Law & Order was a staple of prime-time TV for a full 20 years, spawning several spinoff series that are still running today, and earning several awards. We all love it, but have you ever wondered where your favorite characters from the show have ended up? Let’s find out!
Chris Noth – Det. Mike Logan
Chris Noth was one of the show’s first main detectives, playing Det. Mike Logan from 1990 to 1995 (who late came back for a few years on Law & Order: Criminal Intent). However, avid TV viewers probably know him best as Carrie Bradshaw’s better half from Sex and the City. He appeared through the entire series and both movies, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and has had recurring roles on shows like The Good Wife, Tyrant, and Manhunt: Unabomber.
Jill Hennessy – D.A. Claire Kincaid
Appearing as the show’s second D.A. from 1993 to 1996, Hennessy has continued to have several leading roles in various TV shows. She played Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh in Crossing Jordan for six years, and has appeared in shows like Luck, Madam Secretary, and The Good Wife.
Carey Lowell – Assistant D.A. Jamie Ross
Lowell had already appeared in movies like License to Kill and Sleepless In Seattle before she began her 5 years on Law & Order as Jamie Ross (who she would reprise her role of for Law & Order: Trial By Jury). She’s appeared in a few smaller roles since, but is probably best known these days for practicing Buddhism along with her husband, Richard Gere.
Angie Harmon – Assistant D.A. Abbie Carmichael
With a successful modeling career under her belt before breaking into acting, Harmon appeared in shows like Baywatch Nights and C-16: FBI before her three year run on Law & Order starting in 1998. She’s remained a steadily-working actress, regularly appearing on shows like Women’s Murder Club and Rizzoli & Isles, and even voicing Commissioner Barbara Gordon (the former Batgirl) on Batman Beyond.
Elisabeth Rohm – Assistant D.A. Serena Southerlyn
Having already appeared in shows like Bull and Angel, Rohm joined the cast of Law & Order in 2001. After leaving in 2005, she went on to even more prominent roles in shows like Heroes and Jane The Virgin, as well as several movies like American Hustle and Joy.
Fred Thompson – Arthur Branch
A former real-life prosecutor, Thompson was actually serving as a Tennessee State Senator during his time on Law & Order and its offshoots! He left the show in 2008 to run for President, and when that didn’t work out, he started up a radio talk show instead. He still acts though, and has been in movies like Secretariat and Sinister.
Keep reading to find out what Jack McCoy’s been up to since…
Jesse L. Martin – Det. Ed Green
Appearing on the show for nearly a decade as Det. Lenny Briscoe’s (who we’ll hear more about soon) junior partner, Martin has continued to act as a star of both stage and screen. He’s repeatedly reprised his role of Tom Collins in the musical Rent in the theater, and been a regular on shows like Smash, The Philanthropist, and The Flash.
Michael Moriarty – Asst. Exec. D.A. Benjamin Stone
Having appeared in several movies like Pale Rider and Troll, Moriarty was one of the first regular actors to appear on the show. After leaving in 1993, he declared himself a political exile from the United States and moved to Canada, where he has continued to work as both an actor and an accomplished jazz pianist. His acting credits include roles in Shiloh, Emily of New Moon, and The 4400, and he has released three jazz albums.
Sam Waterston – Asst. Exec. D.A. Jack McCoy
Moriarty’s replacement, Waterston played Jack McCoy from 1994 all the way through to 2010! He received both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor’s Guild award for the role, and has had a steady acting career both before and afterwards. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in The Killing Fields in 1984, and appeared in several major productions like Heaven’s Gate, The Newsroom, and Anesthesia.
Dann Florek – Capt. Don Cragen
Florek was one of the first actors cast at the show’s launch, but was fired in 1993 when NBC requested more female cast members. Since then, he’s reprised the role for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and appeared on shows like Smart Guy and Roseanne.
S. Epatha Merkerson – Capt. Anita Van Buren
Merkerson was a cast member of the show longer than any other actor, staying on it from 1993 to 2010! She’s been in plenty of other shows like The Closer and the Chicago series, as well as movies like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Black Snake Moan.
Dennis Farina – Det. Joe Fontana
Regular big-screen mafioso Dennis Farina was already well-known for roles in movies like Snatch and Out of Sight before replacing Jerry Orbach’s Det. Lenny Briscoe in 2004. He was only on the show for two years, and continued acting until his death in 2013.
Jerry Orbach – Det. Lenny Briscoe
By far the most iconic member of the cast of Law & Order, Orbach portrayed hard-boiled cop Lenny Briscoe from a year after the show’s creation through to his untimely death in 2004. He was named a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in 2002, to which he joked “it means they can’t tear me down.”
Fun fact: he also voiced Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.