S. Epatha Merkerson as Lt. Anita Van Buren on "Law & Order"

*There was hope that despite sagging ratings, “Law & Order” would stick around at least one more year so that it could set a record as the longest-running drama in television history – but that feat was of no concern to NBC.

E! News has confirmed that the network has cancelled the program, and this current 20th season will be its last.

“Law & Order,” which premiered in September of 1990 with stars george Dzundza and Chris Noth, would have passed “Gunsmoke” as the longest running TV drama. Waterston joined the cast in 1994 and gave the show some of its most memorable moments, along with the late Jerry Orbach.

Waterson stars in the current cast, alongside Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, Linus Roache, Alana De La Garza and S. Epatha Merkerson, who announced last month that this season would be her last after a 17-year run.

Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard

The series finale airs May 24, with no official closure, according to E! There have been five spinoff shows from the drama, including the upcoming “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” which NBC has ordered 13 episodes of for the fall.

Two of the spinoffs, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” are currently airing and will continue on.