In the world of television crime shows, viewers recognize this long-running classic through two separate yet equally important features. The gritty theme song that introduces the program and the “doink doink” that heralds new scenes. This is that sound effect’s story.
For 20 years, we’ve found a strange comfort in watching Law & Order‘s detectives and prosecutors fight crime in New York City. The drama just wouldn’t be the same without the “doink doink,” that one-of-a-kind auditory cue that plays over a black screen as the location and date of the next scene is displayed in white text. Perhaps you know it as the “chung chung.” Or the “dong dong.” Or the “thunk thunk.” But whatever you call it — and whether it brings to mind a jail cell shutting or a gavel pounding or something else entirely — you know what we’re talking about. According to IMDB, the effect was “created by combining close to a dozen sounds, including that of a group of monks stamping on a floor.”