(written from a Production point of view)
René Balcer (born 9 February 1954; age 66) is the Canadian writer and Emmy Award-winning producer who wrote the initial teleplay for the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "Power Play". This is his only Star Trek credit to date.
Balcer is best known as the executive producer and frequent writer of the long-running NBC series Law & Order. He started out as a writer on the show in 1991 (when Paul Sorvino was a regular) and was named producer in 1994. He became co-executive producer the following year, and executive producer the year after that. He has received seven Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Drama Series for Law & Order, winning the award (with the rest of the show's creative team) in 1997.
Balcer also has development credit and was executive producer on the spin-off series, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which premiered in 2001. He relinquished his control on this series in 2006, although he remained as a consulting producer. Balcer has also co-written an episode for the only other ongoing Law & Order spin-off series, Special Victims Unit.
In addition to his Emmy Award, Balcer won a Writers Guild of America Award for co-writing the Law & Order episode "Entrapment". He also won a PGA Award and an International Monitor Award as a producer of Law & Order and he has won four Edgar Allan Poe Awards (or Edgars) as a writer for both Law & Order and Criminal Intent. He also won an Edgar for co-writing the second episode of the series NYPD Blue, which starred Gordon Clapp and Sharon Lawrence.
Balcer's other writing credits include the TV movies Out on the Edge (1989, starring Dakin Matthews and Natalia Nogulich) and Stranger in the Family (1991, starring Teri Garr). He also developed a new series for French television entitled Paris enquêtes criminelles (Paris Criminal Inquiries), which aired between 2006 and 2008.