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"In the United States of America, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are the stories of the Americans in [fill city here]." ― The opening narration by Steve Zirnkilton.

Law & Order: American Chronicles is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, and a spin-off of the long-running crime drama Law & Order. Created and produced by Dick Wolf, the series premiered on NBC on October 9, 2013.

Unlike the franchise entries that came before it, this series is presented in an anthology format, with each season being a self-contained miniseries, following a different set of characters and settings throughout the United States. Though each episode revolves around an individual case, the seasons follow a broader subplot and themes that reflect ongoing events and crises in American society. This always eventually culminates in a season finale that closes out the subplot in a poignant way.

Nevertheless, it follows the same two-part approach as the original series, and it also allows significant development for the series characters like previous Law & Order spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent. In each episode, the first half-hour focuses on elite detectives and their captain in the Seattle Police Department as they investigate a crime (usually murder); the second half focuses on the prosecution of the defendant(s) by the Seattle District Attorney's Office, while D.A. Investigators assist the post-arrest police investigations to make sure the prosecution is run smoothly. In the style of the original Law & Order series, episodes are often "ripped from the headlines" or loosely based on real crimes that have received media attention.

Production

Season 1 Cast

Main

Law
  • Dean Cain as Senior Detective Clay Murphy
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Junior Detective Alice "Liz" Perrault
  • Antonio Banderas as Lieutenant Jorge Fernandez
Order
  • Mike Epps as Executive A.D.A. Jackson Robinette
  • Sarah Carter as A.D.A. Jamie Strauss
  • François Chau as D.A. Investigator Andrew Chang
  • Jon Abrahams as D.A. Investigator Michael Tatopoulis
  • Julianne Moore as District Attorney April Plasky

Recurring

  • Rochelle Aytes as Patricia Rose
  • Anjali Bhimani as M.E. Anita Choudhary
  • Josh Dallas as Peter Wellington
  • Nikki DeLoach as Cassandra Murphy
  • Brian Gant as Defense Attorney Christopher O'Doyle
  • James Marsters as Judge Thomas Carlton
  • James Earl Jones as Judge Michael Stephens
  • Emma Kenney as Gwen Murphy
  • Mary Mouser as Elaine Strauss
  • Ian Nelson as William "Will" Murphy
  • Jack Nordling as Defense Attorney Bruce Manning
  • Genesis Rodriguez as Sonya Fernandez

Episodes

Season 1: Houston (2013-2014)

Set in Houston, Texas, the season follows the members of the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney's Office as they solve cases, usually murder. Meanwhile, the city begins the healing process in the wake of a violent school shooting that left dozens dead. The season deals with the issue of gun rights versus gun control, with other themes being family, community, parental responsibility, infidelity, depression, public outrage, harassment, trauma, healing, and forgiveness.

1. Mockingbird (Air Date: 10/09/2013)

As Houston struggles to make sense of a deadly school shooting days ago, Detectives Clay Murphy and Liz Perrault investigate the horrific shooting murder of a promising college student from a poor neighborhood. However, the investigation constantly receives setbacks due to the community's refusal to cooperate with Murphy, whose son was the school shooter. Meanwhile, District Attorney April Plasky, who is running for reelection, sees the current case as a test-run for establishing a precedent for gun control, much to the disapproval of D.A. Investigator Michael Tatopoulis, who is pro-gun rights.

NOTE: Inspired by the Chardon High School shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and the murder of Tynesha Stewart

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