Anyone with a television and a pulse knows what comes after Law & Order’s famous DUN DUN. At this point, 27 years since the premiere of the first iteration of Dick Wolf’s legendary franchise, the chimes practically elicit a Pavlovian response. While some spin-offs have been dead on arrival (Looking at you, L&O: Trial By Jury), Law & Order: SVU is the only series still on air, but the original still holds the record for longest running one-hour drama with 20 seasons when NBC made the catastrophic mistake of canceling it in 2010 — a record SVU is set to break next year.
Over the past 30 plus years, Wolf has created his own little “Tommy Westphall Universe,” with crossovers between franchises and even other series that Wolf worked on in the early ‘80s, such as Hill Street Blues and Homicide: Life on the Street. With such a rich, layered history, it’s no surprise that L&O super fans have taken to showing their devotion to the groundbreaking series in their body art. Last year, a Louisiana man’s L&O tramp stamp went viral, featuring the iconic text that closes out every episode that reads “Executive Producer Dick Wolf.”
Olivia Benson, Mariska Hargitay’s badass detective, is by far the most popular character, with Ice-T’s Detective Odafin Tutuola and Sam Waterston’s DA Jack McCoy tying for a close second. Personally, I’m more of a Lenny Briscoe fan myself (RIP Jerry Orbach), but even Elliot Stabler, Olivia’s former partner and excessive force enthusiast, has his champions.
Over the years, the franchise has become notorious for its hard-boiled ripped from the headlines dramas and the gripping character development of the detectives and DAs who hold down the show. Lousy with guest stars and practically a rite of passage for New York actors, Law & Order is the OG Grandad of the modern American procedural. Who gives a shit about Jerry Bruckheimer or Navy-centric crimes? Oh, you have a quirky lab tech? Get out of here with that nonsense. Horatio Caine’s stupid sunglasses don’t have shit on Jack McCoy’s motorcycle and surprisingly sexy dad jeans.
Jokes aside, Law & Order is the best show on television — the original, SVU, and Criminal Intent are all in syndication and literally always on at least one channel. We applaud any and all efforts to memorialize this revolutionary franchise. God bless Dick Wolf.
Make sure to follow all of these tattooists on Instagram. If you also love L&O, go out and get a portrait of Benson, Stabler, or Bristoe to show that you’re a fan of the show.