Law & Order (franchise)
|Law & Order|
Law & Order title card
|Created by||Dick Wolf|
|Original work||Law & Order|
|Films and television|
|Related TV series|
Law & Order is a franchise composed of a number of related American television series created by Dick Wolf. They were originally broadcast on NBC, and all of them deal with some aspect of the criminal justice system. Together, the original series, its various spin-offs, the TV film, and crossover episodes from other shows constitute over 1,000 hours of programming.
Shared people and resources in a common fictional setting are the connecting links between the shows, e.g., Hudson University and the New York Ledger tabloid newspaper. Many supporting characters, such as district attorneys, psychologists, and medical examiners are also shared among the shows. Occasionally, crossovers of main characters or shared storylines between two of the shows will occur. A few major characters have also left the cast of one show within the franchise only to eventually join another. The music, style, and credits of the shows tend to be similar, with the voiceover in the opening of every series performed by Steven Zirnkilton. The shows share the iconic "dun, dun" sound effect of a jail cell locking, created, along with the theme songs, by Mike Post. Past episodes of the American series are in syndication with local over-the-air stations, along with cable channels such as USA Network and Bravo (both owned by the franchise's production company, NBCUniversal), TNT, WGN America, Ion Television, and AMC Networks' SundanceTV and WeTV, showing episodes sometimes up to six times a day.
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In October 2012, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit show runner/executive producer Warren Leight said of the future of the Law & Order franchise, "(Dick Wolf and I) sometimes talk in general terms of where (the franchise) could go. I'm curious to see if there's another iteration somewhere down the line," he says. "We try hard to maintain a certain level of quality which I think is why the shows sustained in reruns so well. And I'd like to believe there's room for another generation in some way." In February 2015, NBC was purported to have interest in bringing back the flagship Law & Order as a limited series. As of February 2016, NBC has not publicly announced intentions to revive the original series.
As of February 7, 2018[update], 1,118 original episodes of the Law & Order franchise have aired.
- 1 Series
- 2 Media
- 3 Crossovers
- 4 Other related series
- 5 Foreign adaptations
- 6 Series overview
- 7 Location
- 8 Characters in the franchise
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Law & Order
- 20 seasons, 456 episodes (September 13, 1990 – May 24, 2010)
Law & Order, a crime procedural, features both a police investigation of a crime discovered during the cold open, and a prosecution case set forth by the New York County District Attorney, at the Manhattan DA's office. The first thirty minutes of an episode typically features a lead detective trio (in the final season, Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, and S. Epatha Merkerson), while the second thirty minutes follows their legal counterparts (in the final season, Alana de la Garza, Linus Roache, and Sam Waterston). On May 14, 2010, NBC announced that it was canceling the original series, although various spin-offs will continue. The series finale aired on May 24, 2010. Wolf briefly attempted to continue the series on cable, but the series "moved into the history books".
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- 19 seasons, 400+ episodes (September 20, 1999 – present)
SVU follows the cases investigated by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her Manhattan Special Victims Unit colleagues. The show's focus is on detectives who investigate sexually based crimes and crimes against children and the elderly. During season eighteen, these detectives include Kelli Giddish, Ice-T, and Peter Scanavino. Raúl Esparza also stars.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- 10 seasons, 195 episodes (September 30, 2001 – June 26, 2011)
Criminal Intent focuses on high-profile cases investigated by the Major Case Squad, with special focus on the actions of the criminals pursued, often including scenes from the victim's or perpetrator's lives not involving the police, thereby giving a hint as to the "criminal intent". The detectives depicted, portrayed by Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, during the final season, will often attempt to infiltrate the mind of the suspect. Julia Ormond and Jay O. Sanders also star in the tenth season of the series. On July 15, 2011, USA Network co-president Jeff Wachtel confirmed Law & Order: CI would end with its tenth season.
Law & Order: Trial by Jury
- 1 season, 13 episodes (March 3, 2005 – January 21, 2006)
Trial by Jury, starring Bebe Neuwirth, Amy Carlson, and Jerry Orbach, followed the preparation by the legal teams, both prosecution and defense, for a jury trial. This was the first Law & Order spin-off to be canceled due to low ratings. Orbach's death (which occurred while the show was in production) was one factor to in the show's cancellation; competition from the hit series NUMB3RS was another.
Law & Order: LA
- 1 season, 22 episodes (September 29, 2010 – July 11, 2011)
Originally titled Law & Order: Los Angeles, LA was the first American Law & Order series set outside of New York City. As with the original series, the first half hour of the show focused on the police investigation of a crime discovered in the cold open; the second half took place at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office and focused on the prosecution of the criminal suspect(s). On May 13, 2011, Law & Order: LA was canceled by NBC after only one season, but because of the hiatus did not air its final episode until July 11, 2011. Alana de la Garza and Terrence Howard starred.
Law & Order True Crime
In April 2016, Wolf and NBC announced they were working on True Crime, a scripted anthology series that will follow one significant true-to-life case per season. Season one, titled Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders stars Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson, Gaston Villanueva as Lyle Menendez, and Gus Halper as Erik Menendez.
The Law & Order franchise has one TV film, Exiled: A Law & Order Movie (1998). Chris Noth reprises his role as Mike Logan, as the film explores what happened to the character following his departure from the original series.
The franchise has also spawned a series of video games for the PC, which feature appearances by then-current cast members of the TV series.
The typical course of most of the games follows the original series' format with the player investigating a crime with interviews of witnesses and examination of evidence. After the arrest is made, the player then prosecutes the case with challenges such as selecting appropriate questions for witnesses on the stand, recognizing improper questions to raise objections and selecting the most persuasive arguments for the judge to allow certain evidence in court.
- Law & Order: Dead on the Money
- Law & Order: Double or Nothing
- Law & Order: Justice Is Served
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- Law & Order: Legacies
The following table lists all the crossover stories in the Law & Order franchise.
|Crossover Between||Episode Title||Actors Appearing Outside Their Series||Date Broadcast||Description|
|Series A||Series B||Series C|
|Law & Order||Homicide||N/A||"Charm City"
(Law & Order S06E13)
"For God and Country"
|Appearing in Series A:Richard Belzer, Kyle Secor, Andre Braugher
Appearing in Series B: Benjamin Bratt, Jerry Orbach, Jill Hennessy
|February 7, 1996
February 9, 1996
|Briscoe and Curtis clash with Pembleton and Bayliss, who have come to New York to investigate a subway explosion resembling an unsolved bombing in Baltimore from five years ago. The investigation soon leads to a larger conspiracy.|
|Law & Order||Homicide||N/A||"Baby, It's You"
(Law & Order S08E06)
|Appearing in Series A:Richard Belzer, Jon Seda
Yaphet Kotto, Željko Ivanek
Appearing in Series B: Benjamin Bratt, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, Carey Lowell
|November 12, 1997
November 14, 1997
|Falsone and Munch team up with Briscoe and Curtis to investigate the murder of a 14-year-old girl. They trace the suspect from New York back to Baltimore.|
|Law & Order||Homicide||N/A||"Sideshow"
(Law & Order S09E14)
|Appearing in Series A:Richard Belzer, Michael Michele, Željko Ivanek
Appearing in Series B: Benjamin Bratt, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston
|February 17, 1999
February 19, 1999
|Briscoe and Curtis re-team up with Munch and Sheppard to investigate the murder of a government worker and expose a connection to the White House.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order||N/A||"Entitled"
(Law & Order: SVU S01E15)
(Law & Order S10E14)
|Appearing in Series A:Angie Harmon, Steven Hill, Jesse L. Martin, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston
Appearing in Series B: Dann Florek, Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer
|February 18, 2000||The detectives of Special Victims Unit team with the 27th Precinct to investigate a salesman's murder, leading them to a politically influential family. When the case goes to court, McCoy finds the matriarch to be a formidable opponent.|
|Law & Order||Law & Order:
Trial By Jury
(Law & Order S15E20)
(Law & Order: Trial By Jury S01E08)
|Appearing in Series B: Richard Belzer, Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson, Dennis Farina, Sam Waterston||April 13, 2005
April 15, 2005
|Green is shot while taking a murder witness to trial, leading Fontana to team up with Salazar and uncover ties to a porn magnate.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order:
Trial By Jury
(Law & Order: SVU S06E20)
(Law & Order: Trial By Jury S01E11)
|Appearing in Series A: Bebe Neuwirth, Kirk Acevedo, Fred Dalton Thompson
Appearing in Series B: Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Diane Neal, Tamara Tunie, Carolyn McCormick
|May 3, 2005||A man is suspected of rape and facts about his adolescence are revealed at his trial.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order||N/A||"Design"
(Law & Order: SVU S07E02)
(Law & Order S16E02)
|Appearing in Series B: Mariska Hargitay, Ice T||September 27, 2005
September 28, 2005
|A mother-daughter con team get away with fraud, then are tried for murder.|
|Law & Order||Conviction||N/A||"Pilot"
|Appearing in Series B: Fred Dalton Thompson||March 3, 2006||When an ADA is assassinated, Alexandra Cabot begins work as a New York Bureau Chief, while District Attorney Arthur Branch rallies the troops.|
|In Plain Sight||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||N/A||"Contract"
(Law & Order: CI S07E12)
|Appearing in Series B: Mary McCormack||June 15, 2008||When a celebrity gossip columnist is murdered, Deputy Marshall Mary Shannon's investigation into suspect Frank Chess leads her to Logan and Wheeler in New York.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||N/A||"Acceptable Loss"
(Law & Order: SVU S14E04)
|Appearing in Series A: Kathryn Erbe||October 17, 2012||Following her departure from Major Case, Joint Task Force Lieutenant Alexandra Eames intercepts the NYPD's investigation into sex trafficking, when one of the victims are suspected of terrorism.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||N/A||"Poisoned Motive"
(Law & Order: SVU S14E22)
|Appearing in Series A: Kathryn Erbe||May 8, 2013||When Rollins becomes the victim of a sniper, Alexandra Eames once again unites with Benson to investigate the Homeland aspects of the case.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Chicago P.D.||N/A||"Comic Perversion"
(Law & Order: SVU S15E15)
(Chicago PD S01E06)
|Appearing in Series A: Sophia Bush
Appearing in Series B: Ice T, Kelli Giddish, David Eigenberg
|February 26, 2014||Chicago detective Erin Lindsay asks the NYPD for help in solving a series of rapes and murders, so Tutuola and Rollins head to Chicago to help Voight and Antonio catch the culprit.|
|Chicago Fire||Law & Order: SVU||Chicago P.D.||"Nobody Touches Anything"
(Chicago Fire S03E07)
(Law & Order: SVU S16E07)
"They'll Have to Go Through Me"
(Chicago PD S02E07)
|Appearing in Series A: Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Kelli Giddish
Appearing in Series B: Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer
Appearing in Series C: Danny Pino, Kelli Giddish, Mariska Hargitay
|November 11, 2014
November 12, 2014
|When Firehouse 51 rescues the owner of a house on fire, they find him clutching a suspicious box, so the Chicago Intelligence Unit is brought in for further investigation, leading them to work with Special Victims Unit to take down a child pornography ring.|
|Chicago Fire||Chicago P.D.||Law & Order: SVU||"We Called Her Jellybean"
(Chicago Fire S03E21)
"The Number of Rats"
(Chicago PD S02E20)
(Law & Order: SVU S16E20)
|Appearing in Series A: Mariska Hargitay, Jason Beghe, Jon Seda, Tamara Tunie
Appearing in Series B: Mariska Hargitay, Danny Pino, Ice-T, Peter Scanavino, Jesse Spencer, Eamonn Walker
Appearing in Series C: Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Jesse Lee Soffer, Marina Squerciati, Brian Geraghty
|April 28, 2015
April 29, 2015
|An apartment fire connected to a case of attempted rape and murder in Chicago resembles an unsolved case in New York, so Special Victims Unit and Intelligence work together to find the suspect.|
|Law & Order: SVU||Chicago P.D.||N/A||"Nationwide Manhunt"
(Law & Order: SVU S17E14)
"The Song of Gregory William Yates"
(Chicago PD S03E14)
|Appearing in Series A: Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Jon Seda
Appearing in Series B: Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Eamonn Walker, Brian Tee
|February 10, 2016||Chicago detectives Lindsay and Dawson come to New York to assist in the hunt for two escaped murderers, one of whom is Greg Yates, who returns to Chicago and commits a triple homicide, so SVU detectives Benson and Fin come to Chicago to join in the investigation.|
John Munch crossovers
The character John Munch, who originated on Homicide, is notable for either appearing in or being referenced in a wide variety of other series, ranging from appearing in the science fiction series The X-Files, to the sitcom Arrested Development, to being referenced by name in the UK crime drama Luther. Whether this places these series in the Law & Order universe is a matter of debate.
- New York Undercover (1994–1998)
Co-created by Kevin Arkadie and Dick Wolf, NYU was implicitly a part of the same universe as the franchise, as psychologist and psychiatrist characters from L&O appeared in the series.
- Deadline (2000–2001)
Also created by Dick Wolf, featured reporters based at the franchise's fictional newspaper, the New York Ledger.
- Conviction (2006)
This series starred Stephanie March as Alexandra Cabot, Anson Mount as Jim Steele, Eric Balfour as Brian Peluso, J. August Richards as Billy Desmond, Milena Govich as Jessica Rossi, Julianne Nicholson as Christina Finn, and Jordan Bridges as Nick Potter. March reprises her role of Cabot originally from SVU and is now the Homicide Bureau Chief ADA. Cabot would return to SVU after this show's end. The series features a larger ensemble cast of young ADAs, with no police, therapists or medical examiners in lead roles. After its cancellation, two of the show's actresses, Milena Govich and Julianne Nicholson, went on to star in Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent respectively as Detectives Nina Cassidy and Megan Wheeler.
The franchise, as a result of its popularity, has led to the adaptation of scripts from the American series into foreign-produced series. These are:
Paris enquêtes criminelles (Paris Criminal Investigations)
- 3 seasons, 20 episodes (May 3, 2007 – November 6, 2008)
Paris Criminal Investigations follows the format of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, adapted to Paris and the French legal system, with detectives from the Prefecture of Police DRPJ and the Ministère public attempting to secure a conviction. The series stars Vincent Pérez, Sandrine Rigaux, Jacques Pater, Hélène Godec, Laure Killing, and Audrey Looten. The show is also aired in Germany on ZDF, under the title "Law & Order: Paris".
Закон и Порядок. Отдел оперативных расследований (Law & Order: Division of Field Investigations)
- 4 seasons, 84 episodes (2007 – 2011)
Division of Field Investigations follows the format of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, set in Moscow and adapted to the Russian justice system. The series stars Ivan Oganesyan, Alisa Bogart, Dmitry Brusnikin, Alexander Naumov, Valery Troshin and Xenia Entelis.
Закон и Порядок. Преступный умысел (Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
- 4 seasons, 84 episodes (2007 – 2011)
Criminal Intent follows the format of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, set in Moscow and is adapted to the Russian Justice System. The series stars Mikhail Homyakov, Igor Lagutin, Elena Kovalchuk and Boris Mironov.
- 8 series, 53 episodes (February 23, 2009 – June 11, 2014)
UK follows the format of the original Law & Order show but adapts it to the new setting of London, with detectives from the Metropolitan Police CID and the Crown Prosecution Service attempting to secure a conviction. The series stars Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber, Harriet Walter, Ben Daniels, Freema Agyeman, Bill Paterson, Paul Nicholls, Dominic Rowan, Georgia Taylor, Peter Davison, Sharon Small, Paterson Joseph, Ben Bailey Smith.
|Series||Television seasons||No. of
Most of the American series have been filmed almost entirely in the New York City area. The original Law & Order series has filmed a few episodes in the Los Angeles area and Baltimore; these episodes or portions of episodes were set in the cities in which they were filmed and concerned multi-jurisdictional investigations or extradition.
Law & Order: Los Angeles expanded the franchise to a new main city, the new series' namesake. L&O: LA was canceled after one season.
Effects on casting
With some frequency, actors have appeared on the various series that make up the franchise, usually as different (sometimes very different) characters. This is because filming occurs in the New York City area and thus draws from the same pool of actors. Some prominent examples of the same actor playing different roles in different episodes are:
- S. Epatha Merkerson playing a maid whose child was killed in a season 1 episode of the original L&O before joining the cast in season 4 as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren and going on to be the longest-serving cast member of the parent series.
- Diane Neal playing a female rapist in an earlier season of Special Victims Unit before becoming the Assistant District Attorney for that series.
- Annabella Sciorra playing a criminal defense attorney in Trial by Jury and later Det. Mike Logan's (Chris Noth) partner in Criminal Intent
- Jerry Orbach playing a defense attorney on the original series before joining it as Det. Lennie Briscoe
- Ice-T playing a pimp known as Seymour Stockton in the franchise's only film, Exiled: A Law & Order Movie, before taking on the role of Tutuola on SVU
- Anthony Anderson playing Detective Lucius Blaine in a seventh-season episode of SVU before playing Bernard on the original Law & Order
- Jeremy Sisto played a defense attorney in the last episode of season 17 before joining the cast as Cyrus Lupo at the start of season 18.
- Kelli Giddish played a rape victim in the eighth-season episode "Outsider" of SVU before joining the show in season 13 as Amanda Rollins.
- Raúl Esparza played different characters on Law & Order and Criminal Intent before joining SVU in its 14th season as Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba.
- Peter Scanavino playing multiple characters in Law & Order, Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury and SVU before joining the last in season 16 as Dominick Carisi.
Also due to the New York filming, a number of actors appearing in Law & Order shows have had regular or recurring roles on soaps. Most notable is Tamara Tunie, who simultaneously played both medical examiner Melinda Warner on SVU as well as (until 2007) District Attorney Jessica Griffin on As the World Turns. Likewise, New York theater actors have also been frequently cast.
Also as the result of sharing the same pool of New York-based television actors, the series' casts have had significant overlap with that of the former HBO series Oz. This is perhaps most pronounced in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, whose cast has included three regularly credited actors (Christopher Meloni, B. D. Wong and Dean Winters), as well as two recurring actors (J. K. Simmons and Mike Doyle) who were also regularly credited actors on Oz, also Kathryn Erbe from Oz starring in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Similarly, Law & Order: UK sees significant overlap with other programs' casts; most prominently series regulars Freema Agyeman and Peter Davison, who starred in Doctor Who as companion Martha Jones and the Fifth Doctor.
Characters in the franchise
- Chris Noth joined the main cast of Criminal Intent following his departure from Law & Order.
- Additionally, the characters of Mike Logan, Lennie Briscoe, Rey Curtis, Don Cragen and Anita Van Buren appear in the 1998 TV film Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
- Dann Florek joined the main cast of SVU following his departure from Law & Order.
- Jerry Orbach joined the main cast of Trial by Jury following his departure from Law & Order.
- Belzer starred as Detective John Munch in all 122 episodes of Homicide prior to joining the cast of SVU. He also appeared in Homicide: The Movie.
- Richard Brooks left Law & Order after the first three seasons and made guest appearances in "Custody", "Birthright" and "Fear America". In those episodes, Paul Robinette serves as a defense attorney.
- Additionally, the character of Jack McCoy appeared in the 1998 TV film Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
- Carey Lowell starred on Law & Order in seasons seven to eight and made guest appearances in "Justice" and "School Daze". In those episodes, Jamie Ross serves as a defense attorney.
- Fred Dalton Thompson starred consecutively on both Law & Order and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
- Alana de la Garza joined the main cast of Law & Order: LA following the cancellation of Law & Order.
- During a four season absence from SVU, March headlined the short-lived Conviction as ADA Cabot.
|Series||Character||Portrayed by||Law & Order Franchise||Universe||Chicago Franchise|
|L&O[O 1]||SVU[O 2]||CI[O 3]||TBJ[O 4]||LA[O 5]||HLOTS[O 7]||NYU[O 8]||Con[O 10]||Fire||P.D.||Med|
|Law & Order||Elizabeth Rogers, M.D.||Leslie Hendrix[P 1]||Guest||Guest||Guest||Guest|
|Elizabeth Olivet, Ph.D.||Carolyn McCormick||Main||Guest||Guest||Guest||Guest|
|SVU||Melinda Warner, M.D.||Tamara Tunie||Main||Guest||Guest|
|George Huang, Ph.D.||B.D. Wong||Main|
|Criminal Intent||Paula Gyson, Ph.D.||Julia Ormond||Main|
- Additionally, the character of Elizabeth Rogers appears in the 1998 TV film Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
- Law & Order
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- Law & Order: Trial by Jury
- Law & Order: LA (previously Law & Order: Los Angeles)
- Law & Order True Crime
- Homicide: Life on the Street
- New York Undercover
- In Plain Sight
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago P.D.
- Chicago Med
- Chicago Justice
|Series||Character||Portrayed by||True Crime|
|The Menendez Murders||Leslie Abramson||Edie Falco||Main|
|Erik Menendez||Gus Halper||Main|
|Lyle Menendez||Miles Gaston Villanueva||Main|
- "Ask the Editors"; TV Guide; April 19, 2010; Page 6.
- Dan Gunderman (13 September 2016). "Examining the legendary 'dun, dun' sound from 'Law & Order' on the anniversary of the pilot episode". New York Daily News.
- Jodha, Michael (October 3, 2012). "There's no shortage of crimes for 'SVU,' says executive producer". CTV. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- Gelman, Vlada (February 6, 2015). "Report: NBC Eyeing Law & Order Revival, With Original Stars". TV Line. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 6, 2015). "NBC Eyes 'Law & Order' Limited Series". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Scott, Andrew (May 13, 2010). "Law & Order officially cancelled". TV Squad (AOL). Retrieved May 14, 2010.
- Carter, Bill (May 17, 2010). "'Law & Order' Creator Still Looking to Bring Original Back". The New York Times.
- "AMC Investigates Reviving Law & Order". Vulture. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Levin, Gary (July 30, 2010). "'Law & Order' is L.A.-bound". USA Today. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- Mitovich, Matt (July 11, 2011). "No Reprieve for Law & Order: CI: 'It Was a Good Series Finale,' Says USA Network Boss". TV Line. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Mirkinson, Jack (May 13, 2011). "'Law And Order: LA' Canceled By NBC". Huffington Post.
- Levin, Gary (May 13, 2011). "NBC renews 'Chuck' for final season". USA Today.
- Carter, Bill (May 13, 2011). "Upfronts: Networks Order New Shows and Cancel Others". The New York Times.
- Andreeva, Nellie (April 6, 2016). "NBC & Dick Wolf Developing 'Law & Order: True Crime' Anthology Series; 1st Season To Tackle Menendez Brothers Murders". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders Trailer Promises to Finally Tell the True Story
- Gelman, Vlada (February 3, 2017). "Law & Order: True Crime: Edie Falco Cast as Menendez Brothers' Attorney". TVLine. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "(#102) Uncertainty Principle". Futon Critic. Retrieved February 7, 2017.