Law & Order made it’s television debut in 1990. It was an American series about police (law) and legal (order) procedures. This hit NBC crime drama was created by Dick Wolf. The series relied heavily on true crime stories as motivation for its writers.
Brandon Tartikoff, who was the NBC President then, once did an interview with Dick Wolf, the executive producer of Law & Order. He asked the series creator what was the “bible” for his series. Dick answered that it was “The front page” of the news.
After more than 1,000 episodes of the wildly popular cases and wild drama, the true series came to an end in 2010. It had many ongoing spin-offs that spun countless events from true events.
PEOPLE Magazine Features True Crime Stories That Inspired Law & Order
PEOPLE magazine has put together 35 real cases… true crime stories that inspired the show Law & Order. Page 96 of the new issue contains these high profile trials Law & Order used as inspiration.
What true crime stories did they use?
- Trials from O.J. Simpson to Robert Durst
- Sex scandals from the Mayflower Madam to Anthony Weiner
- Unsolved mysteries, like the deaths of JonBenét Ramsey and of Chandra Levy
Law & Order: Transforming True Crime Stories Into Great TV
PEOPLE magazine also show how the creative team of the show added their own twist to the story. This was intended to:
- Personalize the story
- Make something original from the headline
They only used the headlines as inspiration, and did not follow the stories as it was.
For example, they had an episode where a mom was charged for her daughter’s murder. Hillary Duff, who played the mom, does look like Casey Anthony on so many levels. However, the play takes a turn and they make the cause of death… measles.
The PEOPLE magazine Law & Order feature includes exclusive interviews with real life detectives and prosecutors on how the show’s approach kept it real.
They also give a sneak peek into NBC upcoming new series, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murder. It will star Edie Falco.