Law & Order: UK

Law & Order: UK
Law & Order- UK title.svg
Title card
Format Live-action
Created by Dick Wolf
Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by James Strong
Andy Goddard
Creative director(s) Jane Featherstone
Starring Bradley Walsh
Paul Nicholls
Harriet Walter
Dominic Rowan
Freema Agyeman
Peter Davison
Jamie Bamber
Ben Daniels
Bill Paterson
Composer(s) Andy Price
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 39 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Chris Chibnall
Andrew Woodhead
Stephen Garrett[1]
Producer(s) Richard Stokes
Location(s) London, United Kingdom
Running time 45 minutes (without adverts)
Production company(s) Kudos Film and Television
Wolf Films
Universal Television
Original channel ITV (ITV1/STV/UTV)
Original run 23 February 2009 (2009-02-23) – present
Related shows Law & Order (franchise)
External links

Law & Order: UK is a British police procedural and legal television programme, adapted from the American series Law & Order. The programme is financed by the production companies Kudos Film and Television, Wolf Films, and Universal Media Studios.[1] Head writer Chris Chibnall based the first series of episodes on scripts and episodes of the parent series. Based in London, and following the formula of the original, Law & Order: UK stars Bradley Walsh, Paul Nicholls, Harriet Walter, Dominic Rowan, Freema Agyeman and Peter Davison. Law & Order: UK became the first American drama television series to be adapted for British television.[2]



"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police who investigate crime, and the Crown Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

          —Opening narration spoken by Robert Glenister.

Law & Order: UK is a foreign adaptation of the Law & Order franchise, one of the most successful brands in American primetime television.[1] Law & Order: UK is based in London and duplicates the episode format of the original series. The first half focuses on the perpetration of a crime and the related police investigation typically culminating in an arrest, while the second half follows the legal and court proceedings in an effort to convict the suspect.[3] The show dwells little on the characters' back-stories or social lives, focusing mainly on their lives at work.[4]


One of the distinguishing features of Law & Order is a black-and-white intertitle card, which gives the description of the time, date and setting of each scene. This intertitle is the first title from "Care".

Law & Order: UK was first imagined by franchise creator Dick Wolf in 2000, however, at the time, no network was willing to pick up a pilot for the series.[5] However, Wolf managed to attract scriptwriter Chris Chibnall, who had previously worked on Torchwood, Life on Mars and Born and Bred, to write a series of thirteen adaptions from the original Law & Order series. Wolf then asked Chibnall to look through the Law & Order Bible, a book released in the United States containing a collection of synopses for every episode. As such, he picked 13 episodes which could adapted for British television, watched the originals on DVD, and then wrote the adaptations to accommodate contractual requirements with production company Kudos, and to build on the show's reputation of successful storytelling. Subsequently, the series was picked up by ITV. One of the episodes Chibnall adapted, however, had to be scrapped due to incompatability with English Law, resulting in a a different episode being adapted.[6] Wolf then attracted producer Richard Stokes to the series, however, he stated that a thirteen-episode series would be too long for broadcast on British television, and thus, he separated the thirteen scripts into two separate series. Dick Wolf, however, objected to this, claiming that it wouldn't be an issue, as each season in the United States contains 22 episodes per season. Wolf pushed ITV for more episodes per series, however, his attempt was unsuccessful. Each of the thirteen scripts were updated for contemporariness, and while the difficulties of adapting the scripts for the English legal system exceeded the expectations of the production team, Stokes opined that audiences familiar with both shows would enjoy them for their distinctions. Further series have continued to adapt scripts from the original Law & Order series. Many of the familiar hallmarks of the original Law & Order series were carried through into the adaptation, including the styling of the opening music, black-and-white intertitles, using Wolf's signature cash register sound, and hand-held camera work. Stokes later expressed his praise for the Kudos' method of "guerrilla filming" on the streets of London.[7] Wolf later described the biggest difference between the two series as the wigs, claiming, "The law is not really that dissimilar and, you know, murder is murder."[8]


Originally comissioned as a single series of thirteen episodes, episodes 1-7 were transmitted as series one, broadcast in 2009, and episodes 8-13 were transmitted as series two, broadcast in 2010. A second run of thirteen episodes was comissioned in 2010, with episodes 1-7 being transmitted as series three, broadcast in 2010, and episodes 8-13 being transmitted as series four, broadcast in 2011. A third run of thirteen episodes was comissioned in October 2010, with episodes 1-6 being transmitted as series five, broadcast in 2011, and episodes 7-13 being transmitted as series six, due to be broadcast in 2012. In Canada and the United States, each thirteen episode run is transmitted as a single season, meaning a total of three seasons have been broadcast thus far.[9]


Filming on the first series of Law & Order: UK began in January 2008, [10] and at the time, discrepencies were identified by cast member Jamie Bamber, who in an interview with Variety magazine, claimed "if things are to continue the way they do, it's likely we won't get a second series.zine as to the possibility of a second series.[11] However, ITV comissioned a further thirteen episodes, and filming began in the third quarter of 2009.[12] These episodes were subsequently broadcast from 9 September 2010.[13] For the Law part of the series, frequent filming on-location around London takes place, while for the Order part, filming around the exterior of the Old Bailey takes place concurrently on Sundays. Filming of the courtroom interior, police station office and the Crown Prosecution Service office takes place on a specially built set on disused Ministry of Defence base in Qinetiq,[14] based near the M25 motorway in Surrey.[15] The police station set was specifically designed with an eye for realism; with personal items on each of the desks, and an ironing board and clean shirts being placed around for the eventuality of police officers heading to court. The campus of University College London, including the main quadrant and the cloisters, was used for the basis of filming for scenes due to be aired in series six.[16]


The main cast of Law & Order: UK from Series 1–4
The new cast of Law & Order: UK's Order half Series 5-
Dominic Rowan and Peter Davison
Name Portrayed by Occupation Series
1 2 3 4 5 6
Ronnie Brooks Bradley Walsh Senior Detective Sergeant Main
Matt Devlin Jamie Bamber Junior Detective Sergeant
Sam Casey Paul Nicholls Junior Detective Sergeant Main
Natalie Chandler Harriet Walter Detective Inspector Main
James Steele Ben Daniels Senior Crown Prosecutor
Jacob Thorne Dominic Rowan Senior Crown Prosecutor Main
Alesha Phillips Freema Agyeman Junior Crown Prosecutor Main
George Castle Bill Paterson Director of CPS London
Henry Sharpe Peter Davison Director of CPS London Main


In the United Kingdom, Law & Order: UK is broadcast on ITV1. In Ireland, TV3 broadcasts each episode a day after the British airing, however, the series is billed as Law and Order: London to distinguish itself from the original American series.[17] In Canada, Citytv began broadcasting the series on 11 June 2009.[18] In Australia, Network Ten began broadcasting the series in August 2009.[19][20] The series also broadcasts in France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and New Zealand.[21] In the United States, the series began broadcasting on BBC America on 3 October 2010, and since, all six series have been shown back to back.[22][23]

Country Network(s) Series 1
(episodes 1–7)
Series 2
(episodes 8–13)
Series 3
(episodes 14–20)
Series 4
(episodes 21–26)
Series 5
(episodes 27–32)
Series 6
(episodes 33–39)
Australia Network 10 12 August 2009 12 August 2011
Brazil A&E 3 March 2010 21 April 2010 22 September 2010 10 November 2010
Canada Citytv 11 June 2009 30 July 2009 16 September 2010 4 November 2010[24][25]
Finland YLE TV1 6 September 2009
Denmark TV 2 June 2011 August 2011
France TF1, 13ème Rue 6 June 2010
Germany Fox Channel 4 February 2010 25 March 2010 5 May 2011 23 June 2011
Ireland TV3 24 February 2009
Italy Fox Crime 14 March 2011
Netherlands NET 5 23 October 2009
New Zealand TV1 27 September 2009
Portugal AXN TBC
South Africa SET TV 7 October 2010
Sweden Sjuan 30 June 2010
UK ITV1, STV (in Scotland) 23 February 2009 11 January 2010 9 September 2010 7 March 2011[26] 10 July 2011 28 February 2012
USA BBC America 3 October 2010 19 November 2010 14 January 2011 4 March 2011 17 August 2011 28 September 2011


Independent writer Robin Jarossi attended a special preview of the premiere episode at the British Film Institute in London on 5 February 2009. Jarossi praised the uniquely British take on the franchise for balancing the new vision while maintaining the proven Law & Order formula. Jarossi specifically extolled the unexpected casting of Bradley Walsh, the excellent use of their London backdrop, and Chibnall's adaptation of the show.[27] John Boland of the Irish Independent compared Law & Order: UK to the original, ultimately deciding that the former is just as engrossing as the latter, if its tone is slightly more jocular. Boland expects ITV "has a winner on it's hands."[28] Andrew Billen from The Times expects the series to be successful based on the premiere episode,[29] and TV Times said that "those concerned can give themselves a pat on the back because this really, really works."[30] The Daily Express' Matt Baylis described the new series as "a breath of fresh air", and the Daily Mirror said "It’s all highly professional and heroic."[2] Variety magazine called the series a hit, quoting NBC Universal as saying, "'Law and Order' has won it's slot every week and is actually increasing it's ratings." While Radio Times reviewer Alison Graham felt the series' execution was adequate, she criticised its pacing and writing; the former for not matching that of the original Law & Order programmes, and the latter for "falling headfirst into a typically British legal-drama trap of the noble prosecutor, crusading to bring the guilty to justice while pitted against the louche, self-serving defence barrister."[31] Whereas, on the other hand, The Guardian's Sarah Dempster didn't feel that using the original series' camera work and stylings was appropriate for British crime drama: "Fiddly. And wrong.".[2] However, later on in the series' run The Observer's Kathryn Flytt writes that despite her initial prejudices, the series "seems to have absorbed the pace and energy of the original without looking too tricksily derivative".[32] In Australia, Melinda Houston commented favourably in The Age on the show's opening series, opining that the fusion between British crime drama and the US Law & Order franchise is like "a match made in heaven."[33] The premiere episode which aired on 12 August 2009, only rated 775,000 viewers, and was outside the top 15 rated shows for that period.[34]

Home Releases

Region 2

DVD Volume Release Date Episodes Additional Features
Series 1
(Episodes 1-7)
11 January 2010 7
  • Audio Commentary ("Care")
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scenes
  • Alternate Beginning ("Care")
  • Summing Up ("Vice")
  • CPS Set Tour
  • Interview with Jamie Bamber
  • Interview with Chris Chibnall
  • Interview with Bradley Walsh
  • Interview with Dick Wolf
Series 2
(Episodes 8-13)
22 February 2010 6
  • Audio Commentaries ("Samaritan", "Honour Bound")
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scenes
  • Police Set Tour
  • Interview with Harriet Walter
  • Interview with Richard Stokes
  • Interview with Robert Glenister
Series 3
(Episodes 14-20)
7 March 2011[35] 7
  • Audio Commentary ("Masquerade")
  • From Dawn 'Til Dusk: Featurette
Series 4
(Episodes 21-26)
11 July 2011[36] 6
  • Audio Commentary ("Help")
  • Gag Reel
Series 1-4 (Episodes 1-26) 11 July 2011 26
  • Interview with Freema Agyeman
  • Interview with Ben Daniels
  • Interview with Bill Paterson
  • Interview with Harriet Walter
  • Interview with Jamie Bamber
  • Interview with Bradley Walsh
  • Interview with Richard Stokes
  • Wardrobe Tour with Freema Agyeman
  • Tour Of Court Set with Freema Agyeman
Series 5
(Episodes 27-32)
16 January 2012[37] 6 TBA

Region 1

DVD title Release date Episodes Additional information
Series One
(Episodes 1-13)
26 October 2010 13
  • Audio Commentaries ("Care", "Samaritan" &
    "Honour Bound")
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scenes
  • Alternate Beginning ("Care")
  • Summing Up ("Vice")
  • CPS Set Tour
  • Police Set Tour
  • Interview with Jamie Bamber
  • Interview with Chris Chibnall
  • Interview with Bradley Walsh
  • Interview with Dick Wolf
  • Interview with Harriet Walter
  • Interview with Richard Stokes
  • Interview with Robert Glenister
Series Two
(Episodes 14-26)
22 November 2011[38] 13
  • Audio Commentaries ("Masquerade" & "Help")
  • From Dawn 'Till Dusk: Featurette
  • Gag Reel


  1. ^ a b c "The cream of British acting talent comes together for Law & Order:UK". United Kingdom: ITV. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Braxton, Greg (11 March 2009). "'Law and Order' gets an Old Bailey twist". The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington, USA: The McClatchy Company). Retrieved 12 March 2009. [dead link][dead link]
  3. ^ Wilkes, Neil (15 December 2008). "2009 TV Preview: Law & Order UK". Digital Spy. United Kingdom: Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Jamie's new show 'a moral puzzle'" (in British English) (Reprint). The Press Association. United Kingdom: Google News. 16 February 2009. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
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  9. ^ "ITV commissions 13 new episodes of Law & Order: UK". 18 October 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Cast announced for Law & Order: UK". ITV. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2009. 
  11. ^
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  19. ^ Law & Order: UK - Network Ten, Network Ten
  20. ^ Law & Order: UK premieres 12 August, tvauscast ,28 July 2009
  21. ^ ""Law & Order : UK" prochainement sur TF1 ! - News - AlloCiné". Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Seidman, Robert (16 September 2010). "BBC America Brings ‘Law & Order: UK’ Home to the US In October". Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  23. ^ "BBC America To Air Law & Order: UK (chung CHUNG!) « Spinoff Online – Covering TV, Film and Entertainment News Daily". 16 September 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  24. ^ " TV Listings - Law & Order: UK: Denial". Zap2it. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  25. ^ "CITYTV CALGARY 2010 - PROGRAM SCHEDULE WHAT'S ON - Thursday, November 04, 2010". Citytv. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  26. ^ "Bradley Walsh Website - New Series 4 broadcast in UK". United Kingdom. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  27. ^ Jarossi, Robin (6 February 2009). [ "Law & Order: UK Review Episode 1"]. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Media Inc. Retrieved 16 February 2009. "ITV1 Succeeds with London Version of US Prime-time hit" 
  28. ^ Boland, John (28 February 2009). "You have the right to remain brilliant...". Irish Independent (Dublin: Independent News & Media). Retrieved 16 March 2010. "I found this first UK instalment just as engrossing as its American counterpart, with Bradley Walsh an engaging London version of Jerry Orbach and Bill Paterson a striking crown prosecutor. Yet the overall tone is subtly different, a bit more jokey and a bit more sentimental, too, as evidenced in the somewhat treacly score and in some forced attempts at poignancy. But the action moves along smartly and i'll be surprised if ITV doesn't have a winner on it's hands here." 
  29. ^ Andrew Billen (24 February 2009). "Law & Order; The Real Casino Royale; Maradona - In the Hands of the Gods". Times Online. 
  30. ^ "THE CRITICS AND THE AUDIENCE LOVE LAW & ORDER: UK". Universal-Playback. Universal Studios. 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  31. ^ Graham, Alison. "Law & Order: UK — Monday 23 February — Programme Details — Radio Times". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 February 2009. 
  32. ^ Flett, Kathryn (5 April 2009). "Sing a song of British drama". The Observer (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 16 March 2010. "I am, rather quietly and, until now, a tiny bit secretly, enjoying the British franchise of Law and Order despite having decided in advance that it would translate badly, because the Americans do this kind of pacy plot-twisting so much better than we do. Law and Order UK has a great cast and seems to have absorbed the pace and energy of the original without looking too tricksily derivative." 
  33. ^ Melinda, Houston (12 August 2009). "TV highlights, August 12". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 16 March 2010. "It's all been tweaked just enough to be refreshing, not enough to be alienating. Plus, of course, it brings together two great television traditions: the large and distinguished school of British crime drama and the venerable 20-year history of the Law & Order franchise. It looks—and feels—like a match made in heaven." 
  34. ^ Seven - Daily Ratings Report, eNews, 13 August 2009
  35. ^ "Law & Order: UK - Series 3 (2 Discs) - DVDs at (UK)". Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  36. ^ "DVDs". Bradley Walsh. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  37. ^
  38. ^

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