Law & Order timeline

Tribble314

Active Member
L&O's timeline is interesting because the episodes overlap by A LOT. Each episode spans months, and there are 20+ episodes in a season! We can see how they overlap because there are handy dates on the scene cards. (You know: DUN DUN!)

Most procedurals pretend that cases only take a week or two to resolve, but real life isn't so simple. Detectives and prosecutors have a bunch of cases open at the same time.

Placement
Here are some rules I followed, in order of priority:
  1. When a scene card says "May 8th," I place it on May 8th. I do the same with dialog like "yesterday" or "tomorrow."
    (In early seasons, the days of the week generally aren't useful. Each writer seemed to be looking a different calendar!)

  2. Characters usually won't wear two different outfits on the same day.

  3. I mostly ignore props, calendars, and other set decorations. Occasionally they're useful, but early on they frequently contradict other clues.

  4. I try to give the characters days off. In particular, trial scenes shouldn't happen on weekends or holidays.

Other notes
  • Episode name & number:
    • The first three columns are color-coded, to make it easier to see things fit together.
    • SVU and Organized Crime are in shades of grey. For the original Law & Order, I used different colors for different episodes.
    • You can filter by series, to simplify things a bit.
  • Timecodes:
    • The timecodes are shaded with a blue-white-red gradient. That makes it easier to see whether an episode is beginning or ending.
    • I borrowed the gradient scheme from the credits, which show police in blue and prosecutors in red.
    • The timecodes may be slightly off from your copy.
  • Date & time:
    • I want to make it easy to see the flow of time.
      • The shading of columns F-H alternate by date.
      • I included days where nothing happened.
    • Bold dates are from the scene cards.
    • Underlined dates are solid dates, based on dialog or multiple costume changes in between two scene-card dates.
    • Other dates are guesses.
  • In the last four columns, I note what the characters are wearing. Mostly I'm looking at their ties, but not everyone wears a tie.

(Link)

 
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ItzStitch626

Well-Known Member
There was a bit of interest in my attempt at Law & Order timeline. thecomicperson is interested in continuing it. Anyone else can do what they want with it too. Enjoy!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QMmdMFJufKL06tIn2mPPGoPCscyhbEnPTNg9iMKByIM/edit#gid=0

I used the dates listed on the L&O wiki to make preliminary placements for all season 1 episodes, and some key episodes from later seasons. Mostly episodes where there are cast changes.

Then I started watching the episodes to finalize my placements. I made it part-way through watching season 1 before I abandoned the project.

Overview
L&O's timeline is interesting because the episodes overlap by A LOT. Each episode spans months, and there are 20+ episodes in a season! We can see how they overlap because there are handy dates on the scene cards. (You know: DUN DUN!)

Most procedurals pretend that cases only take a week or two to resolve, but real life isn't so simple. Detectives and prosecutors have a bunch of cases open at the same time.

Placement
Here are some rules I followed, in order of importance:

1) Avoid major continuity issues. Accept minor ones. In a show with so many overlapping episodes, some contradictions are bound to crop up.
Most scenes from season 1 take place between October 27th, 1989 (when Robinette meets Greevey and Logan) and April 6th 1991 (when Greevey is murdered).
If I'd continued to later seasons, The cast changes would eventually have caused a problem. I would have been forced to have some character's tenures overlap, when there's no evidence that they do. It's unavoidable.

2) When a scene card says "May 8th," I placed it on May 8th. I did the same with dialog like "yesterday" or "tomorrow."

3) However, days of the week are guidelines. Treating "Monday, May 8th" as gospel would mean that season 1 spans seven years! The season 1 writers assigned days of the week based on a bunch of different years. Often, it looks like they used the calendar from year after the real-life events the story was based on.

4) I mostly ignored props, calendars, and other set decorations. Occasionally they're useful, but they contradict other clues really frequently.

5) Whenever a character has a different shirt or tie, that's a sign that it's a probably a different day.

6) I'll try to give the characters days off, preferably on Saturdays and Sundays. In particular, courtroom scenes shouldn't happen on weekends or holidays. (However, see rule 2)

Other notes
- Titles are color-coded by episode, to make it easier to see how they got together.
- The timecodes are shaded, so you can see at a glance whether you're talking about the beginning, middle, or end of an episode.
- Bold episode titles indicate the beginning or end of an episode, for emphasis.
- Many of the timecodes are slightly off. When I ripped my DVDs, somehow the episodes got slightly shorter.
- For some episodes, I wrote down which ties characters are wearing. It helped me track which scenes take place on different days. Color words are abbreviated. "K" means black.
- "***OFF***" means that a character might have that day off. I've confirmed that they don't appear in those scenes.
- Some dates are marked "***OFF***" too, when there are no scenes on that day. I've included those dates to give a sense of how time passes.
- Bold dates are directly from the title cards. Underlined dates are solid dates, based on dialog or costume changes. Other dates are guesses.

"Next Match" sheet
This is a separate, related project. The idea was to match the calendar each episode uses to the next time that variety of calendar will happen IRL. For example, "Jurisdiction" starts on Monday, January 4th. Later scene cards show that it's a non-leap year. 2021 is also a non-leap-year where January 4th is a Monday.

By contrast, "Silence" won't have a matching calendar until 2048!
I'd be into it
 

Tribble314

Active Member
Peacock does have most of them, but not the early seasons. Right now, you'd have to buy them.

Google Play has them, but the DVD's might be cheaper.
 

Tribble314

Active Member
With the relaunch of Law & Order, I couldn't resist restarting my timeline. I'm not sure if I'll continue, but it's kind of fun. I don't plan to go back to any old episodes or branch out to the many spinoffs. I've put it in a new spreadsheet in the same file as above.

I made two tweaks to my spreadsheet's format.
  • The title is still bold for first scene of an episodes, but the last scene is now bold and underlined. I think the underline adds a bit of finality, as well as distinguishing between the two.
  • When multiple scenes happen on the same day, I've highlighted the dates in grey.
Observations:
Unlike season 1, this season has a consistent calendar! The first episode starts in December 2021, and everything else is set in 2022. Besides the scene-cards, you can see the dates fairly often in CCTV footage and other computers. These almost always line up nicely.

As before, the episodes overlap significantly! Most cases take about a month, although that varies from 8 days to 3 months.

Episode 21.04 starts before 21.03, which is a bit odd. If you arrange them by the ends of each episode though, they line up with the broadcast order. I'm guessing that they assigned each writer a date for the verdict, and let them work backwards from there. That also has the benefit of avoiding having overlapping murder trials.

There are few times when scenes from different episodes seem to happen on the same day:
  • On February 3rd and 5th, the detective's ties don't match between episodes. Not surprising, given that there's seldom any continuity between episodes.
  • They avoid that problem on March 3rd, by virtue of not having the same characters onscreen.
  • What is surprising is March 15th and 16th. On both of those days, I was able to line things up so that ADA Maroun wears the same outfit between episodes! Unfortunately, EADA Price was not cooperative, so his tie changes during the day on the 16th.

Let me know if you make use of this!
 
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proudhug

Member
I've been toying with doing this for years. I was always fascinated by the overlapping episodes and wondered how well they all fit. I too only made it through the first season, though.
 

Bliddry

Member
There was a bit of interest in my attempt at Law & Order timeline. thecomicperson is interested in continuing it. Anyone else can do what they want with it too. Enjoy!


I used the dates listed on the L&O wiki to make preliminary placements for all season 1 episodes, and some key episodes from later seasons. Mostly episodes where there are cast changes.

Then I started watching the episodes to finalize my placements. I made it part-way through watching season 1 before I abandoned the project.

Overview
L&O's timeline is interesting because the episodes overlap by A LOT. Each episode spans months, and there are 20+ episodes in a season! We can see how they overlap because there are handy dates on the scene cards. (You know: DUN DUN!)

Most procedurals pretend that cases only take a week or two to resolve, but real life isn't so simple. Detectives and prosecutors have a bunch of cases open at the same time.

Placement
Here are some rules I followed, in order of importance:

1) Avoid major continuity issues. Accept minor ones. In a show with so many overlapping episodes, some contradictions are bound to crop up.
Most scenes from season 1 take place between October 27th, 1989 (when Robinette meets Greevey and Logan) and April 6th 1991 (when Greevey is murdered).
If I'd continued to later seasons, The cast changes would eventually have caused a problem. I would have been forced to have some character's tenures overlap, when there's no evidence that they do. It's unavoidable.

2) When a scene card says "May 8th," I placed it on May 8th. I did the same with dialog like "yesterday" or "tomorrow."

3) However, days of the week are guidelines. Treating "Monday, May 8th" as gospel would mean that season 1 spans seven years! The season 1 writers assigned days of the week based on a bunch of different years. Often, it looks like they used the calendar from year after the real-life events the story was based on.

4) I mostly ignored props, calendars, and other set decorations. Occasionally they're useful, but they contradict other clues really frequently.

5) Whenever a character has a different shirt or tie, that's a sign that it's a probably a different day.

6) I'll try to give the characters days off, preferably on Saturdays and Sundays. In particular, trial scenes shouldn't happen on weekends or holidays. (However, see rule 2)

Other notes
- Titles are color-coded by episode, to make it easier to see how they fit together.
- Bold episode titles indicate the beginning or end of an episode, for emphasis.
- The timecodes are shaded, so you can see at a glance what part of the episode this is. The first scenes are in blue and the last scenes are in red, to match the colors of the opening credits.
- Many of the timecodes are slightly off. When I ripped my DVDs, somehow the episodes got slightly shorter.
- For some episodes, I wrote down which ties characters are wearing. It helped me track which scenes take place on different days. Color words are abbreviated. "K" means black.
- "***OFF***" means that a character might have that day off. I've confirmed that they don't appear in those scenes.
- Some dates are marked "***OFF***" too, when there are no scenes on that day. I've included those dates to give a sense of how time passes.
- Bold dates are the ones from the title cards. Underlined dates are solid dates, based on dialog or multiple costume changes. Other dates are guesses.

"Next Match" sheet
This is a separate, related project. The idea was to match the calendar each episode uses to the next time that variety of calendar will happen IRL. For example, "Jurisdiction" starts on Monday, January 4th. Later scene cards show that it's a non-leap year. 2021 is also a non-leap-year where January 4th is a Monday.

By contrast, "Silence" won't have a matching calendar until 2048!
Hello, I am French. I searched at the end of the oceans to find the crossovers.
And I found a lot of them and it can help you in your timelines

Titre : Chicago franchise (2012-)
Chicago Fire (2012-)
Chicago Police (2014-)
Chicago Med (2015-)
Chicago Justice (Terminé en 2017)
Titre : Law & Order franchise (1990-)
New York, police judiciaire (1990–)
New York, unité spéciale (1999-)
Homicide: film(2000)
New York, section criminelle (Terminé en 2011)
New York, cour de justice ( Terminé en 2006)
Paris enquêtes criminelles (terminé en 2007)
Law & Order (2007 — 2011)
Londres, police judiciaire (2009 - 2014)
Los Angeles, police judiciaire (2010–2011)
Law and Order True Crime (2017)
Law & Order: Organized Crime (2021-)
Law & Order: Hate Crimes (bientôt)
Titre : FBI franchise (201:cool:
FBI (2018 – Présent)
FBI: Most Wanted (2020 -)
FBI: International (2021 -)
Titre : X-Files franchise(1993-)
X-Files : Aux frontières du réel (1993 – 1998)
Millénaire (1996-1999)
The Lone Gunmen (2001)
Titre : Walker Franchise (1993-)
Walker, Texas Ranger (1993 – 2005)
Demain à la une (Early Edition) (1996 – 2000)
Flic de Shanghai (Martial Law) (1998 – 2000)
Le Successeur (Sons of Thunder) (1999)
Reboot
Walker: Independence A venir
Walker (2021-)
Demain à la une (Early Edition)
Titre : Autres Séries de Wolf (1994-)
New York Undercover (1994-1998)
Deadline (2000)
Arrest & Trial (2000)
Crime & Punishment (2002)
In Plain Sight (2008-2012)
Luther (2010-) - (2021 -)
The Wire (2002-2008)
Jo (2013)
Party of Five (1994 – 2000) – (2020-2021)
Conviction (2006)
The Practice (1997-2004)
N.Y.P.D. Blue (1993-2005)
The White Shadow (1978-1981)
Sur écoute (The Wire) (2002 – 2008)
Trapper John, M.D. (1979-1986)
Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)
Chicago Hope (1994-2000)
Titre : Dragnet /Adam 12 Franchise (1968 -2004)
Dragnet (1952-1959)Dragnet '67 (1967-1970)
Adam 12 (1968-1975)Adam 12 (1989-1990)
Emergency (1972-1977)
Sierra (1974)
Titre : Tom Fontana (1982-2000)
St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)
Oz (1997-2003)
Homicide: Life On The Street (1993-1999)
The Beat (2000)
Titre : Boston Franchises (1953-2008)
Private Secretary (1953-1957)
Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
Gideon's Crossing (2000-2001)
Boston Public (2000-2004)
Boston Legal (2004-2008)
Titre : Other Occidental series (1955-)
The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp (1955 - 1965)
Cheyenne (1955-1963)
Maverick (1957-1962)Brett Maverick (1981-1982)
Have Gun Will Travel (1957-1963)
Bat Masterson (1958-1961)
Bronco (1958-1962)
L'Homme à la carabine (1958-1963)
Law Of The Plainsman (1959-1962)
The Westerner (1960)
Kung Fu (1972-1996)Kung Fu - The Legend Continues (1992-1996)
Reboot
Kung Fu (2021-)
1950
I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1951-1967)
The Danny Thomas Show/Make Room For Daddy (1953-1965)
Private Secretary (1953-1957)
1960
The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)
The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)
The Joey Bishop Show (1961-1965)
The Lucy Show (1962 - 1968)
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964-1970)
I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970)
Mayberry R.F.D. (1968-1971)
1970
Make Room For Granddaddy (1970-1971)
The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)
M*A*S*H (1972-1983)AFTERMASH (1983-1984)
Hello, Larry (1979-1980)
The White Shadow (1978-1981)
Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986)
1980
Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)
Cheers (1982-1993)
It's Gary Shandling's Show (1988-1990)
Murphy Brown (1988-1998)
The Famous Teddy Z (1989-1990)
L.A. Law (1986-1994)
The Tortellis (1987)
Beverly Hills Buntz (1987-1988)
Tattinger's (1988-1989)
Coach (1989-1997)
Nick And Hillary (1989)
1970
Wings (1990-1997)
Seinfeld (1990-1998)
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (1990-1996)
Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Blossom (1991-1995)
Cop Rock (1990)
Civil Wars (1991-1993)
Mad About You (1992-1999)
Picket Fences (1992-1996)
Bob (1992–1993)
Mad About You (1992-1999)
Love And War (1992-1995)
N.Y.P.D. Blue (1993-2005)
Frasier (1993-2004)
Frasier (1993-2004)
The John Larroquette Show (1993-1996)
The Nanny (1993-1999)
Grace Under Fire (1993-1998)
Thunder Alley (1994-1995)
Ellen (1994-1998)
Friends (1994-2004)
These Friends Of Mine (1994)
Ellen (1994-1998)
Hope And Gloria (1995-1996)
The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)
The Single Guy (1995-1997)
Caroline In The City (1995-1999)
Can't Hurry Love (1995-1996)
Hope And Gloria (1995-1996)
The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)
Public Morals (1996)
Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)
Buddies (1996)
Cosby (1996-2000)
Ink (1996-1997)
Soul Man (1997-1998)
The King Of Queens (1998-2007)
Becker (1998-2004)
Norm/The Norm Show (1999-2001)
2000
Joey (2004-2006)
The Geena Davis Show (2000-2001)
 

Tribble314

Active Member
Hello, I am French. I searched at the end of the oceans to find the crossovers.
And I found a lot of them and it can help you in your timelines

Thanks, Bliddry. When I did season 1, I had plans to include other shows in the same universe, but not right now.

Once I finish season 21, I'll see how I feel. Maybe I'll go back to earlier seasons. Maybe I'll do the 2021-22 seasons of SVU and Organized Crime. Most likely though, I'll go back to my Steven Universe project instead.
 

Tribble314

Active Member
The 3-part crossover pulled me back in, so I've finished season 21 and continued up through 22.05! I also started tracking SVU and Organized Crime, so the current seasons of those are in there too. It makes things look even messier, but you can filter them out.

A few things I noticed:
  • L&O season 21 spans 6 months (December 2021 - May 2022)
  • The first 5 episodes of L&O season 22 already span 6 months (April - October 2022)
    • Episodes 22.04 and 22.05 show Cosgrove and Shaw as partners in April and June, although they didn't meet until July, in OC 3.01.
  • Each series takes a different approach to dates and continuity:
    • L&O: Each case takes months, so the episode dates overlap heavily. Despite this, it's mostly episodic.
    • SVU: Each case takes a week or two, with very small gaps between them. Moderate serialization.
    • OC: Heavy serialization, where a string of consecutive cases make a mini-arc. They make it very hard to find dates, and don't use the traditional scene cards at all.
      • 3.01 gets a date by being part of a crossover.
      • The 3.02-3.04 arc has only one firm date, on a headstone.
        • Strangely, the headstone seems to have already been placed the day after the murder. I'd have liked to space that out a bit, but the context makes that impossible.
      • I haven't placed 3.05 yet. Hopefully the rest of the arc will give me something! It's in its own sheet for now.
 
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Tribble314

Active Member
I've added two simplified viewing orders, just for the current season. Does anybody have a preference?

Simpler:
  • Each L&O episode is split into a "police" half and a "district attorney" half.
    • I moved "police" half of 22.04 and 22.05 to after Shaw's "first official day on the squad" in 22.02
  • Organize Crime episodes are grouped by arc.
  • SVU episodes are treated normally
  • Everything is sorted by when the final scene takes place.
Simplest:
  • L&O episodes are treated as whole episodes. For placement purposes, the "police" half is ignored.
There's a benefit to keeping L&O episodes together, because you don't have to remember as many plotlines at once. I do like showing that they overlap, though.
 

Tribble314

Active Member
Bliddry said:
bonjour pouvez-vous créer un Sheets afin que nous puissions suivre votre travail. Je pense qu'avec toi on peut mieux comprendre cet univers, cet arc. s'il vous plaît
If you're not familiar with the Law & Order franchise at all, I recommend using the order in the "Simplest" sheet. I think these three episodes are a good place to start:
  • Law & Order - 22.02 "Battle Lines"
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - 24.02 "The One You Feed"
  • Law & Order: Organized Crime - 3.02 "Everybody Knows the Dice Are Loaded"
There's not too much backstory in those episode, and you'll get to know how each series is different.

As an alternative, I found this spreadsheet that includes everything except the current season. I think it's in airdate order. That's not quite the same as chronological order, but everything will still make sense.

If you're already familiar with the original Law & Order, you could try the "Simpler" sheet instead. I'm interested to hear how that works!

Does that answer your question?
 
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Tribble314

Active Member
I thank you for your information. I send you my links where I start to create my part of my passion.
Nice! I see you have a few watch orders that no one here has done yet.

I want to make things clearer, so I've made a few changes:
  • Added Law & Order season 1 to the both watch orders.
  • Added SVU season 23 and Organized Crime season 2 to both watch orders. These are tentative placements, because I haven't watched them yet.
  • Added year markers to both watch orders.
  • Divided the day-by-day spreadsheets by year.
 

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