“Law & Order”: The Final Cast Faceoff
Welcome back as we attempt to answer the hotly debated question once and for all: which was the best cast of Law & Order? We had you pick your faves from the first 10 seasons, and then 11-20. The votes are in! Which seasons made the grade? It’s no surprise that all of the top three picks included long-timers Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), and Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). Also no shocker that the jury is divided between Logan and Green for who is Briscoe’s best partner. But there were a few twists: Nora Lewin (Dianne Wiest) beat out Arthur Branch (Fred Thompson) as DA? Also not making the cut were popular ADAs Paul Robinette and Alex Borgia. Just goes to show, Law & Order‘s success is all about cast chemistry, not individual stars.
Let’s just get to it, shall we? Drumroll please….
If you’re Team Logan, then season 5 is your sweet spot. Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth have great chemistry as partners Briscoe and Logan, and S. Epatha Merkerson has had a season to settle in as Lt. Van Buren. It’s also the first season for Jack McCoy, who joins veteran DA Adam Schiff and fresh-faced Claire Kincaid to complete the power trio in the prosecutor’s office.
Cast: Jerry Orbach, Chris Noth, S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, Jill Hennessey, Steven Hill
Team Green! The old favorites are still around, but it’s the two new junior partners who make this season special: Jesse Martin debuts as Ed Green, and Angie Harmon is in her second year as ADA Abbie Carmichael. This season we get to watch the blossoming of the Briscoe and Green partnership, while tough Texan Carmichael adds that extra edge to the vibe in the in DA’s office. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s the only season when two beloved characters, DA Adam Schiff and Detective Green, overlap.
Cast: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, S.Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, Angie Harmon, Steven Hill
The cast from season 10 is such a powerhouse, it’s still going strong the following year, even without Adam Schiff anchoring the DA’s office. Nora Lewin (Dianne Wiest) fills the empty chair, and her more liberal energy causes sparks to fly with loose cannon McCoy and conservative Carmichael. The chemistry over in the police precinct is rock-solid with holy trinity Briscoe, Green, and Van Buren.
Cast: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, S.Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, Angie Harmon, Dianne Wiest
Not done voting? Cast your pick for Lennie Briscoe’s best partner!