Law & Order's True Crime Spinoff Is Happening, Get The Details

law & order: svu

Take one of the most successful TV franchises of all time and mix it with a successful pop culture trend, and the only thing that can come out of it is television gold, right? That's what NBC is hoping, as the network has put in a series order for the latest Dick Wolf-produced spinoff Law & Order: True Crime, with the first season set up to focus on the still-shocking murders committed by brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez.

Not only will this be the first Law & Order series that transparently takes on a real-world crime rather than running it through a headline-of-the-week filter, but this newest spinoff has a couple of other franchise differences, too. It's an anthology, so the subject matter will change from season to season, and NBC has wisely decided to keep the story limited, ordering up just eight episodes for Season 1 of Law & Order: True Crime. Not one to outstay its welcome, this one.

In fact, that's even fewer episodes than The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, the FX drama whose success no doubt inspired NBC's interest in entering the true crime fold. The Law & Order spinoff was put into development after the Ryan Murphy-produced drama aired its stellar finale, and now the series order has come a day after the Emmy nominations were announced, with much attention given to People v. O.J. Simpson and Netflix's Making A Murderer. Should we expect some top-tier talent to drum up some awards buzz for NBC? Definitely.

The creative force behind the bumper sticker-unfriendly Law & Order: True Crime - The Menendez Murders will be Rene Balcer, according to THR. Balcer has been a part of the L&O franchise for a long time, having served as writer/director/producer across episodes of the flagship series, as well as the Criminal Intent, Criminal Mind, LA, and UK spinoffs. I can't imagine Dick Wolf's clone could handle this new show more effectively.

The Menendez Murders will, of course, deliver a look at the trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted in 1994 for the brutal murder of their parents in 1989. It was one of the earlier court cases that took the country by storm as it played out on TV, particularly for the brothers being fairly young and not outwardly batshit crazy at the time of the murders.

Hopefully you've got room on your plate for even more true crime shows, since TV is going to be full of them soon. CBS is getting down with something focusing on JonBenét Ramsey's murder, as well as another looking at Patty Hearst's kidnapping. Nicole Brown Simpson's sister also has something in development where she will look into criminal cases. And there are undoubtedly others that haven't been spoken of yet.

No telling when Law & Order: True Crime will get its first season underway, but we can probably expect it to debut in either the midseason or the summer of 2017. Here's everything you can check out this fall with our TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.