Deadline is reporting that longtime Law & Order veteran René Balcer will join NBC’s upcoming anthology series Law & Order: True Crime as writer, producer, and showrunner.
NBC originally ordered Law & Order: True Crime for development, ordering 8 episodes for the anthology based series. The series will focus on famous real-life criminal cases, similar to the format of FX’s American Crime Story.
Originally reported back in April, the first season of Law & Order: True Crime will be called The Mendez Brother Murders, focusing on brothers Lyle and Erik Mendez, who were convicted of the shotgun murders of their wealthy parents and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1996. The brothers were tried separately but eventually convicted in a third trial after no verdicts because of hung juries in the first two trials.
Fans of the Law & Order franchise should recognize the Balcer’s name – he was one of the original writers of the original series from 1999-2001, eventually climbing his way up the ladder the top to serve as the show’s executive producer and showrunner. He was nominated for 7 Emmy Awards, winning in 1997 for Best Drama series. In 2001, he developed the second Law & Order spin-off, Law & Order Criminal Intent, and served as showrunner and executive producer from 2001-2006. Balcer left Criminal Intent after the fifth season to take up the job as head writer & executive producer of the original Law & Order, although he remained as a consulting producer of Criminal Intent. Balcer served as showrunner with the original series from its 17th through its 20th Seasons. After the original series was cancelled, he was hired as showrunner of Law & Order: Los Angeles. When Los Angeles was cancelled, Balcer returned to write the series finale of Criminal Intent.
“René is one of the creative foundations of the Law & Order brand and we couldn’t be in better hands for ‘True Crime’ with Rene and Dick at the helm,” said Jennifer Salke, NBC’s President of NBC Entertainment.
Law & Order franchise developer Dick Wolf will executive produce Law & Order: True Crime through his production company, Wolf Entertainment.
“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 won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series under his watch,” said Wolf.
Longtime Law & Order executive producers Peter Jankowski and Arthur W. Forney will also join the production team.