Law & Order is one of the longest running series on television, with a long history of successful spinoffs.
After an 11 year hiatus, the original Law & Order returned to the screen and it’s now on its 23rd season with more spinoffs in the pipeline, like Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent.
It has helped launch the careers of some of Hollywood's biggest stars, such as Philip S Hoffman and Sarah Paulson, while Julia Roberts, Samuel L Jackson and Ellen Pompeo also made guest appearances. But where are the original cast now? Join HELLO! as we look at the successes of the original Law & Order cast.
Although he only starred in the first five seasons of the show, Chris Noth was one of Law & Order’s biggest breakout stars as he played the iconic NYPD Detective Mike Logan, an arrogant womanizing misanthrope with a “famous temper”.
The TV star was infamously fired from the show in 1995 due to creative friction with series creator Dick Wolf, however he returned to the role of Mike Logan in 1998 for the Law & Order television film, Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.
Chris went on to play the infamous Mr Big in Sex and the City, recurring throughout the series and even starring in the films. He also played a key role as Peter Florrick in The Good Wife, and even took on a guest role in not one but two Doctor Who episodes.
He said goodbye to his role as Mr Big in the show’s 2021 reboot, And Just Like That, in which the lothario suffers a fatal heart attack in the first episode.
Following sexual assault allegations in 2021, Chris has yet to take on another role in film or TV. In an interview with USA Today in August 2023, he denied the allegations made against him.
Previously a serious regular before the show’s hiatus, Anthony Anderson played Detective Kevin Bernard.
He left the show in 2010, stating to Entertainment Tonight that: "I wanted to go off and create more shows like Black-ish, create things that I have ownership in, and do something a little bit different.”
The actor not only went on to star in Black-ish with Tracee Ellis Ross, but also played Marty Fisher in Shameless and took on a role in Scream 4. In 2022 he returned as Detective Bernard in the new Law & Order for one episode.
Since then, he’s taken on smaller roles, playing a Barber in the Netflix Original You People, and appearing on The Masked Singer.
Only appearing in Law & Order for one season, George Dzundza was meant to play a main character role as Sergeant Max Greevey. His character was written off the series with his death in the second season premiere. But why did he leave the cast?
It turns out George hadn’t realised the show would be more of an ensemble cast than him being the star. He was also under stress from the constant commute between his home in Los Angeles and New York City.
Nevertheless, he continued to have a thriving acting career into 2011, playing The Ventriloquist in The Batman: Animated Series, and featuring as Harold O’Malley, father of surgeon George O’Malley, in Grey’s Anatomy between 2005 and 2007.
Though the cast liked his portrayal of Greevey, they increasingly felt uncomfortable around Dzundza, who was also under stress from the constant commute between New York City and his home in Los Angeles.
This American-Trinidadian actress recurred throughout seasons 1, 3 and 4 as defense lawyer Shambala Green, appearing as a guest in 2003 again. But when she left her career didn’t stop thriving.
She guest-starred in Frasier, NCIS and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation among other TV shows. A recurring role on Ugly Betty saw her play Yoga, Claire Meade’s cellmate in prison and accomplice.
Lorraine has also appeared in Shonda Rhimes’ shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
Jesse L Martin
Jesse played detective Ed Green for nine years on Law & Order, leaving in 2008. The actor, who was originally a stage actor, decided to leave the show to return to his roots in theatre.
“It was pretty much time for me. I need to get back on stage before I get too scared to do it again,” he said to Entertainment Weekly. “And with that schedule, it would be really difficult for me to ever really get to do anything like that."
After leaving Law & Order, Jesse acted on his intention to return to the stage, completing four productions of Shakespeare between 2010 and 2012. He took on roles in The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and The Winter’s Tale.
This doesn’t mean he completely abandoned the screen. This year he took on the lead role in new crime drama The Irrational, playing Alec Mercer, a world-renowned professor of behavioral psychology.
A veteran actor, when Paul Sorvino took on the role of Sergeant Phil Cerreta he had already played roles in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Bloodbrothers.
The star only played Cerreta for two seasons, leaving the show for a career in opera. He still acted in classic films, playing Fulgencio Capulet in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet and Frank Costello in Godfather of Harlem.
Sadly Paul died in 2022 aged 83 years old, succeeded by his Oscar-winning daughter Mira Sorvino and son Michael Sorvino.