Law & Order (season 20)

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Law & Order (season 20)
LawAndOrder S20.jpg
Season 20 U.S. DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 23
Original network NBC
Original release September 25, 2009 (2009-09-25) – May 24, 2010 (2010-05-24)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 19
List of Law & Order episodes

The 20th and final season of Law & Order premiered on NBC on September 25, 2009, for which it was moved from its previous time slot to air on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET for the NBC broadcast.[1] L&O was moved to Monday nights on March 1, 2010 with a two-hour telecast at 9 p.m. ET, before settling into its new time slot at 10 p.m. the following week, March 8.[2]

During the season, The Jay Leno Show in primetime was cancelled and Leno returned to the 11:35 pm Tonight Show because of affiliate dissatisfaction. Three more episodes of Law & Order were ordered to fill the primetime gap, increasing the number of episodes for the season to 23.[3]

In early January 2010, NBC initially announced they were going to renew Law & Order a 21st season. NBC's President of Primetime Entertainment at the time, Angela Bromstad, said, "I’m a "Law & Order" junkie... I wouldn’t want to be responsible for not having "Law & Order" break the record."[4] However, on May 14, 2010, NBC abruptly cancelled Law & Order after 20 seasons on the air, tying it with Gunsmoke as American network television's longest-running, regularly scheduled primetime drama. The final episode aired on NBC on May 24, 2010.[5]

The late announcement of the cancellation resulted in Law & Order not having a "series finale" episode. Had the series continued, it would have been the last to feature S. Epatha Merkerson, who prior to the cancellation announcement had herself announced that she would not return for the 21st season.[6]

Although NBC cancelled Law & Order, AMC Network investigated its revival;[7] however, attempts to revive it failed, and according to series creator Dick Wolf, the series has now "moved to the history books".[8]


Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Notable guest stars[edit]

This season, Law & Order's notable guest stars included Annaleigh Ashford, Adam Driver, David Alan Basche, Ned Eisenberg, Camille Chen, John Bolger, Sean Nelson, Portia Reiners, Jim Gaffigan, Richard Thomas, Bill Sage, Deirdre O'Connell, Rob Corddry, Jenna Stern, Kate Burton, Elliott Gould, Raúl Esparza, Samantha Bee, Rebecca Creskoff, Aaron Shaw, Debra Winger, Adriane Lenox, Julito McCullum, Tammy Blanchard, Tony Hale, Tony Roberts, Robin Weigert, Mark Linn-Baker, Clea DuVall, Doug E. Doug, David Costabile, Anna Gunn, Lindsey Vonn, Kathy Baker, Ben Schnetzer, Jonathan Cake, Amy Madigan, Ernie Hudson, and Benjamin Bratt.


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
4341"Memo from the Dark Side"Fred BernerRené Balcer & Keith EisnerSeptember 25, 2009 (2009-09-25)200016.29[9]
When young war veteran Greg Tanner (Creighton James) is found murdered in a Hudson University parking garage, Detectives Cyrus Lupo and Kevin Bernard connect the murder to law professor Kevin Franklin (David Alan Basche), an attorney who formerly worked for the Department of Justice. But when the case is brought to court, it seems Tanner may have been more affected by the war than his discharge stated. Lupo and Bernard find that the pieces start to fit when Franklin's memos from the Bush Administration are leaked. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Van Buren announces some very shocking news to her squad, concerning her health, and District Attorney Jack McCoy deals with the stress of winning the election.
4352"Just a Girl in the World"M.T. AdlerRichard Sweren & Christopher AmbroseOctober 2, 2009 (2009-10-02)200026.68[10]

After crime scene unit investigator Daisy Chao (Jennifer Lim) is found murdered in her apartment, Detectives Lupo and Bernard suspect her fiance, Jim Anderson (Peter Scanavino), may not be telling the whole truth about his involvement with the murder. When young journalist Emma Kim (Camille Chen) is attacked by a cab driver, DNA found at both crime scenes seems to implicate the same man for the attacks. Lupo becomes personally involved with Emma, raising serious ethical questions and jeopardizing both the case and his career.

4363"Great Satan"Michael DinnerEd Zuckerman & Luke SchelhaasOctober 9, 2009 (2009-10-09)200037.23[11]
When an aspiring musician is found dead behind a trash can, Detectives Lupo and Bernard find a bag full of cash, leading them to a slew of suspects, including Don Sorenson (John Bolger). Sorenson confesses to shooting the musician when it is revealed that his daughter is thought kidnapped, but the clues don't seem to match up when his daughter, Jill Sorenson (Portia Reiners), appears back at home after losing her cell phone. Using the stolen cell phone as a guide, the detectives link the case with a bigger terrorist scheme, which could put lives in danger. Meanwhile, Lt. Van Buren begins to seek treatment for her cancer.
4374"Reality Bites"Constantine MakrisEd Zuckerman & Luke SchelhaasOctober 16, 2009 (2009-10-16)200047.60[12]
When Larry Johnson (Jim Gaffigan) drives home from picking up his adopted, physically disabled children from school, he discovers his wife's dead body on the floor of their home. Detectives Lupo and Bernard question Vaughn, who explains that he and his wife had adopted a child with special needs and felt it was their calling, so they adopted nine more children. While the detectives question the children for suspects and a motive, they uncover an affair and an offer for the Vaughn family to appear in a reality show, causing tension in the household and with another family, whose mother (Nina Lisandrello) has strong ambitions to be on the reality show.
4385"Dignity"Jim McKayRichard Sweren & Julie MartinOctober 23, 2009 (2009-10-23)200057.17[14]

When Doctor Walter Benning (Matthew Boston) is killed in church, Detectives Lupo and Kevin Bernard arrive at the scene and are informed a white male was seen fleeing in a dark sedan. The minister (Michael Hollick) tells the detectives that Dr. Benning was a late-term abortion doctor and had been shot at before and threatened many times, and his wife, Phyllis Benning (Tracy Sallows), is convinced it is a pro-life zealot who is responsible. While the detectives scan the several protester suspects, Lt. Van Buren gets more bad news and ADA Rubirosa faces a moral dilemma, causing tension among the team.

4396"Human Flesh Search Engine"Darnell MartinEd Zuckerman & Matthew McGoughOctober 30, 2009 (2009-10-30)200067.00[15]

When Sid Maxwell (René Ifrah), owner of a fashion company, is found dead, Detectives Lupo and Bernard assume asphyxia. But when fashion photographer Terry Clark (Jeremy Beiler) leads the detectives to an alarming discovery of Maxwell's true identity, they uncover a suspicious website with threatening web posts. Executive ADA Cutter takes on the operator of the website, Jim Leary (Rob Corddry), who is dedicated to righting social wrongs, after a delusional woman used information gathered on the website to kill Maxwell. But as the owner of the website is charged and put on trial, he uses his defense to go after Detective Bernard, uncovering a deep secret that he never wanted to be known to anyone.

4407"Boy Gone Astray"Rose TrocheStory by : René Balcer & Keith Eisner
Teleplay by : Keith Eisner
November 6, 2009 (2009-11-06)200077.99[16]
When a young woman is found dead in her apartment, a few tell-tale signs quickly lead Detectives Lupo and Bernard to believe that the killer was not after her wealth. After finding suitcases filled with money and drugs in one of the victim's apartments, the detectives watch a security video from her lobby. The video exposes two potential suspects, leading the detectives to a drug cartel. ADA Rubirosa winds up getting a personal stake in the case as she tries her best to help Rafa Alvarez (Mario Quinonez Jr.), a young man who involuntarily got pulled into the cartel, testify against the drug lord, who has a rich and powerful defense attorney, who has crossed paths with Rubirosa before, Marcus Woll (Jonathan Cake).
4418"Doped"Mario Van PeeblesRichard Sweren & Christopher AmbroseNovember 6, 2009 (2009-11-06)200088.41[16]
A deadly drunk-driving car accident brings Detectives Lupo and Bernard to the scene when a suspicious nasal spray is found. After the medical examiner realizes the nasal spray is a powerful anesthetic that could easily disorient its user, the detectives learn that the victim was about to blow the whistle on the pharmaceutical company she worked for, causing the detectives to become suspicious of her boss, Zach Marshall (Rich Sommer).
4429"For the Defense"William KlayerEd Zuckerman & Luke SchelhaasNovember 13, 2009 (2009-11-13)200097.50[17]
After a key witness for a murder trial is found dead outside her hotel room, Detectives Lupo and Bernard become involved in a spiraling case that unravels into an intricate conspiracy, leaving additional witnesses' lives in danger and ADA Rubirosa in the crossfire. Black market dealings, affairs and drug cartels intertwine to expose the risk of taking the stand as a witness when corrupt officials control the court, EADA Cutter does his best to get down to the truth in court, putting his partnership with Rubirosa on ice, especially after learning about Rubirosa's past with dirty prosecutor-turned-defense attorney, Marcus Woll (Jonathan Cake).
44310"Shotgun"Roger YoungRichard Sweren & Julie MartinNovember 20, 2009 (2009-11-20)200107.52[18]
When an elderly man, Stan Harkavy (Elliott Gould), a small businessman in Spanish Harlem, defends his shop from an armed robbery, Detectives Bernard and Lupo suspect that this incident could have been an inside job. However, the investigation later discovers that there are holes in his story; they learn that the mugging might have been a scare tactic for a shakedown, and that Mr. Harkavy's shooting may not have been a case of self-defense.
44411"Fed"Alex ChappleStory by : René Balcer & Keith Eisner
Teleplay by : Keith Eisner
December 11, 2009 (2009-12-11)200118.77[19]
As election day rapidly approaches, Detectives Lupo and Bernard discover the disfigured remains of a man with the word "FED" written across his bare chest. Missing a crucial piece of evidence, the detectives decide to retrace the steps of the victim, a campaign volunteer, to home in on the challenging investigation. After the victim's perplexing past emerges and the list of suspects multiplies, the detectives find themselves dealing with more than just dirty politics. They learn that the victim was secretly gathering incriminating information about the organization he worked for. Meanwhile, in the middle of the investigation, Lt. Van Buren gets a call from Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt), who is in town with some bad news.
44512"Blackmail"Marc LevinEd Zuckerman & Matthew McGoughJanuary 15, 2010 (2010-01-15)200127.32[20]
When Lupo and Bernard find journalist Megan Kerr (Amy Rutberg) dead in an abandoned apartment, the detectives learn of a relationship between the victim and daytime talk show host Vanessa Carville (Samantha Bee). Upon further investigation, the detectives encounter Carville in a meeting with DA Jack McCoy, and Carville admits to a series of workplace affairs and a blackmail threat, leaving the detectives suspicious of Carville and her co-workers.
44613"Steel-Eyed Death"Michael PressmanRichard Sweren & Christopher Ambrose & Julie MartinMarch 1, 2010 (2010-03-01)200137.58[21]
When a family of four is found murdered in their home, Detectives Lupo and Bernard discover that the deaths may be related to the deceased teenage daughter's troubled friend, Bonnie Jones (Emily Meade). As Lupo and Bernard track down Bonnie, the detectives become aware of another suspect, Justin Sachs (Michael Oberholtzer), who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, making the case more complicated when both suspects' mental states come into question. As the case is tried in court, EADA Mike Cutter is up against a famous defense attorney, Veronica Masters (Rebecca Creskoff), who had a history with Detective Cyrus Lupo, who reveals a secret to his partner, Bernard.
44714"Boy on Fire"Rose TrocheStory by : Ed Zuckerman & Matthew McGough
Teleplay by : Luke Schelhaas & Matthew McGough
March 1, 2010 (2010-03-01)200147.86[21]
When Lupo and Bernard come upon the burning body of Cesar Ramirez (Noel Rodriguez), a sixteen-year-old charter school student from a bad neighborhood, they begin to question his young mentee Moses (Aaron Shaw), who was the last person to see him alive. After evidence leads the detectives to a shocking cell phone video of the crime being committed, they soon realize that the four people in the video may be in cahoots with an unexpected ally. The investigation leads the detectives to the high school principal, Martha Woodside (Debra Winger), who has all of the right answers. With a shady educator, tampered alibis and jealous schoolboys all coming into play, the detectives discover that their case may be more than elementary, and until new evidence comes to light, there is no one that ADAs Cutter and Rubirosa can put on trial.
44815"Brilliant Disguise"Alex ChappleStory by : René Balcer & Keith Eisner
Teleplay by : Keith Eisner
March 8, 2010 (2010-03-08)200155.18[22]
After a young woman, Justine Stebbins (Laura Campbell), is found brutally murdered in a hotel and her body stashed away on a food service cart, evidence leads Detectives Lupo and Kevin Bernard to a young medical school student. When a crafty lawyer, Ray Backlund (Timothy Busfield), becomes involved, the detectives realize that it is going to take more than superficial evidence to put the murderer behind bars. This quickly becomes a case of mind over matter.
44916"Innocence"Fred BernerRichard Sweren & Julie MartinMarch 15, 2010 (2010-03-15)200166.90[23]
Detectives Lupo and Bernard detain a man who is tried and found guilty of killing a gay man as a hate crime. Shortly after, one of Cutter's former law professors, Emily Ryan (Amy Madigan) steps in with The Innocence Collective, determined to prove his innocence and reverse the verdict. Cutter soon discovers that Emily's overeager student assistant, Lisa Klein (Anna Chlumsky), may have crossed the line to get a testimony in her client's favor. Before long, personal relationships are threatened as the integrity of the entire trial is called into question. As a defense on for her client, Emily Ryan uses the status of EADA Cutter's law license to say that her client, among others, deserve new trials; Cutter races to figure out a way to keep a mistrial from occurring and letting the defendant walk away from a brutal hate crime.
45017"Four Cops Shot"Jim McKayEd Zuckerman & Luke Schelhaas & Matthew McGoughMarch 22, 2010 (2010-03-22)200175.93[24]

Lieutenant Anita Van Buren is told by her doctor Valerie Knight (Deirdre O'Connell) that she came off her radiation just fine and her hemoglobin levels are up. She's set to go back to her doctor in three months to see if the tumor has shrunk. Meanwhile, Detectives Lupo and Bernard are called to a scene where four police officers were shot and killed, at a local pizzeria. With a room full of witnesses, they have a small description of the culprit but that's all. The case becomes even more confusing when they discover that the police officers may have known the shooter. The investigation quickly leads them to a drug cartel, a jealous husband, and a penitent judge who are all linked together. Tensions rise from both the homicide units, the DA's office, and even to the U.S. Attorney.

45118"Brazil"Jean de SegonzacStory by : René Balcer & Keith Eisner
Teleplay by : Keith Eisner
March 29, 2010 (2010-03-29)200186.01[25]
When an environmental scientist, Dr. Oscar Silva (Elliot Villar), is poisoned during a global warming symposium, Detectives Bernard and Lupo initially suspect competitors from Dr. Silva's field of study. It is soon discovered that Dr. Silva is involved in a messy custody battle with his wife's (Tammy Blanchard) ex-husband, Phillip Shoemaker (Tony Hale), and the focus of the investigation quickly shifts to the victim's family. Meanwhile, the case becomes personal for EADA Cutter as it stirs up unpleasant memories from his own past.
45219"Crashers"Darnell MartinRichard Sweren & Christopher Ambrose & Julie MartinMay 3, 2010 (2010-05-03)200196.18[26]

When the body of young model Brenna Lane (Sabina Gadecki) is found burning in an alley, Detectives Lupo and Bernard search for her killer. With no witnesses, the detectives must retrace the victim's last steps to get insight into her final days before her death. They quickly discover that just before her death, Brenna crashed an upscale political event, hosted by Senator Peterson (Tony Roberts) and his wife, Camille (Kathy Baker). As secrets unfold, Lupo and Bernard realize that they must untangle an intricate web of lies to obtain the truth about Brenna Lane's murder.

45320"The Taxman Cometh"Fred BernerStory by : Ed Zuckerman & William N. Fordes
Teleplay by : William N. Fordes
May 10, 2010 (2010-05-10)200206.17[27]
Lupo and Bernard are called in to investigate the death of a young heiress, Annie Douglas (Morgan Lynch), who died of an apparent drug overdose. The detectives begin to suspect her cousin, Randy Colwyn (Daniel Abeles), whose inheritance was increased due to Annie's death. As the investigation continues, Annie's greedy relatives reveal another recent loss in the group. The case becomes more than a family matter as an experimental cancer clinic, fraudulent adoptions and unborn children are tied into the case.
45421"Immortal"Jim McKayRichard Sweren & Julie MartinMay 17, 2010 (2010-05-17)200215.91[28]
When Jerome Turner (Terence Archie) dies of stab wounds upon arrival at a hospital, Lupo and Bernard are called in to investigate his stabbing. They soon discover that, unknown to everyone, Turner was leading a double life. Family tensions escalate as the detectives begin to unravel secrets of an exploited family. In search for the truth, EADA Cutter crosses a line with Lt. Van Buren during trial.
45522"Love Eternal"William KlayerEd ZuckermanMay 17, 2010 (2010-05-17)200226.24[28]
When a television crew from a style show goes in search of a fashion victim, Marielle Di Napoli (Anna Gunn), they find a murder victim instead. As Detectives Lupo and Bernard investigate this unusual crime, they begin to suspect the victim's wife, who has a violent and peculiar past. The case is further complicated when detectives discover the truth behind the victim's financial situation: they learn that the victim may have backed out of a conspiracy with fellow husbands to hide assets from their wives until their divorces.
45623"Rubber Room"René BalcerRené BalcerMay 24, 2010 (2010-05-24)200237.60[29]
When Lieutenant Van Buren discovers a blog site featuring video of an alarming amount of explosives, Detectives Lupo and Bernard race against time to find the anonymous blogger before plans to blow up a school are put into action. The Department of Education's refusal to take the threat seriously and resistance from the teachers' union further complicate the investigation. Fortunately, an administrative assistant at the teachers' union, Alicia (Lindsey Vonn), gives the detectives a tip to lead them in the right direction. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Van Buren struggles to keep her personal issues from becoming public and due to the ignorance of the people possibly revolving around the blogger's terrorist act, they push District Attorney McCoy's buttons.


  2. ^ "Breaking News – NBC Presents Post-Winter Olympics Primetime Schedule Beginning March 1". 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  3. ^ "Breaking News – NBC Extends Scripted Series, Confirms Orders". Retrieved 2012-05-17.
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  20. ^ Seidman, Robert (January 16, 2010). "TV Ratings: CBS Wins; Supernanny and Shark Tank Improve". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
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  22. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 9, 2010). "TV Ratings: Chuck Drops a Touch; Two and a Half Men Hits Highs; NBC Dead Last". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  23. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 16, 2010). "TV Ratings: Chuck vs. Daylight Saving Time Drops Big". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
  24. ^ Seidman, Robert (March 23, 2010). "TV Ratings: "Dancing With The Stars" Has Record Debut; "Castle" Hits Highs; "Chuck" Stays Low". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
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  29. ^ "TV Ratings: Jack Bauer, Law & Order Say Goodbye, Chuck Sees New Low". TV By The Numbers. May 25, 2010. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-28.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Season Nineteen
List of Law & Order seasons
Succeeded by