|While stalwart fans of the original Law & Order may bemoan the fact that NBC has cancelled the long-running series, it will also deal a small blow to New Yorkers who had become dependent on it. One of the hallmarks of the series was its on-location shots of Manhattan, but it also moved out to Queens, Brooklyn and even Hoboken, New Jersey in its pursuit of justice.|
Over the last 20 years, 'Law & Order' became a New York City institution," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a press conference. He also thanked producer Dick Wolf for "helping showcase the city's depth and versatility as a setting and all of the advantages of filming here." Bloomberg noted that it not only helped tourism to the city but provided work for many in the entertainment industry.
The show had become a familiar presence on the streets of New York as it went about its on-location filming. As Bloomberg pointed out, television shows that highlighted the city’s background helps tourism. While Sex and the City probably takes the crown for luring sophisticated wannabes to Manhattan (there’s even a Sex and the City tour), Law & Order, with its twenty-year run has probably highlighted more diverse areas than any other show. Lower Manhattan and Battery Park are familiar backgrounds for the show, but Central Park was also a popular venue where dead bodies might show up.
But it is the acting community that will feel the loss most keenly. During its 20-year run the series has offered work that yielded anywhere from $300 for a walk-on to $800 for a speaking part. Over 4000 actors have taken small roles as nurses, doctors, policemen, gang members, jury members as well as the host of extras needed in crowd scenes. Several actors showed up more than once as EMT workers or mothers in the playground in various New York locations. There was even a Saturday Night Live skit a few years ago where Amy Poehler ran a school for Law & Order extras and small parts. The most common exercise was to be one of the two people who were arguing about something until they come upon the “dead body!” and reacted with appropriate disgust or surprise.
Of course, many actors found work as the dead body as well, since at least one dead body was need for each episode.. But it looks like extras and small-bit actors will have to make do with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The latter has limited shows on USA Network which is NBC’s cable station now that the Law & Order mothership has been grounded for good.