NBC’s original procedural series first landed on the network in 1990 and gained millions of fans across the world before its unexpected cancellation in 2010. Thankfully for fans, Law and Order was revived and the first episode of season 21 premiered on Thursday, with many of the original characters returning, Anthony Anderson revealed why chose to reprise Kevin Bernard for the comeback.
Detective Kevin Bernard (played by Anthony Anderson) made his first appearance on the show in season 18 for the episode titled ‘Burn Notice.’
He was initially working in Internal Affairs, where he was investigating the shooting which involved Detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin).
This was where he first met Green’s partner Detective Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and although Green was cleared for the shooting he decided to retire.
With his departure, Bernard transferred from Internal Affairs to Homicide, where he became Ludo’s partner.
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With almost 12 years since fans have seen Bernard onscreen, he alongside a mix of new and old characters made their long-awaited return to CBS.
Although he joined the show in the final few seasons before its cancellation, Anderson had expressed he enjoyed his time and had even become a fan-favourite.
Speaking on reprising his role as Bernard, Anderson revealed he approached creator Dick Wolf personally about the revival.
In an interview with People.com, the actor explained: “We were, you know, we were two weeks out from ending our show Black-ish.
“They made the announcement that Law & Order was coming back. So, I picked up the phone and called Dick Wolf up and said, ‘Hey Dick, is it true?’
“He said, ‘It is.’ I was like, ‘Well, you know, I’m a free agent as of November 19,’ and [Dick] was like, ‘Anthony, you have no idea how happy this phone call makes me.’”
While viewers are grateful, Anderson picked up the phone, others remain confused as to why the series ended in the first place.
According to Distractify, Law and Order was cancelled as a result of a “dip in viewership, its failing rating and for putting a crunch on production’s budget”.
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Its cancellation was an undeniable shock for fans as the series had become a household name for showing both perspectives of the police detectives and the prosecutors.
It also gave audiences a view of how the district attorney’s office would break down cases, detail what happened as well as the consequences.
Law and Order was also recognised by the awards as it gained a whopping 50 Emmy nominations during its run.
It also received an Outstanding Drama Series award in 1997.
Speaking to Variety in 2021, Wolf disclosed there would be no major changes to the foundation of the show.
He stated: “There’s really nothing to fix, we just want to continue telling great stories. Casting as always will be three cops and three DAs.
“We always approach storytelling the same way, good writing, acting and production values, and give the viewers what they want. That’s been our mantra from day one,” he concluded.
Law & Order season 21 is available on NBC in the USA and is available in the UK on Sky Witness.