Cops and DAs

(About performances rather than language.)

Another note from the Oscars: on J.K. Simmons, who got an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (in Whiplash) I recognized him immediately as a regular on two different tv crime drama: as Dr. Emil Skoda, a police psychiatrist, who has appeared on three of the four incarnations of Law & Order; and as Will Pope, Assistant Chief of the LAPD, in The Closer.

I then reflected on the casting of these shows, and the enormous number of actors they consume — as regulars (playing cops, district attorneys, medical examiners, crime lab staff, defense attorneys, and judges) and in one-shot performances (as victims, suspects, witnesses, family members, etc.).

The one-shots are often well-known actors playing parts that run against their usual roles: recently in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit re-runs, dark roles for Dean Cain (Superman!) and comedienne Carol Burnett.

The regulars are also not infrequently recruited from successful careers of very different natures. To come: a number of tv cops and a couple district attorneys of this sort.

First, two actors I’ve already posted about on this blog: BD Wong (police psychiatrist Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Jeff Goldbum (Detective Zach Nichols for the eighth and ninth seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent).

Then four cops:

Eric Bogosian: (born April 24, 1953) is an American actor, playwright, monologuist, and novelist; … known for his plays Talk Radio and subUrbia as well as numerous one-man shows; … was featured on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross [2006-10] (Wikipedia link)

Ice-T: Tracy Lauren Marrow (born February 16, 1958), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American rapper, singer, and actor. He began his career as a rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he released his debut album Rhyme Pays, the first hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker. … Since 2000, he has portrayed NYPD Detective Odafin [Fin] Tutuola on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. (Wikipedia link)

Richard Belzer: Richard Jay Belzer (born August 4, 1944) is an American stand-up comedian, author, and actor. He is perhaps best known for his role as John Munch, whom he has portrayed as a regular cast member on the … police drama series Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as in guest appearances on a number of other series. He portrayed the character for 21 years from 1993 to 2014. (Wikipedia link)

Jerry Orbach: Jerome Bernard “Jerry” Orbach (October 20, 1935 – December 28, 2004) was an American actor and singer, described at his death as “one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on television” and a “versatile stage and film actor”. … In 1992, Orbach joined the main ensemble cast of Law & Order as the world-weary, wisecracking, streetwise NYPD detective Lennie Briscoe. (Wikipedia link)

Finally, two district attorneys.

Fred Thompson: Freddie Dalton “Fred” Thompson (born August 19, 1942) is an American politician, actor, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, and radio host. Thompson, a Republican, served in the United States Senate representing Tennessee from 1994 to 2003. … In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the long-running NBC television series Law & Order, playing Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch. (Wikipedia link)

Dianne Wiest: Dianne Evelyn Wiest (… born March 28, 1948) is an American actress on stage, television and film. … Under Woody Allen’s direction, Wiest won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Hannah and Her Sisters in 1987 and Bullets over Broadway in 1995. She also appeared in three other Woody Allen films: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Radio Days (1987) and September (1987). … From 2000 to 2002, Wiest portrayed interim District Attorney Nora Lewin in the long-running NBC crime drama Law & Order. She also played the character in two episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the pilot episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. (Wikipedia link)

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