5USA Acquires UK Rights To Short-Lived ‘Law & Order’ Spin-Off ‘Law & Order: LA’

Close to six years after the show was cancelled by NBC, Channel 5 has struck a deal with NBCUniversal International Distribution to acquire the short-lived Los Angeles set Law & Order spin-off Law & Order: LA for their digi-net 5USA, TVWise has learned.

Law & Order: LA fuses the classic ripped- from-the-headlines storytelling of the original series with the distinctive backdrop of L.A. The series follows cases investigated by Detectives Rex Winters and Tomas “TJ” Jaruszalski of the L.A.P.D.’s elite Robbery Homicide Division and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Ricardo Morales and Jonah Dekker.

The show, which lasted a mere 22 episodes, hailed from Wolf Films and Universal Media Studios (now known as Universal Television) and featured a cast that included Skeet Ulrich (Jericho), Corey Stoll (House Of Cards), Rachel Ticotin (NCIS: Los Angeles), Alfred Molina (Monday Mornings), Terrence Howard (Empire), Regina Hall (Ally McBeal) and Megan Boone (The Blacklist). Wolf, Rene Balcer, Blake Masters, Christopher Misiano and Peter Jankowski served as executive producers.

Originally titled Law & Order: Los Angeles, this spin-off had its share of problems in its short life-span. Following the cancellation of Law & Order, NBC rushed development on the project and, just as they had on previous spin-offs, bypassed the pilot process and instead went straight-to-series. That and less than stellar ratings forced a re-calibration half way through the show’s first season which saw Skeet Ulrich exit the show, while Alfred Molina’s character moved from the DA’s office to the LAPD. It was also at this point that Law & Order alum Alana de la Garza joined the main cast, reprising her role as prosecutor Connie Rubirosa. The changes failed to shore up ratings, however, and NBC ultimately pulled the plug in May 2011.

This is not the first time that Law & Order: LA has aired in the UK. NBCU’s flagship UK channel, Universal, previously acquired first window rights to the show out of their brand pledge to be the UK home to all new and returning Law & Order shows. Universal Channel aired Law & Order: LA back in 2011, close behind the U.S. broadcast on NBC. As a result of the aforementioned production problems, both NBC and Universal Channel aired several episodes out of their intended viewing order and it is not immediately clear if 5USA will do the same. Notably, the move to pick up Law & Order: LA comes just as a new Law & Order series, True Crime, is about to hit the international market at the upcoming LA Screenings.