Law & Order Revival Cast Guide: Every Returning Character

With the news that producer Dick Wolf was reviving the long-retired original in his Law & Order franchise, many fans of the long-running criminal justice drama were anxious to hear which of their long-time favorites would return. Since the original run of the flagship series was twenty seasons long, there have been many casting changes over that time, and viewers are used to the idea of District Attorneys and detectives leaving and joining the cast. But a true revival of Law & Order requires someone that ties the new to the old. Otherwise, it would simply be another spinoff, like the current Law & Order: SVU or Law & Order: Organized Crime. So who can viewers expect to recognize?

The original Law & Order debuted in 1990 with a fresh new approach to criminal justice dramas. Each episode was divided roughly in half, with the first half highlighting the police work that went into catching a criminal, and the second half focusing on the prosecution in court of that crime. The series was widely popular, resulting in six spinoffs, another proposed in the future, and thirteen related television properties that take place in the same world. The franchise has often drawn from true crime details to examine the criminal justice system, and changed the way viewers understand the legal system in America.

Related: What Is A Reboot, Revival, Remake & Sequel? Differences Explained

The original series, which has only been surpassed by its own spinoff, Law & Order: SVU, for longest-running television drama, was the launching point for many acting careers and has defined many careers, as well. And while many new faces will be joining the cast, such as actors Hugh Dancy, Jeffrey Donovan, and Odelya Halevi, some of the old favorites will be returning, as well.

Veteran actor Sam Waterston will return as Jack McCoy, one of the most recognizable faces in the Law & Order franchise. McCoy, who was first an assistant DA before taking over as District Attorney, was a regular on the series from 1994 to 2010. His tendency to bend the rules and use unconventional tactics won him many fans throughout his tenure on the show, and long-time viewers should be rewarded with more of Waterston's classic McCoy moments.

Black-ish actor and executive producer, Anthony Anderson, will reprise his role as Detective Kevin Bernard, who he played for more than two seasons near the end of Law & Order's original run. The comedian originally played an internal affairs investigator, but joined the main cast after series regular, Jesse L. Martin, left the show. Because Anderson's time on the show was rather short, viewers can expect to learn more about his character as he adjusts to new partnerships.

Camryn Manheim is no stranger to the Law & Order franchise, even if she will be playing a new character. The award-winning actress, famous for her role as Ellenor Frutt in the American comedy-drama Ally McBeal, The Practice, and Boston Public, appeared in three different episodes of Law & Order, as three unrelated characters. Manheim will take on the role of NYPD Lieutenant Kate Dixon. This is a new character for the revival, but with Manheim's familiarity with both legal dramas and the Law & Order franchise in particular, viewers can expect good things.

Related: How Milena Govich Was Groundbreaking For Law & Order

While most of the news out of the Law & Order revival has been kept fairly quiet, Dick Wolf and the Law & Order team have a long history of crossovers and cameos that intermingle their many properties. Because Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime are airing concurrently with the Law & Order revival, no one should be surprised if Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler or Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson make an appearance, as could any of the other series regulars on those shows. In addition, actor Jesse L. Martin, who played Detective Ed Green for nine years, has stated that he'd be open to appearing as that character again in a guest appearance. And several former Law & Order stars, including S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeremy Sisto, and Alana de la Garza, are currently appearing in other Wolf Entertainment properties like FBI and Chicago Med, which could mean the potential for Law & Order crossovers there, as well.

Next: Stabler's Law & Order Return Vs. Lexi's Grey's Anatomy Twist: Which Is Better

The 21st season of Law & Order premiers Thursday, February 24th on NBC at 8:00 p.m.

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