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Say it ain’t so! Dick Wolf announced this month his award winning television series, Law & Order, would be signing off the air after the final episode in May 2010. For twenty years, we’ve watched interesting — even if there were sometimes Hollywood inspired — legal cases unfold on the NBC drama. Its series finale means it ties with Gunsmoke as the longest running drama series in television history. For many of us, it almost feels like the end of an era. We’ve been watching Jack McCoy (brilliantly brought to life by Sam Waterston) and his long list of assistant district attorneys longer than we have had children! Did you have a favorite? Maybe it was Abbie Carmichael (Angie Harmon) or Alexandra Borgia (Annie Parrise), who was brutally murdered while working on a case? And who could forget Lennie Briscoe, played by now deceased Jerry Orbach, who became symbolic with law enforcement in many ways and especially for those who have never met a real-life New York City detective; or District Attorney Arthur Branch, played by real life lawmaker Fred Thompson? A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and founder of, says while the cases were “ripped from the headlines”, the twist many of the cases took were entertaining, if not always realistic.

Through the eyes of the brilliant actors and superb writing, we saw the less than pleasant side of human nature — tax evaders who were serial killers, mothers who hid their children from fathers and rock stars who fell out of twenty story buildings — if you can imagine it, odds are, it was a plot on Law & Order at some point. This, says the founder, is what kept the storylines fresh and worked to keep us glued to the tube for two decades. So successful was the initial series that several spin off series were born, including Law & Order Special Victims Unit, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Law & Order Crime and Punishment and now, it appears there’s another spinoff headed for a television near you: Law & Order Los Angeles. For us die hard fans, it can’t come a moment too soon.

We had to know — does A. Harrison Barnes watch Law & Order? Chuckling, the lawyer and career coach admits he catches an episode from time to time, but is quick to point out real life, especially in the legal field, is unmatchable by anything Hollywood can create — even when it is the brilliant minds behind this successful series who write the story lines. “Real life tends to get in the way and prevents me from watching much television at all”, he says.

For now, we’re left with reruns, courtesy of syndication rights as well as the new episodes from the spin off series. Hopefully, by the time the holidays roll around, there’ll be a DVD collection with all twenty seasons for us die hard Law & Order fans who are still jonesin’ for that recognizable music that begins every episode.

And now, a moment of silence for the end of an era . . .

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