Whether you prefer SVU or have a taste for Criminal Intent, there's no denying the greatness of the "mothership" of Law & Order. Sadly, the show as we know it comes to an end tonight and while fans will be able to continue following the stories when the show re-ups in the fall in L.A., for New Yorkers, the program's cancellation leaves a much greater void than an hour-long Monday night time slot. Here's who really loses when Law & Order shutters.

  • The Actors  In a New York Times op-ed today, two-time Tony-nominated actress Jan Maxwell recounts the times she, and most of the theatrical community in New York, have appeared on Law & Order. "For two decades the show has been a staple gig for New York actors, a reliable way to make money between stage roles" she says. "Not only did it give us stage actors a temporary job, but it also employed old theater pros, like Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston, in leading roles."
  • The City  When the show announced its cancellation over a week ago, New York Magazine writer Adam K. Raymond figured out Law & Order's economic impact on New York. "According to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, Law & Order provided about 4,000 jobs each year of its life and pumped $79 million into the economy annually," he says. "Over the course of its twenty-year run, the show spent around $1 billion. The show also led to new laws providing tax breaks to productions that are shot mostly in the city, which brought other productions and more money to New York."
  • The Writing  New York Daily News writer, David Hinckley says the show's cancellation marks the end of an era of fact-based crime television programs. "Even when a 'Law & Order' episode feels thin or recycled, which can happen after 20 years, the show sticks to its mission," he says. "It's always about the investigation of a crime and prosecution of the alleged perpetrator--a focus to which all TV crime shows these days do not stick."