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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s episode of NBC’s Chicago Justice, “Uncertainty Principle.”]
Chicago Justice celebrated its time slot premiere on Sunday with a very special blast from the past.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, former Law & Order series regular Richard Brooks guest-starred in the episode, reprising his character from the long-running Dick Wolf drama.
In the episode, Brooks’ Robinette defended Chicago P.D.‘s own Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins) when the latter was forced to stand trial for murder. The case pitted him against his former boss’ son, ASA Peter Stone (Philip Winchester). However, the two were able to exchange a few pleasantries, particularly when Robinette urged Peter to reach out to his estranged father, Ben (Michael Moriarty).
Brooks is the third Law & Order alum to reprise his role on Chicago Justice. In the backdoor pilot for the spinoff, which aired as a May episode of Chicago P.D., Lorraine Toussaint returned as defense attorney Shambala Green, a role she had played seven times on Law & Order, dating all the way back to the drama’s second episode. More recently, Tovah Feldshuh came back as Danielle Melnick in Wednesday’s series premiere.
The connection between the two shows’ universes is something the series’ executive producers — which include Law & Order executive producers Dick Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Michael S. Chernuchin — embraced right off the bat.
“We steered into it right away,” series exec producer and Wolf Films president and COO Jankowski told THR. “How do you play off the mythology, what we did in New York, with the new franchise and Chicago?”
Having already brought back three familiar faces, the question is now who will be next? Wolf is leaving the door wide open.
“The easiest way to say it is any of the 35,000 actors that have appeared in the Law & Order universe so far,” he told THR when asked about his dream return appearances. “Especially the stars that either made a very early appearance in Law & Order and have not done a scene on the show since, or [to] have people come back and reprise things they’ve done in previous shows.”
Although Chernuchin and the rest of the Chicago Justice writers were getting ready to wrap work on the 13-episode first season, he said he already has his eye on a few potential returning stars if the show should get a second season.
“We actually talked for a brief second about having Sam [Waterston] come in, but we thought it was too early,” Chernuchin said. “But maybe in the future.”
Waterston’s character, prosecutor Jack McCoy, was created by Chernuchin in 1994. McCoy went onto become the second longest-running character on the series, only behind S. Epatha Merkerson, who now stars on Chicago Med as a different character.
Merkerson’s Van Buren was already being written off the show when Law & Order was unexpectedly canceled in 2010, giving fans no closure for the McCoy character. Jankowski confirmed “the discussion’s been had” about a possible return by Waterston, who now stars on Grace and Frankie.
“We’re going to look at all our defense attorneys,” Chernuchin said, singling out Peter Jacobson, who recurred as jovial defense lawyer Andy Dworkin. “I think he would be a real foil for Peter [Stone].”
One character that seemingly won’t be coming back is Moriarty’s Ben Stone, who was McCoy’s predecessor and is the father of Peter.
“We haven’t really had any in-depth conversations about Michael coming back. We’ve talked about other people in the Law & Order universe,” Jankowski said. “There will be a couple other familiar faces you’ll see.”
Beyond simply bringing back characters from the flagship, Chernuchin even discussed the possibility of revisiting a case from the Law & Order universe that would include a crossover with Law & Order: SVU.
“It would be hard because of the jurisdictional problem, but I have a way to do it and it actually would be a way to kind of bring in SVU,” he said. “It wouldn’t be this season — it would have to be next season.”
Chicago Justice airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Which characters from the Law & Order universe do you want to see return?
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