New breed 'Law & Order' brings back NYPD detective Stabler

The latest member of the Law & Order franchise has a familiar face playing a familiar character, but producer Dick Wolf says hes switching up the storytelling.
NBCs Law & Order: Organized Crime stars Christopher Meloni as New York police detective Elliot Stabler, the role he played until 2011 on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Unlike the largely self-contained episodes of its Law & Order relatives, the new drama shifts from one criminal syndicate to another in multi-episode arcs. It debuts Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT, paired in a crossover episode with Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. EDT.
Think of it this way, Wolf suggested: If the first eight episodes are The Godfather, the second eight episodes are American Gangster and the third eight episodes are Scarface.
You have major antagonists around to build a really good, longer-term story, he told The Associated Press. That allows for options we havent had a chance to explore yet, including antagonists that arent complete black hats, that can be more nuanced.
Law & Order: Organized Crime also brings a new writer-producer to the franchise's ranks, Ilene Chaiken, whose credits include the groundbreaking The L Word, which featured LGBTQ characters, and The Handmaid's Tale.
I've known her by reputation for a long time, Wolf said. Over the last 30 years there's very few truly landmark shows, but The L Word is one of them."
Chaiken is not only skilled, shes incredibly insightful about human emotion" and with a different rhythm than he has, Wolf said. He called that a necessity for Organized Crime, with Meloni's Stabler among the most pre-Miranda cops on television."
In other words, the sort of law enforcement officer who didn't like to play by the rules, such as informing a person under arrest of their rights the sort of character that TV once routinely celebrated as heroic.
What she had to do was keep that character intact, but soften and change him in a believable manner that got him into the present, so thats hes not a dinosaur," Wolf said. "Not an easy thing to do.
The franchises theme music will be featured, with what he fondly calls yet another Goldberg Variations a reference to Bachs 19th-century aria and its 30 iterations. The Law & Order tune is practically an American standard, given the original shows ubiquity in reruns and the enduring Law & Order: SVU, now in its 22nd season with Mariska Hargitay.
The new series is just part of the expansive TV real estate Wolf's empire occupies, including NBC's Chicago Fire and its pair of spinoffs, and CBS' FBI and its about-to-be two spinoffs, with the recent announcement of FBI: International for next season. All are produced by Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television.
He cites Charles Dickens as inspiration for his intertwined shows, explaining how his approach compares to that of the British novelist.
It's Dickens' London: Anybody who appears in any of the books can appear in any of the others," he said, excepting A Tale of Two Cities, which adds Paris to the mix. Wolf owns all the books in the format in which they were released, most in monthly sections.
People would line up for six hours for the next installment, he said. And, like TV and unlike films, the story could go on as long as the author and the public wanted.
A movie exists for 110 minutes. A successful show exists for 110 hours, Wolf said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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