With the original Law & Order set to join SVU and Organized Crime on Thursday nights beginning February 24, the cast of the returning franchise-starter continues to take shape. Deadline Hollywood is reporting exclusively that Camryn Manheim (The Practice) has joined the cast of the 21st season. Manheim's Lt. Kate Dixon is a successor to Lt. Anita Van Buren (originally played by S. Epatha Merkerson, who now stars on NBC's Chicago Med). Also set to appear in the series' return are Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) as an NYPD detective, Anthony Anderson (black-ish) reprising his role as Det. Kevin Bernard, and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) as an assistant district attorney. Dick Wolf and showrunner Rick Eid will executive produce the new season alongside Wolf Entertainment's Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski; Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group) will produce in association with Wolf Entertainment. Reportedly, the series has been reaching out to other past L&O cast members about the possibility of them appearing, with Sam Waterston's Jack McCoy at the top of the list.
"There are very few things in life that are literally 'dreams come true'. This is mine," said Wolf in a statement when the news was first announced. Rumors of the franchise's return began shortly after word came down that NBC wasn't moving forward with legal drama spinoff Law & Order: For the Defense. "'Law & Order' is quite simply one of the most iconic shows in television history, and the idea of continuing its legacy and partnering with Dick on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating. This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere," said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming in their statement on Tuesday. "The return of the flagship 'Law & Order' series for a pivotal 21st season is a proud moment for Dick and a proud moment for us, his studio partners," added Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group, in their statement.