Jill Hennessy as Claire Kincaid
Jill Hennessy began her journey on the show Law & Order and she was the first of many women to play the role of an assistant district attorney. The show commenced in 1993 and we’ve seen Jill play the powerful character of Claire Kincaid for three whole seasons.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched Law & Order, Jill was last seen in the 2017 project ‘Shots Fired’ as Alicia Carr. If you haven’t watched Law & Order yet, my advice to you is ‘WATCH IT’. In this piece we are looking at characters of Law & Order, then and now.
Sam Waterston wasn’t the original choice for the series, but he did make it as Jack McCoy for Law & Order in 1994. The guy is incredible, if you have watched the show, you’ll know what I am talking about. Gradually he became one of the main in the series and played the character of Executive Assistant District Attorney until the show’s finale in 2010.
Following his success in the 16-year-old series, Waterston has worked with in the newsroom as director, Charlie Skinner. Currently starring in Grace and Frankie, looks like Waterston really MADE IT.
Carey Lowell As Jamie Ross
Former wife of Richard Gere, Carey Lowell has not quite left the courtroom as she’s been entangled in a bitter divorce with the former Hollywood heartthrob.
Interestingly Carey began her journey on the show in 1996 and she first appeared as the Assistant District Jamie Ross, a role that she played until 2001. Most recently seen starring in the film C Street, as Magnolia Fallon in 2017.
Jesse L. Martin As Ed Green
Jesse L. Martin first became the part of Law & Order in early 1999. His character played the role of Jerry Orbach’s investigative partner. Martin continued to play Green for a decade and he finally left the in 2009, a year before the series wrapped.
Martin’s life changed post Law and order. Law & Order made him a bonafide television star. Since then, he has gone on to play yet another detective in the CW show, The Flash, as Detective Joe West.
Carolyn McCormack As Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
Carolyn McCormack made her debut as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on Law & Order in 1991. She was cast in the series when producers realized they needed women in the show.
She functioned as the police psychologist, but the creators of the show were never quite sure how best to utilize her character, and she was demoted to just being a recurring presence, causing her to leave the show in season 7. She would continue to appear sporadically until 2013. In 2017, she appeared in Maggie Black.
Chris Noth As Mike Logan
Famously known as “Mr. Big” on ‘Sex and the City’, Chris Noth first made a name for himself playing Detective Mike Logan in the early years of Law & Order. He appeared as Mike Logan for 5 years, from the show’s premiere in 1990 until 1995. Following up on his success as the on again off again Mr. Big, he portrayed another husband for 7 years on The Good Wife. He played Don Ackerman in Manhunt: Unibomber this year.
S. Epatha Merkerson As Anita Van Buren
S. Epatha Merkerson as Anita Van Buren is the most featured actor on Law & Order. She began her run on the show in 1991. Early 2015 she started appearing in the Chicago series, as Sharon Goodwin, a role she has played on Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD, which pays homage in it’s procedural format to shows like Law & Order.
Steven Hill As Adam Schiff
Another Law & Order original cast member, Steven Hill first began his acting career on television as early as 1949. When Law & Order first went into production, he played district attorney Adam Schiff until he retired in 2000. Producers cast Hill because as a veteran television actor, he added prestige to the new series, and they often took his suggestions on the direction his character should be taking. Hill passed away in 2016 at the age of 94.
Leslie Hendrix As Dr. Elizabeth Rogers
Leslie Hendrix was one of lead females to be cast in a featured role on Law & Order. She joined the cast as Dr. Elizabeth Rogers in 1992 and remained with the original incarnation of the show until the series wrapped in 2010, but also took time to appear in several of the show’s spin offs, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, from 1999 to 2000, as well as one episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury in 2005, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She now plays Kathryn on Gotham!
Selenis Leyva As Mariluz Rivera
Although Selenis Leyva is better known today as motherly inmate, Gloria Mendoza on the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, she’s used to be on the other side of the prison.
Selenis played detective Mariluz Rivera on Law & Order beginning in 1999, and stayed with the show until the series wrapped in 2010. During that time, her character also made a crossover appearance on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which she followed up with a run on the series Blue Bloods.
Annie Parisse As Alexandra Borgia
Annie Parisse joined the cast of Law & Order cast in 2002 as Alexandra Borgia, a role she played for 4 years until 2006. However, she has acted in different television shows since Law & Order wrapped up. In the beginning of last year, she played Sam in the new Netflix television series, Friends from College.
Richard Brooks As Paul Robinette
Richard Brooks started his run on Law & Order in 1990 when the series first went into production. He stayed with the show full time through 1993, when the producers decided to get more female leads into the show, Dick Wolf decided to let him go. He wasn’t entirely thrown off the cast, Brooks continued to reprise his role as Paul Robinette in guest appearances through 2006. More recently, he is see on screen as Patrick Patterson in Being Mary Jane.
Richard Belzer As John Munch
John Munch was an iconic character played by Richard Belzer during the original run of Law & Order, as well as Law & Order: Trial by Jury and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but has also appeared as John Munch on The Beat, Arrested Development, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, 30 Rock, and the Netflix series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. His last Law & Order: Special Victims Unit appearance was in 2016.
It was almost like Richard Belzer’s John Munch was crucial to his identity.
Michael Moriarty As Ben Stone
Michael Moriarty was one of the original actors chosen to be on the team of prosecutors in the early days of Law & Order. He played Executive Assistant District Attorney Benjamin “Ben” Stone from 1990 until 1994, when he quit the show after making inflammatory comments that the producer, Dick Wolf, which was found unacceptable.
Moriarty was able to continue working, however, and appeared in a number of TV series and films, until he was cast in PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal in 1997. His last film appearance was in 2012.
Freema Agyeman As Alesha Phillips
Freema Agyeman played Junior Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips in Law & Order: UK for three years. She was praised for her role in the show, and eventually crossed over into U.S. TV. Since leaving the show in 2012, she has starred in the Sex and the City prequel show The Carrie Diaries, as well as the hit Netflix show Sense 8. She has also remained a big hit in the UK, portraying the companion of the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, Martha Jones.
Liz Larson As CSU Tech Jessica Reed
Liz Larson is one of the oldest members on Law & Order, started out in 1992. Playing CSU Tech Jessica Reed periodically for 15 years, before ending her run in 2007. From 2000 until 2002, she also played Attorney Regal in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and made a single cameo in 2003 as a character named Frieda Merced in Law & Order: Criminal Intent. More recently, she played Sheryl Weinstein in the 2016 TV mini series, Madoff, that dramatized the real events surrounding Bernie Madoff’s rise and fall.
George Dzundza As Max Greevey
George Dzundza was originally cast in the 1988 Law & Order pilot to star alongside Chris Noth, as the senior police detective. The producers chose him because they felt like they could see him as the kind of cop they’ could ride with. Dzundza became difficult to work with when he realized it was an ensemble cast and he departed after only a year. He was last seen in the TV movie Danni Lowinski in 2011.
Georgia Taylor As Kate Barker
Georgia Taylor played prosecutor Kater Barker on Law & Order: UK. Despite her young looks, her character was one of the most confident among the lot. In her final appearance on the show, it revealed that she had an estranged sister and she spent the episode tracking her down. In more recent times, Taylor has reprised her role as Toyah Battersby in the British soap opera Coronation Street. She lives in Bristol with her co-acting partner Mark Letheren.
Harriet Walter As Natalie Chandler
British actress Harriet Walter played detective inspector Natalie Chandler in the first four seasons of Law & Order: UK. She was the boss of main characters Ronnie Brooks and Matt Devlin and was the ultimate devil’s advocate in their investigations. Amazingly, she became a Dame in 2011 for her services to British drama. Another one of her biggest acting honors came in 2015 when she made a memorable cameo as Chewbacca’s nurse in the space opera blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Kathryn Erbe As Alexandra Eames
Kathryn Erbe never quite made it onto the original incarnation of Law & Order, but she was a core cast member of Law & Order: Criminal Intent from 2001 to 2011 as Alexandra Eames, a role she also reworked on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Prior to Law & Order, Erbe played Shirley Bellinger on the TV series Oz from 1998 until 2003. After the series wrapped, she has appeared in small roles in a number of films. Lastly seen in The Sinner.