NBC, Dick Wolf Tackle True Crime With ‘Law & Order’ Spinoff

Dick Wolf, creative force behind NBC’s Law & Order and Chicago crime drama franchises, is developing the first installment of a new anthology series, Law & Order: True Crime—The Menendez Brothers Murders, which will take Law & Order into dramatizing true stories for the first time.

The eight-episode anthology series will focus on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted of murdering their parents and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1996. The brothers were 21 and 18 years old, respectively, at the time of the murders.

Home in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989, Jose Menendez, a movie executive, was shot in the head while Kitty Menendez was found by police with bullet holes throughout her body. After spending lavishly for six months following the murders, both brothers were arrested by police.

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“We’ve been talking with Dick about how to create an event series coming out of the Law & Order ripped-from-the-headlines brand. This case captured the public’s attention like nothing before it as it examined taboo issues such as patricide and matricide in gruesome detail, all against a backdrop of privilege and wealth,” said Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertainment. “We will recreate the cultural and societal surroundings of both the murders and trials when people were not only obsessed with the case but examining how and why these brothers committed these heinous crimes.”  

Wolf will executive produce through Wolf Entertainment in association with Universal Television.

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“Bob [Greenblatt, entertainment chairman], Jen and I have been focused the natural evolution of the Law & Order brand for the last several years and are excited to extend the franchise with a scripted limited anthology series that focuses on a high-profile trial,” said Wolf. “There is no shortage of compelling real-life criminal cases, and the Menendez trial was more scintillating than most crime fiction.”

FX, for one, has found a hit in true crime with its The People. v. O.J. Simpson limited series, which concluded April 5.  

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.