Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series created by Dick Wolf and set in New York City, which follows the professional lives of several police officers and prosecutors who represent the public interest in the criminal justice system.
The series aired in the USA on NBC from 13 September, 1990 to 24 May, 2010. There are 456 hour-long episodes in 20 seasons.
For every criminal who is put away, two processes have to happen. First the crime must be invesigated by the police, then the case must go to trial. Law & Order focuses on both of these.
Set in New York City, the series follows the professional and to a lesser extent the personal lives of several police officers and prosecutors who represent the public interest in the criminal justice system.
The characters frequently encounter dilemmas and frustrations as cases go through the stages of investigation, arrest, negotiation and trial. Matters are rarely resolved easily, or for the people involved, satisfactorily.
The following statement, narrated by Steven Zirnkilton, is spoken at the beginning of nearly every episode:
"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."
Featuring a revolving cast, Law & Order is the longest-running crime series on American television, and the second-longest running drama series (after Gunsmoke).
It has also produced five spin-off series: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and Conviction.