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‘Law & Order: For the Defense’ Scrapped at NBC

Dick Wolf drama was ordered straight-to-series in May

NBC has ditched plans to debut a new “Law & Order” spinoff this fall, the network announced Thursday.

“Law & Order: For the Defense,” a planned spinoff of the long-running Dick Wolf procedural franchise, was ordered straight-to-series back in May for a premiere this fall. The drama was announced as part of NBC’s upcoming fall lineup, set to lead into “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the Chris Meloni-led “Law & Order: Organized Crime” on Thursday nights.

The network declined to provide a reason for the decision to scrap “For the Defense,” stating only that NBC and Universal Television are continuing to develop another new entry in the franchise.

“For the Defense” was set to be a big departure for the long-running “Law & Order” franchise, breaking from the traditional format to “take an unbiased look inside a criminal defense firm,” according to NBC’s description of the series at the time. The drama promised to “put the lawyers under the microscope, along with the criminal justice system with every week delivering the promise of a contemporary morality tale.”

“CSI” veteran Carol Mendelsohn was to serve as showrunner and executive producer alongside franchise boss Dick Wolf.

The triple stack of “Law & Order” dramas was set to be one of two full nights of programming from Wolf Entertainment on NBC, with the three “One Chicago” dramas airing back-to-back-to-back on Wednesday nights. (Wolf also has a full night of programming on CBS’s fall schedule this upcoming season.)

Instead, “SVU” will return with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Sept. 23, followed by the season premiere of “Organized Crime.” “The Blacklist” will return for its ninth season (sans longtime star Megan Boone) on Thursday, Oct. 21, taking over what would have been the “For the Defense” timeslot.