Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Jessica Burstein Photographs and Memorabilia
1940s-2017 (bulk 1970s-2012)
 PR 361

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 21, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series III. Law & Order, 1993-circa 2008. 10.6 Linear feet

Biographical / Historical

The television show "Law & Order" premiered on the NBC network on 13 September 1990. It would run for 20 seasons, until 2010, totalling 456 episodes, making it one of the longest running primetime TV series in American history. The one hour episodes would open with the discovery of a crime (typically a murder), with the balance of the time split between the police investigation and arrest of a suspect and the ensuing prosecution and trial. The show was so successful that it became a "brand" with spin-offs: "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (2001-2011), "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005-2006), "Law & Order: LA" (2010-2011), and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," which began in 1999 and remains on the air as of 2018. There was also a 1998 movie "Exiled: A Law & Order Movie," starring Chris Noth, who appeared on the TV show for its first five seasons.

Over the years, the show's cast constantly evolved. Some of its major longstanding stars, who appear in Burstein's photographs here, include S. Epatha Merkerson (17 seasons), Sam Waterson (16 seasons), Jerry Orbach (12 seasons), Steven Hill (10 seasons), and Jesse L. Martin (9 seasons).

In 1993, the producer of "Law & Order,"'s producer, Dick Wolf, approached Jessica Burstein to photograph the show's crime scenes, which she did over the course of the next several years. These were eventually formed into a book by Wolf and Burstein: "Law & Order: Crime Scenes," published by Barnes & Noble Books in 2003. In addition to her crime scene assignment, Burstein's role was also expanded to be a unit photographer for the show.

(The above note was based primarily on information from NBC's website and the introduction to Dick Wolf's crime scenes book.)

Scope and Contents

The series includes photographs, documents and memorabilia related to the show and spin-offs.

A large number of the photographs are of the show's set, cast, and crew. Individuals represented are, among others, cast members Steven Hill, Chris Noth, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, Ben Bratt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Dann Florek, Jill Hennessy, Jesse L. Martin, Carey Lowell, Angie Harmon, Bebe Neuwirth, Elisabeth Rohm, and Fred Thompson; guest stars William Kunstler, Fran Lebowitz, Laura Linney, and Elizabeth Ashley; producer Dick Wolf; and others. Some of the photographs are in color. Holds both 8x11 and 14x11 inch photographs.

Other photographs are of the crime scenes from various shows. These photographs depict the victim as presented in the show itself, along with images concerning the creation of the scene (make-up being applied, positioning and framing of the body, etc.). Book drafts, mock-ups, proposal, as well as the final published version of "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" are in the series.

The series holds a few documents including crew lists, a script and others. Some of these relate to "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." And the series holds some memorabilia. The documents and memorabilia are identified in the container list below.


The series is arranged by format, beginning with photographs, then documents and memorabilia.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 13 Photographs. Law & Order

Scope and Contents

Includes both 8x11 and 14x11 inch photographs of the show's set, cast, and crew. Some color.

Box: 14 Photographs. Law & Order

Scope and Contents

Primarily includes photographs of the set, cast and crew, with some crime scene photographs. Includes both 8x11 and 14x11, with some color. One color photograph of actor Christopher Lloyd as a magician (2008) is inscribed to Burstein and autographed.

Box: 32 Folder : 4 Photograph. Law & Order Cast on Jill Hennessy's Last Day (Flat box)
Folder: FF-3 Photographs. Law & Order. "The last goodbye. Jerry Orbach leaves Law & Order, May 2004."

Scope and Contents Note

Diptych, approximately 26x17 inches, on foamcore. Color photographs with Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin and S. Epatha Merkerson. Unframed by Alan Balicki, April 2018.

Box: 32 Folder : 1 Photographs. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. (Flat box)

Scope and Contents

Two large color photographs: "Set in Rain" (2005) and a pitbull arena/crime scene (undated).

circa 2005
Box: 15 Photographs. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes."

Scope and Contents

Primarily includes photographs, mock-ups, proofs, and other material related to the book "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" written by Dick Wolf, with photos by Burstein. Also a tear sheet and a publicity piece for an exhibition (2005) related to the book at George Eastman House. Some general cast shots are in this box as well.

Box: 23 Photographs. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" (8x10)

Scope and Contents Note

Holds the final book prints, used and not used.

Box: 22 Photographs. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" (8x10)

Scope and Contents

Holds photos of crime scenes, not necessarily used in the book.

Box: 32 Folder : 1 Photographs. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" (Flat box)

Scope and Contents

Diptych of color photographs of bloodied faces for crime scenes.

circa 2003
Folder: FF-2 Photographs. "Law & Order Crime Scenes." Oversize Photo Proof Sheets

Scope and Contents

Two large sheets with multiple photographs from the book.

Box: 27 Folder : 1 Documents. "Play Dead: The Law & Order Crime Scene Book"

Scope and Contents

Proposal for the crime scenes book.

circa 2003
Box: 27 Folder : 2-3 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" Text Drafts (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds various drafts of the text (circa 2003) and a partial list from NBC of summaries of shows shown in 1997.

1997, 2003
Box: 16 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes." Mock-up for Chapter 2
Box: 16 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes."

Scope and Contents

Book as published, but without covers.

Box: 16 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes"

Scope and Contents

A copy of the book as published.

Box: 27 Folder : 4 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes" Photo Logs
Box: 27 Folder : 5 Documents. "Law & Order: Crime Scenes." Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Three documents: a full page ad for the book in the New York Times; photocopy of a 1988 police report; reproduction of the script for the opening teaser of the episode "Oxymoron" of 2002; and publicity for a related exhibition at the Hudson River Museum (2005).

2003, 2005
Box: 27 Folder : 6 Documents. Law & Order. Cast, Crew and Set

Scope and Contents

Four documents: Season 15 2nd Yellow Final Crew List (2005); Pre-production schedule (13 September 2007); memo from Fred Berner re: "Season 18: The Revolutionary Evolution of Law & Order" (2008?); and crew call, signed by Sam Waterston (12 March 2009).

Box: 27 Folder : 7 Documents. Law & Order Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Five documents: a holiday party invitation (2004); a holiday card from Wolf Films (with a photo by Burstein) signed by Dick Wolf; a Special Collector's Issue of TV Guide on the occasion of Law & Order's 20th anniversary, with photos by Burstein and a specific section about her work on the set (2009); an Art Department Master List (undated); and an envelope with Law & Order/Wolf Films mailing label.

2004, 2009
Box: 27 Folder : 8 Documents. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Crew and Set

Scope and Contents

Five documents: Display permit(?) from New York City Mayor's Office for Season 5 filming; Yellow crew lists (Seasons 7 and 10); and Pink crew lists (Seasons 7 and 8).

Box: 27 Folder : 9 Documents. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Still Photo Shoot Requirements
2007 February-April
Box: 27 Folder : 10 Documents. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Full Pink Script for Episode "Trophy Wine"
2011 March 6
Box: 27 Folder : 11 Documents. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Book: "Last Looks: Season Ten"

Scope and Contents

Book with photographs and text by Burstein memorializing the cast and crew of Season 10. Signed by Burstein.

Folder: FF-2 Poster: Exiled: A Law & Order Movie

Scope and Contents Note

Burstein captioned on back "My poster for Exiled (N.Y. shots)" April 2018. Approx 24x30. Flattened by Alan Balicki, April 2018.

Box: 27 Folder : 12 Memorabilia. "Hot Set" Sign

Scope and Contents

Painted cardboard sign, presumably from the show set.

Box: 32 Folder : 1 Memorabilia. Stage crew safety sign from set (Flat box)
Box: 29 Memorabilia. Tee Shirts & Caps

Scope and Contents

Six tee shirts (three related to Criminal Intent, one from the movie  Exiled, two others related to the  Law & Order crew); nine caps (two commemorating the 250th and 300th episodes; five labeled for the  Special Victims Unit seasons 1999-2000 through 2002-2003, and the 100th episode in 2003-2004; two labeled for the  Criminal Intent show); and a throw pillow. One of the caps has a thank you tag signed by executive producer Dick Wolf and others.

circa 1999-2005
Box: 29 Memorabilia. Police Tape

Scope and Contents

One roll of yellow crime scene tape made for the exhibition at George Eastman House.

circa 2005
Box: 26 Memorabilia. ID cards

Scope and Contents

Two of Burstein's ID cards for the "Law & Order" set.


Return to Top »