989. “Night Court” was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series three times (1985, 1987 and 1988).

Dan Rubin’s credits include his tenure for the full-run of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (where he was nominated for four Emmys and three WGA awards). He continued his work with Tina Fey and the “Kimmy Schmidt” producers, working on their latest project, “Mulligan,” over at Netflix. He also recently served as a co-executive producer on FOX's series “Outmatched.” Other credits include “Happy Endings,” “Scrubs,” “Worst Week” and “The Michael J. Fox Show.”

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