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After decades of Law & Order shows that “ripped” their stories from the headlines, Dick Wolf is ready for a change. Enter Law & Order True Crime, a franchise in the making that will feature stories “taken” from the headlines. That’s how the mega-producer broke things down at today’s Law & Order True Crime: Menendez Brothers panel at the Television Critics Association press tour. If you don’t see the distinction, Wolf made it clear that this new series, which stars Gus Halper and Miles Gaston Villanueva as the convicted siblings, ”is unique for [him].”

Wolf and his True Crime partner, Rene Balcer, described the challenges the Menendez brothers faced when they were tried 25 years ago, but don’t see that much of a resemblance to the current standard bearer for true crime shows, FX’s American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson. But they did recognize that there’s a significant interest in these types of shows right now, though Wolf had a world-weary view of this spike. “They’re going to watch if they like it, “ Wolf said (and though we were thousands of miles away at the time, we could practically hear him shrug). Regardless of whether the time is opportune, he thinks Menendez Brothers will hit the “bulls-eye,” because “it has got love, lust, lying, cheating—basically all seven deadly sins in one place.”


If he turns out to be right, Wolf sees running these kinds of stories for years, telling critics that the possibilities are “endless if you get the right cases.” As to which heinous crimes he’d like to dramatize sooner than later, Wolf gave Deadline a list that includes the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, David “Son Of Sam” Berkowitz, and Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker. Wolf’s small-screen proliferation remained a topic of converation; when a critic referred to his “bottomless pit of programming for NBC,” the Chicago franchise founder said he “[hopes] it continues.”

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