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"Law and Order" Premieres a New Stomping Ground: Los Angeles

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Creator Dick Wolf talks about the end of "Law & Order" and the debut of the latest franchise, "Law & Order: Los Angeles"

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After 20 seasons and 456 episodes against the iconic backdrop of New York City, Wednesday night's premiere of "Law and Order: Los Angeles" will drastically alter America's most beloved legal procedural.

Not since Joe Torre jumped the Yankees ship for the Los Angeles Dodgers has there been such a Tinseltown kerfuffle about a bi-coastal move (nevermind that whole Dodgers move before the 1958 baseball season).

While the skeptics would say that New York itself was such an integral character on the show that it cannot possibly survive amidst palm trees, don't expect the show's creators to take any West Coast bashing lying down (unless they were tanning of course).

Show-runner and executive producer Rene Balcer took exception to a question at the show's press day which suggested that Los Angeles was "not as interesting" a city as New York for the setting.

"The essential difference between New York and L.A. is New York is a big stew of people.  It really is the melting pot," said Balcer.

The new show will work around that by expanding their new melting pot to cover all the spread out neighborhoods of Los Angeles. This show will not be about just Hollywood or Beverly Hills.

"L.A. is a mosaic of communities," said Balcer. "Part of the fun of these shows is going to focusing on each separate community, a separate piece of the mosaic."

Executive Producer Blake Masters said the show will travel to every L.A. corner to fill out a full picture.

"The original mothership was confined to Manhattan, whereas we have all of L.A. County," he said. "We can go to Koreatown for an episode.  We can go to East L.A. for an episode. Then we can go to the beach for an episode."

Yes, the beach. He said beach. It's a little hard to picture for "Law and Order" purists. But it is the new reality.

The cast features an entirely new split of law and order. Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll will play the police detectives working the streets and, um, the odd beach.  Alfred Molina, Terrence Howard and Regina Hall will play deputy district attorneys.

Naturally, the big question will be how many celebrity cameos or storylines will be worked into the picture as well. While word on the street is that celebrity plotlines will be kept to a minimum, series creator Dick Wolf refused to take an  "oath" that he wouldn't go there.

"It's part of the L.A. mix," he said. "How can you do a show in L.A. without celebrity crime? It's not going to be every week, but that would be like saying we're going to be in New York and never deal with the financial community."

For those who cannot deal with the idea of an L.A. move, well there really is no option. The New York location is "history" said Wolf.

"That's business.  That's life.  Everything on television is born under a death sentence.  They just don't tell you the date of execution," he said.  "We had one of the greatest runs in the history of the business with the mothership."

"But we are here today to talk about the future, and basically the past is the past," he added. "This is a new show."

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