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Whatever Happened To Law & Order: For The Defense?

When it comes to television spinoffs, NBC's "Law & Order" franchise is arguably the cream of the crop, with more than half-a-dozen projects getting put on TV or talked about over the past three decades.

As of right now, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Organized Crime" are the only two spinoffs left standing. The others that no longer air include "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order: LA," "Law & Order: UK," "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," and "Law & Order True Crime." Just last year, NBC announced plans to churn out yet another Dick Wolf joint called "Law & Order: For the Defense." But the series is nowhere to be found. So what happened to it?

According to the show's logline, viewers were supposed to be immersed into a world that focused on lawyers and the legal justice system, rather than the NYPD and police detectives like in shows' past. The logline said it would be "an unbiased look inside a criminal defense firm," and the show was reportedly picked up straight to series at NBC in May 2021 (via The Wrap). But fast-forward to this year, and fans still haven't gotten their courtroom drama. Here's what ultimately happened.

Law & Order: For the Defense got cancelled and replaced with a different spinoff

According to Deadline, NBC executives ultimately decided to scrap "Law & Order: For the Defense" last summer to instead focus on creating a different new series under the "Law & Order" banner. Sources said the decision was made because the network didn't want to do a legal drama. 

While "For the Defense" was still in the works, NBC reportedly planned to air it on Thursday nights — giving them a three-hour slate of "Law & Order" shows, with "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Organized Crime" airing as well. With its cancellation, "The Blacklist" now airs instead. It had previously been shown on Fridays. 

Overall, it's unclear whether NBC plans to follow through with its unnamed "Law & Order" spinoff that they were reportedly planning after "For the Defense." If that one gets scrapped, then it marks three different times in which "Law & Order" shows got cancelled before ever starting. "Law & Order: Hate Crimes" — which also got a straight-to-series order —  was the last series to go (via Deadline).