Is the New 'Law & Order' a Reboot? How the New Version Connects to the Original NBC Show

In this world of endless reboots and sequels, it was probably only a matter of time before Law & Order returned to our screens – especially when other classic procedurals like CSI began to return. And so it has, in a new NBC version that begins this February.

The last time there was a new episode of the NBC show it was 2010, and a lot has changed since then, both in the real world and on TV.

As such, you might have expected a new version of Law & Order to just reboot the entire show and start again with a new cast of police officers and attorneys. But that's not quite the direction the new show has taken.

The new version of the NBC series takes a number of things from the original, including some cast members who Law & Order fans will be pleased to see return.

Is the New Law & Order a Reboot?

Compared to other '90s and '00s reboots like the recent CSI: Vegas, Dexter: New Blood and ...And Just Like That (a reimagining of Sex and the City), Law & Order is less of a reboot, and more a direct continuation of the original.

While those shows were considered as Season 1 of their rebooted properties, official NBC press materials are listing the new episodes of Law & Order as Season 21 of the show.

The fact that the show is a direct continuation of the original can be seen right from the opening titles, which use the same theme tune and font as the original. And, yes, that classic "DUN-DUN" sound that takes us from one scene to another is back.

As star Sam Waterston told Entertainment Tonight: ​​"The show is very much the same, same story structure and all."

Which Cast Members Return in Law & Order Season 21?

Two main characters return to provide continuity from the 2010 Season 20. Grace and Frankie star Sam Waterston returns as Jack McCoy, a role he played in nearly 370 episodes of the show since joining in 1994. Also coming back is Black-ish's Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard, introduced in Season 18.

As you might expect, however, both have had some changes in their life. When he last saw Bernard, he was the junior detective to Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto). Now, he is the senior detective whose partner is Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan), a white cop with some prejudiced, reactionary views. As for McCoy, he is new the head district attorney, with a new staff of assistants. These include Hugh Dancy's Nolan Price, who in the first episode we see arguing with his boss about the different between what is legal and what is ethical.

Showrunner Rick Eid also hinted that more familiar faces will be turning up in the coming episodes.

He said at a recent Television Critics Association event: "You'll definitely see some familiar faces along the way. We're going to keep that, those names quiet right now... I think we definitely want to find ways to bring back several of our alumni."

Will the Show Cross Over With SVU and Organized Crime?

While no official crossovers have been announced yet, there's a very strong possibility that they will happen. Actor Cameron Manheim, who has a main role on the show now after appearing as three different characters on the show in the '90s, told ET: "All I can tell you is that my contract has crossovers written into it all over the place."

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay (who has already crossed over to Organized Crime herself) was even more forthcoming in teasing a crossover: "Dick has already told me that we're going to. So, it's just a matter of time."

Law & Order Season 21 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

law and order reboot
Anthony Anderson and Sam Waterston in "Law & Order." Both appeared in the original show. NBC