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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

‘Law & Order’’s Dick Wolf on the WGA strike

Just before Christmas, I participated in a press conference with Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise, about the debut of the 18th season of the original series, which features two new cast members, Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roache. (You can read some of the conversation with the actors over at Film.com, and I’ll be previewing that debut next week.)

During the course of the conference, the inevitable topic of the writers’ strike came up. Here’s what Wolf, inarguably one of the most powerful people in television, had to say about it:

I think the strike is the worst thing that’s happened to the community in 20 years, since the last strike. Nobody ever wins a strike. This is a disaster for the television business much more than the feature business. And my sincerest hope is that people get their heads on straight, lock themselves in a room, and come out with a deal. It’s an absolute necessity.

I have a horrifying feeling that it’s going to be a lot longer unless this is solved very, very quickly, in the next ten days or two weeks, which I don’t see in the cards right now. It could be a horrifically long strike. I mean the last one was five months and two weeks.

If the strike drags on, would Dick Wolf Productions go out and make its own deal?

No, I think that you’re going to find that these side deals are going to be nonstarters. I fully believe that I think that it would lead to a whole different form of chaos.

I don’t own my negatives. So I don’t even know if I wanted to, whether I could sign an independent deal. I want the industry to go back to work. It’s not about me or my shows. It’s about the future of television.

And I am fortunate enough to know that these shows will go on no matter what the resolution of the strike. This is affecting literally tens of thousands of people who have no dog in the fight. And that’s the real tragedy here.

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