It's Official: "Law & Order" to Air Last Episode May 24

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The iconic New York show is hanging up the gavel after 20 seasons. (Published Tuesday, May 18, 2010)

     Dun. Dun. So the bell tolls for the original "Law & Order."

    The last crime solved on the iconic New York City drama will be this month, NBC officials confirmed, following speculation that the show would end its decades-long run. 

    But even though the last episode will be May 24, diehard fans may feel the blow lessened a bit as NBC said it will launch new a "Law & Order" franchise in Los Angeles and will continue "Law & Order: SVU" for another season.

    A 21st season would have set a record for the longest-running TV drama series. The cancellation leaves "Law & Order" tied with "Gunsmoke" for the longevity title.

    Earlier, as various entertainment news sources reported the network would not renew Dick Wolf's creation after Deadline.com cited recent "soft ratings."

    Set and taped in New York, the show built a huge following with storylines taken from real headlines of our local media outlets.

    Even Mayor Bloomberg commented today on the passing of a local legend.

    “Over the last 20 years, Law & Order became a New York City institution," said Bloomberg. "It began filming in the City at a time when few series did, and it helped pave the way for the more than 150 television shows based here today, including the Law & Order spinoff Special Victims Unit, which will continue."

    It is unclear where he came up with the 150 number.

    "It also helped launch the careers of thousands of talented actors and featured many memorable performances – although my cameos are not among them," said Bloomberg.

    Over the years, such acting luminaries as Jerry Orbach, Paul Sorvino, Chris Noth, Michael Moriarty, Jill Hennessy, Benjamin Bratt, Angie Harmon and Jesse Martin have had regular roles on the show.

    Current stars Sam Waterston, who plays the top prosecutor, and S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays a detective, have enjoyed a long run on the show.

    Longtime Tennessee senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson,who played the district attorney on the show for several years, stepped down from the role to mount a failed White House bid in 2007.