After twenty brilliant seasons on the air, NBC’s longest-running crime drama, Law & Order, was cancelled earlier this year, disappointing fans and confusing critics who witnessed the enduring popularity of the one of the network’s enduringly popular programs. Week after week for two decades, viewers would gather around their satellite TVs and watch the detectives and the lawyers work to put the bad guys behind bars, often featuring “ripped from the headlines” plots that engaged viewers with the social and political issues of the day. In addition to all of the drama coming from the streets and courtrooms of New York, many viewers also enjoyed the rotating cast of attractive female Assistant District Attorneys (ADA) who were partnered with the older, male Executive Assistant District attorneys played by Michael Moriarty, Sam Waterston, and finally Linus Roache. In the show’s 20-year history, only one “second”/younger ADA was ever male – the first one, played by Paul Robinette. All the rest of them were brunettes, generally of the leggy, modelesque persuasion. Here is a list of some of the series’ best-loved Assistant DAs, whom you can watch the next time you are vegging out in front of your satellite TV!
1. Claire Kincaid, played by Jill Hennessey
The character of Claire Kincaid was the first female ADA on the show, appearing in episodes from 1993-1996. She first served alongside Michael Moriarty’s character, Executive ADA Ben Stone, and then moved on to Sam Waterston’s Executive ADA Jack McCoy when Moriarty left the show. Claire was a sharp young lawyer with a chocolate brown bob, and after she left the show it was revealed that she and Jack McCoy had been having an affair.
Her character was killed by a drunk driver, a devastating loss that McCoy must grapple with for the rest of the series.
2. Abby Carmichael, played by Angie Harmon
Texas-born model/actress Angie Harmon joined the Law & Order cast in 1998 as ADA Abbie Carmichael, a lone southern-vaguely conservative voice on the series. While most people who have watched the series on their satellite TVs over the years would recognize the liberal slant of its social and political commentary (even if they are sympathetic to it), ADA Carmichael represented a more – for lack of a better phrase – law and order approach to criminal justice. She was the one who would push for the death penalty, or preach the values of personal responsibility.
3. Consuela “Connie” Rubirosa, played by Alana de la Garza
ADA Rubirosa joined the show when it underwent a major shift – long-time Executive ADA Jack McCoy received a promotion to become the main Assistant District Attorney, filling a vacancy left by Fred Thompson’s character when the actor decided to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2008 (he did not win his party’s nomination). She is the show’s first Hispanic ADA, and she seems in every way the intellectual and legal equal to Linus Roache’s Executive ADA Michael Cutter. Rubirosa is the second ADA to last a full four seasons, and also the show’s last. She was also easy on the eyes – which is nice when you have high definition television!