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On a ‘90s roll, NBC will dramatize the Menendez brothers case for ‘Law & Order’ true crime series

Lyle Menendez listens to the defense's closing arguments in the murder retrial of him and his brother, Eric, in a Van Nuys courthouse in Los Angeles on Feb. 29, 1996. At left is Lyle Menendez's attorney Terri Towery.

Lyle Menendez listens to the defense’s closing arguments in the murder retrial of him and his brother, Eric, in a Van Nuys courthouse in Los Angeles on Feb. 29, 1996. At left is Lyle Menendez’s attorney Terri Towery.

(Nick Ut / AP)

NBC is the latest network to jump on the true crime bandwagon.

On Wednesday the network announced it is partnering with super-producer Dick Wolf for a true crime spinoff of the “Law & Order” franchise. The first, eight-episode season of the anthology series will focus on the notorious case of Erik and Lyle Menendez, who were eventually convicted of the 1989 murder of their wealthy parents.

Similar to the trial of O.J. Simpson, which was dramatized in FX’s widely praised anthology series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” the Menendez case was a media sensation in the early to mid-'90s, and the trial was broadcast on Court TV, captivating much of the nation. Lyle and Erik were just 18 and 21, respectively, at the time of the murders, and grew up in an affluent Cuban American family. The brothers argued that they had been the victims of sexual, physical and mental abuse at the hands of their parents.

The series is the latest offering in a growing trend of true crime fare on the small screen, including “The Jinx” and “Making a Murderer.” It also adds to Wolf’s ever-expanding fiefdom at NBC, which includes “Law & Order: SVU,” now in its 17th season, “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Med.”

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In a press statement, Wolf said he was “excited to extend the franchise with a scripted limited anthology series that focuses on a high-profile trial. There is no shortage of compelling real-life criminal cases, and the Menendez trial was more scintillating than most crime fiction.”

The Menendez case was also made into a television movie, “Menendez: Killing in Beverly Hills” in 1994.

Follow @MeredithBlake on Twitter.


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