‘Blood & Money’: Why ‘Law & Order’ Fans Will Want to Watch New Docuseries

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If you’re a fan of true crime and Law & Order, this new docuseries from Dick Wolf, Wolf Entertainment, and Alfred Street Industries is right up your alley.

Blood & Money takes real stories, real people, and real investigations of greed and murder and tells them through Wolf’s unique lens, utilizing signature Law & Order franchise elements. Each episode spotlights the detectives and prosecutors as they follow the money and pursue justice. Financial scandals that ended in bloodshed covered include billionaire Robert Durst, the Menendez brothers, notorious mother-son grifters Sante and Kenneth Kimes Jr., and con artist “Clark Rockefeller.”

TV Insider spoke exclusively with executive producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz to get the scoop on this new docuseries, premiering March 7 on CNBC and March 11 on Oxygen.

How did the concept of the show come about, specifically focusing on murders motivated by greed? And the title is perfect. 

Jane Lipsitz: We worked with Dick Wolf and Tom Thayer on Cold Justice originally. After that we had a really good relationship and so we went to lunch with Dick and he’s wanted to do an unscripted series based on Law & Order for a very long time. And so we were brainstorming ways to do that.

Dan Cutforth: It was a classic Hollywood scene of having lunch with Dick Wolf at the Polo Lounge, the way that great ideas have come around for years and years. This was something that Dick had in his head for a long time, not so much the money part of it specifically, but the idea of taking the Law & Order formula of telling the story of an investigation and then a courtroom drama as the second half and doing that in unscripted.

Lipsitz: Then we started to talk to CNBC about it and what’s the version of it that works for them — the financial was really important to that — so it sort of crystallized that we could do one series just based on murders motivated by wealth. And there’s a big Oxygen piece to this. The show is really much better for working with both networks, because there was [also] the Oxygen crime lens. It was a big collaboration.

Anyone who has any familiarity with Law & Order will recognize quite a bit — from the opening voiceover to the music to the title card to the narrator to the “Dun-Dun” to the location cards. How did you go about deciding how much you would infuse into the series?

Lipsitz: When we were thinking about what level of Law & Order branding to put into the series, all you need to do is the “Dun-Dun” and people know where you are. But a lot of series start with a cold open showing what’s going to happen in the episode, and we decided to start with that voice and that card because Dick Wolf’s brand is so powerful and the Law & Order brand is so powerful and has so many fans that we just wanted to ground people immediately. Then it was obviously a conversation with Dick about how much he was comfortable with. But we didn’t want to overdo it and just put it in for the sake of putting it in. So the locator cards, the VO with Steve [Zirnkilton], and all of that was motivated by story and what was appropriate as opposed to just like, let’s just put it in willy-nilly so it feels like the Law & Order brand.

Cutforth: Dick is a very meticulous thinker as well as a producer in terms of how he thinks about how crime stories are told. So we felt a great sense of responsibility to have the potential to be able to tap into what he’s built over the years with the Law & Order franchise and be able to use those elements. We were really excited that Dick embraced the show in the way that he did.

Lipsitz: We spent a long time trying to get one episode in good shape in the early days so that we could send it to Dick and he could look at it and it was a real nail biter for a few days, like, we hope this lives up to his expectation for the brand so that we can put in all this amazing branding. And he came back and he loved it.

How did you figure out which cases to feature and decide to start with Robert Durst?

Cutforth: The organizing principle that these are crimes usually committed by high net worth individuals is quite a distinctive niche in crime stories. So there were few things at play. We wanted to have a really strong financial element to the motive, and then we wanted great twists and turns in both the investigation and the courtroom story. The opportunity to tell some high profile stories through a slightly different lens was an important part of it as well. So there were actually a lot of boxes that we had to tick to make a case work for our series. The Durst story is [one] that some people know pretty well, but there’s an up-to-the-moment ending to the story that I think is not as well-known and people haven’t had a chance to see in the same way.

Lipsitz: The Jinx was huge, but I think that this episode of Blood & Money is going to be the first time that anyone has seen the end of that story with Durst. We were really excited we got to tell that story and premiere with it because it’s so recent and no one’s seen the end of it currently.

Are there any cases you wanted to feature but couldn’t for any reason?

Lipsitz: No, not really. Like Dan was saying, it requires so many different pieces to fall into place to make these episodes work. Who’s willing to talk, who are the witnesses, who are the important voices? Does the story have twists and turns? Is there enough of the wealth story? There were definitely some stories that were floating around but we separated those out, and then the ones that we ended up doing floated to the top because they did have all of those elements.

Cutforth: I am excited that we got to tell some pretty high-profile stories in this as well and that we were able to get the people that we needed to talk about it. The Menendez brothers case is obviously a very well-known case, but given a new relevance by the way that the TikTok era has embraced the story.

Speaking of ticking all those boxes, could you adapt this concept and maybe a different title for another motivation for murder?

Lipsitz: That would be our hope. We do feel like it has lots of possibilities for spinoffs and extensions. Obviously, unfortunately, there’s lots of murder out there and there’s lots of different reasons for why it happens, so we would love to do something, maybe Blood & Love.

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Cutforth: It is endlessly fascinating. And to be able to bring that element of wealth and what that means in terms of — not that this is the case in every single story — oftentimes people who have a lot of money, Durst being a great example, are able to get themselves literally out of jail just by putting together an incredible legal team. And it does up the stakes I think, in a lot of different ways for the investigators and the trial attorneys, the prosecutors.

Lipsitz: Yeah, I think with all the hype, with the Murdaugh murder, this idea of why when rich people kill is in great support of our series right now because people are so obsessed with that idea.

What surprised you the most about the cases, whether it’s something specific or just in general when putting together the show?

Cutforth: It is sort of a weird thing in talking about a series like this to talk about it as if it is just a story that didn’t happen to real people. We really have been conscious of the fact to try and bring those victims into focus as well-rounded human beings so that people really understand the tragedy of what happened to them. It’s a tricky line that you walk in all of these things.

You have to distance yourself in a way from the cases also though, while you’re telling them.

Lipsitz: Yeah, I think you have to distance yourself but also remain connected like Dan’s saying because you do want to honor the loss, the loss to their families, the impact that it has. And so I think you have to stay enough emotionally connected that you can convey those things while then also distancing yourself enough to tell the details of the story and try and look at it as a piece of entertainment. So it is a fine line that we have to walk as storytellers.

One thing that’s amazing is these people with so many resources and the things that they could do, the fact that they constantly get caught, some of the dumb mistakes that they make are actually kind of shocking. And then you just wonder, somewhere deep down, do they actually want to get caught?

What are you hoping viewers take away from the show?

Cutforth: I think for me and Jane, really any show that we do, it really is about telling stories of real human lives. In a lot of ways, this series is a sort of celebration of the excellent work that detectives and prosecutors do. One of the good things about this series is that we are talking about justice being served.

What you really do take away from this series is every episode you’re introduced to a different group of law and ordered professionals who are incredibly committed to what they do and go to enormous lengths to bring justice. You can also see that even years later, they’re still very emotionally affected by what happened. There are a number of times when these hardened professionals are in tears thinking about what they experienced in these cases. So when we talk about us having to be dispassionate, and you definitely do, that’s something that they have to do as well as detectives and prosecutors, but you can see that the human impact of these stories is very tangible.

Lipsitz: You do see a lot of crime shows where it’s mostly focused on the detectives, but it was really [important] and fascinating to hear the trial lawyers talk about the second piece of it that doesn’t always get as much exposure or credit or storytelling. So we were really excited to be able to tell that narrative. And I think the other thing is just obviously there’s a really high bar with the Law & Order brand and so we’re just hoping that people feel that this show delivers on what Dick Wolf has created in the unscripted space.

Blood & Money, Series Premiere, Tuesday, March 7, 10/9c, CNBC (Saturday, March 11, 9/8c, Oxygen)