NBC is officially getting in on the true crime anthology genre. The network has handed out an eight episode series order to Law & Order: True Crime, an anthology series, in a similar vein to FX’s Amertcan Crime Story, that will dramatise a different true crime story each season.
The show’s debut run, subtitled The Menendez Murders, will tell the story of Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted of murdering their parents and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1996. The brothers, who were 21 and 18 years old, respectively, at the time of the murders, were tried separately but eventually found guilty in a third trial after no verdicts were rendered in the first two trials because of hung juries.
In addition to landing an official series pick up, True Crime has also found a showrunner. Law & Order veteran Rene Balcer, who served in the same capacity on Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order Los Angeles, has now come on-board as executive producer and showrunner. Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney will also serve as executive producers. Universal Television is the studio.
“Rene and I have been working together over the past three decades and he is one of a handful of truly great showrunners with whom I’ve worked”, Law & Order franchise creator Dick Wolf said in a statement. “Law & Order won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series under his watch.”
Law & Order: True Crime has been in the works for several months, with NBC putting into development shortly after the similarly themed American Crime Story wrapped its first season, focussing on the OJ Simpson trial, on FX back in April. NBC had long wanted to once again expand the Law & Order franchise, first with a revival of the original series, but when that fell through they opted to pursue True Crime.