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New York City is Back in the Law and Order Spotlight

Samantha Kemp-Jackson

Organized Crime in New York is the Latest Focus in the Law and Order TV Franchise

New Yorkers who may have missed Eliot Stabler, the popular partner of Olivia Benson on Law and Order, are in for a treat. NBC, the creator of the Law and Order series, is about to make New York City an offier it can't refuse. Christopher Meloni, who played the detective on the long-running television show is coming back. This time, he's battling organized crime in The Big Apple.

Focusing the new series with this perhaps-not-so-surprising area of criminality is certainly a tactic that will interest fans. This includes both native New Yorkers and anyone who loves the hit television franchise that's been on the air for over two decades. Devotees of the show never miss an episode and the number of spin-offs alone are impressive. To date, the original program has spawned Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: Trial By Jury, Law and Order: L.A. and Law and Order: True Crime. Indeed, some of these programs have been put to bed, but they certainly had their devotees while they were on the air.

Organized crime is, unfortunately, nothing new for New York. The home of the original "Five Families," the city has seen its fair share of mob-related activity. The late 80s and early 90s-era trial of mafia don, John Gotti (The Teflon Don) rivited audiences both near and far. His longstanding ability to get away with crimes that he had been accused of only ended when he was finally convicted and sent to prison in 1992. The continuance of mafia-ordered crimes by the Gambino crime family during his incarceration was said to be approved of and even instructed by Gotti.

The antics of those on the outside - his loyal "foot soldiers" who were happy to do his bidding, resulted in mob-related activities that continued to plague the city for years to come.

Source: NBC

For law-abiding citizens, the activities of mafia members was terrifying. And yet there never ceases to be interest in the actions of those who choose to live on the wrong side of the law. Perhaps it is because this reality was so close to home for New Yorkers that interest in crime overall increased. The ongoing popularity of Law and Order and the shows that came from it, may underscore this fact. Or, perhaps that's why the Law and Order television franchise has done so well. As sordid and gloomy are some of its episodes, there's no denying that the high-caliber acting and direction on the show keeps viewers glued to their screens.

For law-abiding citizens, the activities of mafia members was terrifying. And yet there never ceases to be interest in the actions of those who choose to live on the wrong side of the law.

To this end, it's almost a natural progression from Law and Order SVU (Special Victims Unit) to this new area of interest. The show has never shied away from showing the seedy underbelly of crime in New York; why should this new extension of the program be any different?

CHART: The New York Five Families

Source: FBI

There’s an appetite for mob-related TV. Just look at the popularity of the Sopranos

With the abundance of shows on the air, online and through paid streaming services, viewers have a plethora of choices about what to watch. One might imagine that organized crime, in all its gory glory wouldn't be top of the list. And yet the popularity of shows such as the Sopranos while it was on the air, and Narcos, which has its own huge following of fans (and its own spin-off as well), continue to entrance and engage viewers around the world.

So back to New York and its role as the center stage for all things organized crime. While it might not be the reminder that New Yorkers want about the reality of mobsters in their midst, it does make for great TV.

The Sopranos

Source: Variety

One additional note: many can't resist that unmistakeable theme music that marks the beginning of each Law and Order episode. Maybe that's what keeps them coming back?

Law and Order Theme Music

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I write about Lifestyle content with a focus on Parenting, Society and Trends. I also talk about how things have changed on my podcast, "Parenting Then and Now."


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