12 Standalone Dick Wolf TV Shows, From ‘Gideon Oliver’ to ‘On Call’
TV procedural mastermind Dick Wolf continues to be one of Hollywood’s most prolific creators. Mere hours after NBC announced a straight-to-series order for another Law & Order spinoff from the Emmy-winning producer, IMDb TV announced that it was going into business with Wolf for the half-hour drama On Call.
Our detective work shows Wolf used to churn out a lot of standalone scripted series, though only one lasted longer than a season, as you’ll see below. (FYI, we’re not counting New York Undercover, Deadline, or Conviction, since those shows all exist in the Law & Order universe.)
Here’s the lowdown on the standalone shows Wolf has created or co-created in his career so far.
Gideon Oliver (1989)
For five installments of the ABC Mystery Movie series, Lou Gossett Jr. of An Officer and a Gentleman fame played the title character of this show, a Columbia University anthropology professor moonlighting as a globe-trotting crimefighter.
Christine Cromwell (1989–90)
This entry in the ABC Mystery Movie series, meanwhile, starred Charlie’s Angels actress Jaclyn Smith as a public defender-turned-financial advisor who investigates crimes in her elite social and professional circles.
Nasty Boys (1990)
With a cast featuring future Law & Order star Benjamin Bratt and future NYPD Blue star Dennis Franz, this NBC series followed a group of hooded Vegas vice cops based on the North Las Vegas Police Department’s narcotics unit.
Sort of like a proto-Third Watch, this ABC series starred John Mahoney, Wesley Snipes, and David Caruso as the members of Harlem Eastside Life-Saving Program, a coalition of cops, firefighters, and paramedics.
Mann & Machine (1992)
Wolf recruited future Law & Order star S. Epatha Merkerson for this NBC show, his sole foray into the sci-fi television genre. The actress played a police captain who supervised a crimefighting robot-human duo, played by Yancy Butler and David Andrews.
South Beach (1993)
After the decline of Mann & Machine, Butler re-teamed with Wolf for this NBC show, playing a con woman who is coerced into working for the feds by a shadowy government official (played by Smallville’s John Glover).
The Wright Verdicts (1995)
Tony-winning actor Tom Conti led the cast of this CBS drama, playing a defense attorney—and, surprise, occasional prosecutor—with a knack for courtroom theatrics.
Swift Justice (1996)
A Navy SEAL-turned-NYPD officer loses his job in the pilot episode of this detective drama and becomes a private eye, with help from his former partner (played by future CSI star Gary Dourdan) and his cop father. UPN canceled the show amid complaints about the onscreen violence. (But look at little Jennifer Garner in this clip!)
With a cast featuring John Slattery, Adrian Pasdar, and Dylan Baker, this CBS show tracked the investigations of the Manhattan Federal Prosecutor’s Office, led by Blair Brown’s U.S. Attorney character. Feds lasted only six episodes, but it was the first TV show to be broadcast in a letterboxed 16:9 aspect ratio.
Multiply South Beach by three and you get this NBC crime drama, which centered on a trio of ex-cons who get paroled from prison to work cases on behalf of the FBI. Future Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Ice-T played a lead character named Ice… and he also co-created the show!
ABC’s reboot of the classic 1950s detective drama had future Modern Family star Ed O’Neill take over for Jack Webb in the role of Det. Joe Friday. The show got a second season—after getting retooled as an ensemble drama called L.A. Dragnet—with Eva Longoria, Roselyn Sanchez, and Christina Chang joining the cast.
Per Deadline, this upcoming IMDb TV series “follows a pair of police officers on patrol in Long Beach, California … as they respond to a new radio call, arriving on the scene to resolve an incident.”