March 9, 2009 / 9:31 PM / 10 years ago

"Law & Order" first TV show to be filmed at UN

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters Life!) - U.S. television series Law & Order has become the first network television show allowed to film at the United Nations, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Monday.

Crew of NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” series were at U.N. headquarters on Manhattan’s East River on Saturday to film part of an episode to be broadcast March 24, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe told reporters.

“This collaboration marks the first occasion a network television show has been granted access to film at the United Nations,” she said. The episode “brings to the fore the themes of children in armed conflict as well as refugees,” she said.

The United Nations has typically stayed away from the spotlight of commercial television and cinema and has a history of refusing to allow the building to be used for commercial purposes. It turned down Alfred Hitchcock’s request to film in the delegates’ lounge for the 1959 “North by Northwest.”

But it allowed Sydney Pollack to shoot part of his 2005 film “The Interpreter,” starring Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, at the greenish blue skyscraper.

Pollack started filming in March 2004 — during the tenure of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan — and was given access not only to the lounge but also to the General Assembly, Security Council, carpeted corridors, back rooms and gardens.

Scenes for the “Law & Order” episode were filmed at the traffic circle outside the U.N. secretariat building, the visitors entrance plaza and the public lobby, Okabe said.

Executive producer of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Neal Baer said in a telephone interview that the U.N. had been open to filming the episode since the plot centers around a child soldier from northern Uganda.

The United Nations has been stepping up efforts in recent years to halt the recruitment of child soldiers in northern Uganda and elsewhere in Africa and around the world.

“We hope the show will have some impact, and will push leaders to take a stand,” Baer said.

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