This past weekend, Dick Wolf and cast members of his shows (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med) were part of a PaleyFest panel that honored the legendary TV creator.
The stars that were there included Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Colin Donnell, Torrey Devitto (from Chicago Med), Taylor Kinney, Jesse Spencer (from Chicago Fire), Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush (from Chicago P.D.), Ice-T (from Law and Order: SVU) and Dick Wolf himself.
According to Variety, Wolf announced casting news about the fourth show in the Chicago franchise, which will be called Chicago Justice. The show was originally thought to be called Chicago Law.Wolf said that Carl Weathers will be joining the cast as Illinois State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies. Other actors slated to be in the show are Philip Winchester, Nazneen Contractor and Joelle Carter.
Some of the cast members talked about their time on the shows, which, for Merkerson, started back in the first season of the original Law and Order, when she guest starred in an episode before being casted in the role of Lt. Anita Van Buren. Ice-T talked about how he’s been on five different shows that Wolf has done and that he’s been on SVU for 17 years now.
When the panel was asked about the crossover episodes that are famous for happening, Ice-T joked that it’s hard to keep track of everyone’s storylines and who exactly everyone is on the different shows.
For some of the stars who are on a show that Wolf created for the first time, it’s described as a rewarding experience, at least in Donnell’s eyes. “It’s like the lottery getting cast in a Dick Wolf show. I’m a New York theater actor. To meet with the man himself, it’s amazing. It’s like having a one in a million shot,” he said at the panel.
Wolf started his career as a screenwriter for School Ties before becoming the showrunner for Miami Vice and eventually going on to create the Law and Order franchise, which, he said, lasted longer than the 13 episodes it was expected to do (the show ran for 20 seasons and finished its run in 2010).
Wolf said they’re doing 87 hours of television this season and that there’s been over 40,000 actors on any of his New York City or Chicago based shows over the years.
To end the panel, Wolf thanked the fans of his shows, saying “This has been the best ride that anybody’s ever had in this medium. It’s incredibly gratifying. The best stories come out of real life and real people. Great writers and actors make it fun to watch.”