Many Canadians agree — it’s time to bring some Law & Order to Toronto.

It was announced Monday that Rogers’-owned Citytv is going to do just that by launching Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent in the spring of 2024.

Ten episodes of the still to be cast drama will be shot and produced in the GTA.

There was a time when a Law & Order Toronto series might have been met with derision. What are they going to cover — bike lane violations? Excessive littering?

Toronto the Good, however, is not so great of late when it comes to increased violence and public transit attacks. Canada’s largest city now has enough police headaches to satisfy the great American content king known as Dick Wolf.

Plans to bring a version of Wolf’s most famous brand north of the border have been in play for at least “a couple of years” according to Hayden Mindell, Senior Vice President, Television, Rogers Sports & Media. The deal was cinched with the involvement of Canadian companies Lark Productions and Cameron Pictures Inc., in association with Citytv.


Sister showrunners Amy and Tassie Cameron have worked TV’s crime beat before; both on CBC’s Pretty Hard Cases. Tassie’s credits, as a writer and executive producer, stretch back to Rookie Blue and Flashpoint.

“There are so many wonderful opportunities for Canadian stories to be told through a franchise that everybody loves,” says Mindell, who I spoke with Tuesday morning prior to Rogers’ brisk virtual 2023-24 UpFront presentation.

The launch of Law & Order Toronto is a savvy move for Citytv. The network is the one Canadian broadcaster to show an increase in viewership — up eight per cent — over the previous season.

Broadcast television is almost exclusively the home of franchise shows such as Law & Order, Chicago Fire/PD/Med and FBI dramas (all also part of the Dick Wolf empire). Other networks have spun off NCIS and 9-1-1. Beyond that, the traditional broadcast networks have survived the streaming era by mainly focusing on live special events, game and competition shows and professional sports.

Creating a Canadian extension of an American franchise is therefore straight out of the US network playbook. To cut through the clutter and attempt to get sampled, give viewers a new spin on a familiar brand.

“It’s especially meaningful when it is an iconic show such as Law & Order,” says Mindell. “These are stories that take place in your backyard but in a franchise you know and love. It’s easier to get peoples attention because there’s a level of trust there. Now we have to live up to it.”

Will the new series come with familiar references such as the “da-dum” audio cue and the familiar theme? The fine points still have to be worked out, says Mindell, “but there are definitely some format points that we want to be consistent with in the series.”

Mindell insisted Tuesday that ordering an ambitious scripted series such as Law & Order Toronto was not designed as a safeguard against the work stoppages currently on-going due to the writer’s strike in America. His plan for Citytv is to try and continue to do the best job with a few homegrown series such as Canada’s Got Talent (back for a third season in 2024 with a million-dollar prize) and Hudson & Rex (entering Season Six).

“We’re not going to aggressively get into doing a higher volume [of originals],” says Mindell. “We’d rather do a few things really well.”

A scene from The Golden Bachelor

Citytv will add four new imports to its fall schedule. Among them: The Irrational stars former L&O lead Jesse L. Martin as a professor of behavioural science who helps the police sort out their suspects. Found is a new missing-persons drama starring Shanola Hampton from Shameless. The Golden Bachelor will help older singles hand out roses in search of a second chance at love. Instead of partnering up in the hot tub, these gents will be on the look out for somebody who can’t resist the allure of Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune.

Returning to Citytv this fall, after a few years on other platforms, will be Dancing with the Stars as well as the Sunday animation block, including the 35th season of The Simpsons. Bob’s Burgers and Family Guy are also back on Citytv, where they’ll be joined by the new animated series Krapopolis. That one is from the twisted mind of Dan Harmon (Community) and it’s about a dysfunctional family of gods, humans and monsters set in ancient Greece.

If it’s a hit, look next season for Citytv to announce Krapopolis Kanada.

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