Law & Order: Trial by Jury: Wikis


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Law & Order: Trial by Jury
Law and Order TBJ title card.jpg
Format Legal Drama
Created by Dick Wolf
Starring Bebe Neuwirth
Amy Carlson
Kirk Acevedo
Scott Cohen
Fred Thompson
Jerry Orbach
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Running time 42 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original run March 3, 2005 (2005-03-03) – January 21, 2006 (2006-01-21)
Related shows Law & Order
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Paris enquêtes criminelles
Law & Order: UK

Law & Order: Trial by Jury was an American television drama about criminal trials set in New York City. It was the third spin-off from the long-running Law & Order. The show's almost exclusive focus was on the criminal trial of the accused, showing both the prosecution's and defense's preparation for trial, as well as the trial itself. The series premiered on Thursday, March 3, 2005, and aired its series finale on Friday, May 6, 2005. Its regular time slot was Fridays 10/9 p.m. ET on NBC. An additional episode aired on Court TV (now truTV) after the series' cancellation.



The following statement, narrated by Steven Zirnkilton, is spoken at the beginning of nearly every episode:

In the criminal justice system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, either by confession, plea bargain, or trial by jury. This is one of those trials.

Unlike the other Law & Order series, Trial By Jury shows what it is like to prepare for and try a criminal case. The episodes usually start with a witness or victim telling a story about a crime that has already occurred. This story is used to inform the audience on what happened prior to the beginning of the episode. This is a departure from the other three Law & Order shows, which usually start off showing the audience the actual crime. The show progresses on from that point, showing how both sides develop their strategies for winning the case.

The prosecution's preparation usually includes scenes where their investigators go out and follow up on leads and interview witnesses. The defense's preparation varies from episode to episode, running the gamut from testing arguments in front of jury focus groups to dealmaking between co-defendants. Each episode has several trial scenes, with both sides examining witnesses and giving arguments. There are also several pre-trial meetings where some procedural issue is argued and ruled on. In addition, there are a few episodes showing jury deliberation. The show develops the judges as characters, showing scenes of them conferring with each other and reusing the same judges in multiple episodes.


The original cast of Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005); from left, Amy Carlson, Bebe Neuwirth, Fred Thompson, Jerry Orbach, and Kirk Acevedo.

Main crew


Season Ratings Network
1 2005-2006 12.2 million NBC

The 12 aired episodes got an average of 12.2 million ratings which actually beat its rival, Numb3rs, that season which received 10.77 million views.


NBC announced on May 16, 2005 that Trial by Jury would not be returning for the 2005-2006 fall television season. The rival CBS procedural NUMB3RS debuted in the midseason in late January 2005 and consistently beat NBC's Medical Investigation in the ratings, sending the latter show into hiatus and eventual cancellation and freeing up the time slot for Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Despite Trial by Jury 's pedigree, NUMB3RS' ratings remained strong, often beating Trial by Jury in both overall and key demographic ratings.[1] Most insiders agree that Orbach's death may have been a contributing cause to the series' inability to attract viewers, similar to that of Phil Hartman's death and the subsequent end to NewsRadio.

Trial by Jury is the first written series of the Law & Order franchise to be cancelled (the very first was Crime & Punishment, however it was a reality series, not a scripted one), although TV Guide reported at one point that NBC had reconsidered its decision and would pick up the series once again, or hand it off to Turner Network Television (which also airs reruns of the original series). The sets were reused by a series Wolf produced for NBC entitled Conviction which premiered Friday, March 3, 2006, lasting only one season before cancellation. In an October 2005 interview with the Associated Press, Wolf stated that NBC had assured him Trial by Jury would return for the fall of 2005 but had "blindsided" him by canceling it instead.

Court TV (now TruTV) re-aired the entire series, including the episode "Eros In The Upper Eighties", which never aired on NBC before the show's cancellation.

DVD release

On April 25, 2006, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released Law & Order: Trial by Jury- The complete series on DVD in Region 1.[2]

DVD name Ep # Release date Additional information
Law & Order: Trial by Jury - The Complete Series 14 April 25, 2006
  • Cross-over episode "Night" from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "A Different Look at Law & Order"


  • On November 26, 2008, TNT re-aired the episode "Skeleton".
  • Jerry Orbach's final onscreen appearance is in the episode "Forty-One Shots". Orbach was so ill at the time that he could barely speak above a whisper. Thus his final line of dialogue had to be rewritten; at the trial of a cop-killer, NYPD members had been barred from the courtroom, and they were waiting outside with Lennie Briscoe. After Lennie (peering in through the door) learned of the guilty verdict, he turned and whispered to the cops "They got him!".
  • Scott Cohen was credited as a Guest Appearance for Episodes 3 and 4.
  • This is one of eight series in which the character Det. John Munch, played by Richard Belzer, has appeared. The other seven are Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, The X-Files, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Beat, Arrested Development and The Wire.
  • Jerry Orbach (Det. Lennie Briscoe), Jesse L. Martin (Det. Ed Green), Fred Thompson (Arthur Branch), Leslie Hendrix (Elizabeth Rodgers), and Carolyn McCormick (Dr. Elizabeth Olivet) are the only actors to play the same character on all four "Law & Order" series (Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Trial by Jury).
  • The fifth episode of the series, "Baby Boom," was dedicated to the memory of Jerry Orbach. At the end, the message "For Jerry" appears.
  • The one remaining unaired episode after cancellation, "Eros in the Upper Eighties," was aired as the series finale on Australia's Network 10, and aired in the US on Court TV on January 21, 2006. (It was also a part of the DVD release of the entire series on April 25, 2006). A then-current rumor stated that the episode would mention Lennie Briscoe's death, as it was the last one filmed before Jerry's passing. This rumor turned out to be false (although an unused scene shown in a "behind the scenes" feature on the DVD shows the main cast discussing what appears to be Briscoe's death from some kind of illness that he "never talked about".)
  • Jerry Orbach and Bebe Neuwirth both performed in the Broadway musical Chicago - Orbach as Billy Flynn in the original 1975 run, and Neuwirth as Velma Kelly in the 1997 revival (she also played Roxie Hart in a brief run in early 2007).
  • The show's theme song is now being used on original episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent that air on the USA Network.

Crossover episodes

There were 2 two-part crossover episodes:

  • "Tombstone" (Law & Order 15x20), continued in "Skeleton" (Law & Order: Trial by Jury 1x8)
  • "Night" (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 6x20), continued in "Day" (Law & Order: Trial by Jury 1x11)

"Night" was included on the Law & Order: Trial By Jury DVD set. However, for unexplained reasons, "Tombstone" was not.

Related series


  1. ^ "Rumor: Harsh verdict for NBC's 'Trial by Jury' ". Retrieved 2005-05-13.  
  2. ^ Lambert, David (2006-01-17). "Law & Order: Trial by Jury – Jerry Orbach's Final Series Comes To DVD This Spring". Retrieved 2007-08-18.  

External links



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