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Law & Order Season 21 Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

In 1990, NBC debuted "Law & Order," a crime drama from writer and creator Dick Wolf that not only set the bar for other procedurals to follow but also led to the creation of an impressive franchise. "Law & Order" presented a unique set-up where the first half had police investigate a crime while the second half involved attorneys prosecuting criminals in the courtroom. The show lasted until May 2010, when NBC chose to cancel it abruptly after 20 seasons.

The cancellation came as a disappointing surprise for one of the longest-running television series in history. Yet, while the franchise has continued to thrive thanks to spin-offs like "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," it looks like the main series is readying for a return. Via The Hollywood Reporter, "Law & Order" is coming back to NBC. And this isn't being officially listed as a reboot of the original show. "Law & Order" will continue with its 21st season after being away for so many years.

Here's everything that we know so far.

When is the release date for Law & Order Season 21?

Unfortunately, there isn't an official release date for "Law & Order" Season 21, which makes sense as many details surrounding the surprise return of what was once NBC's main crime drama are scarce at the moment. It's possible that NBC may have plans to air the show during Thursday nights, nested somehow between its sibling shows "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Organized Crime." Both spinoffs have proven themselves able to draw in solid ratings when shown together. Variety reported that the recent season premieres of "Law & Order SVU" and "Law & Order: Organized Crime " drew approximately 5.14 million viewers in September.

However, it seems unlikely that the return of "Law & Order" will occur in 2021 because both spinoffs are now running their current seasons. Perhaps to ensure an enormous impact, NBC could likely wait until 2022 for the show's 21st season to happen. This could coincide with the next-season premieres of "SVU" and "Organized Crime" and produce a special crossover episode event. After all, crossovers are a familiar occurrence in the "Law & Order" franchise to the point where even the "One Chicago" Shows have linked themselves to "SVU" on occasion.

Who is the cast for Law & Order Season 21?

So far, the cast for "Law & Order" Season 21 has not been officially revealed yet. Deadline reported that the show is planning to bring back some of the series' cast, but it's currently unknown who plans on returning. During its long tenure on NBC, "Law & Order" had a number of actors who left, but it also brought in new blood. If "Law & Order" roughly continues where it left off, we could see some returns or appearances from those who were with the show in Season 20. This includes actors like Jeremy Sisto, S. Epatha Merkerson, Linus Roache, and Sam Waterson.

It's also possible that the 21st season could include a cast of old favorites who left the series long before its finale. This could mean appearances from actors like Chris Noth and Jesse L. Martin. One person we do know involved with the show's return is frequent Dick Wolf collaborator Rick Eid. His credits include writing numerous episodes for the "Law & Order" franchise and serving as showrunner for "Chicago P.D." Via The Hollywood Reporter, Eid will be the "Law & Order" showrunner.

What is the plot of Law & Order Season 21?

The official plot synopsis of "Law & Order" Season 21 has not been stated yet. But if we can take any plot details from what's been revealed, fans probably already have a sense of what to expect. Via Deadline, the show's new season will take an "if it's not broke, don't fix it approach. That means "Law & Order" may still feature officers and attorneys handling criminal cases that are probably directly influenced by real-life occurrences found in today's news. And the show will likely continue to follow its traditional format of an investigation in the first part before switching to drama in the courthouse.

What is interesting about the potential plot of Season 21 is how the series premiere handles coming back after over a decade away. "Law & Order" didn't specifically get a proper series finale episode. It ended on Season's 20's finale "Rubber Room," which had the cast dealing with a dangerous blogger threatening to attack a school. The episode also concluded with Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) receiving some good news about her cervical cancer going into remission. But the Season 20 finale was never initially planned to be the end of "Law & Order," as news of its cancellation occurred weeks before the airing of "Rubber Room" (via The Wrap). It's going to be interesting how the plot addresses all that time away.