NBC’s Chicago trilogy but may soon become a quartet.
A fourth installment in the growing drama franchise is officially in development at the network, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
“Dick Wolf has been responsible for some of the biggest hits in NBC history, including SVU and the current three Chicago dramas, Fire, P.D. and Med,” NBC’s president of entertainment Jennifer Salke said Thursday in a statement. “The Chicago universe will continue to grow as we are in active development on Chicago Law (working title).”
The news comes a week after Wolf confirmed “there have been discussions” about a fourth entry at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour while promoting the other three series.
“It would be obviously short-sighted, especially after last week, not to be kicking the tires on what that would be,” Wolf told reporters, pointing to the previous week’s three-show crossover. “It would probably be in the legal system.”
At the time, Wolf said the plan would be to introduce characters for the possible Law spinoff on other Chicago series, most notably Chicago P.D.
“Would I like to do it? Of course. … This is a dream come true. To have these three shows operating this synergistically is beyond my expectations,” he said. “My instinct is always to double-down, but there are many masters to serve and a lot of people have to agree.”
Earlier this month, Chicago P.D. dipped its toe into the legal world for the first time with the first three-show crossover between P.D., Med and Fire.
“Your initial reaction is, ‘Whoa, we haven’t done that. How do you do it?'” Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead told The Hollywood Reporter in December of writing about a trial for the first time. “Then you realize that it was a blessing because it takes you out of your comfort zone and you’re doing new things, flexing new muscles. Working on the trial aspect of it was different and refreshing.”
Wolf is already all too familiar with legal dramas, having created Law & Order in 1990 as well as spinoffs SVU and Criminal Intent. Despite the success of those three iterations, the Law & Order franchise famously experienced growing pains when it tried to expand to a fourth series, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which premiered to tepid numbers in 2005 and was subsequently canceled after one season.
Wolf currently has four scripted series on NBC’s schedule with the Chicago shows as well as Law & Order: SVU, which is in its 17th season. This would be the first time the prolific producer has five scripted dramas on one network if Chicago Law goes to series, and if SVU and Chicago Med are renewed. Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. were already renewed back in November. Wolf also has the unscripted series, You the Jury, at NBC.