Law & Order: Why Dick Wolf Isn't Afraid Of Running Out Of Ideas

Since 1990, theĀ "Law & Order" franchise has been a constant fixture on television screens. From the long-running original series to the abundance of spin-offs, it's proven to be a golden goose for NBC that shows no signs of slowing down. That said, do the creators of the crime drama ever worry about running out of ideas?

Dick Wolf was asked this very question in an interview with Movieweb, and he revealed why "Law & Order" will always find new stories to tell. The creator and superproducer said that the franchise will always be topical as the writers only have to pick up a newspaper on any given day to find inspiration from a story about a real-life crime. When the original series was commissioned back in the day, Wolf told then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff that the New York Post would serve as the show's bible, and it's been a useful guide for over three decades. "And it has not been a bad piece of source material because, you know, for better or worse we can't come up with stories better than a headless body found in a topless bar," Wolf said.

However, while Wolf and his team are inspired by real-life crimes, they still try to bring their own spins to the cases depicted in each episode.

Law & Order is inspired by the news, but only the headlines

When it comes to mining the tabloids for "Law & Order" ideas, Dick Wolf has said that he and the other creators are only interested in the headlines. They try to avoid dramatizing the specifics of the stories in question, and instead, try to capture their flavors while adding fresh ingredients to the mix.

Of course, "Law & Order" episodes have attracted comparisons to real-life news stories. In the same interview with Movieweb, Wolf recalled drawing criticism from a reporter who claimed that one episode trashed the governors of Jersey and Connecticut, as it was clearly based on a pair of real politicians from those states who had been in the news for scandals. However, while Wolf acknowledged that the episode drew inspiration from these cases, it was still very different. "I said yeah, but the reality is that none of [the politicians] were killed. You know, there was no murder involved in either state so that's a major difference right there. You know, it would be we love the flavor of stories but not the specificity."

This approach has served Wolf and the gang well for over 30 years, and "Law & Order" will likely continue for as long as crime and scandals exist in the real world.