The Law & Order revival has featured many returning stars in its first five episodes. Anthony Anderson and Sam Waterston are just the tips of the iceberg. Every episode has seen at least one person with a Law & Order connection return to the franchise in Season 21. After a few weeks off, a new episode airs Thursday, April 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Law & Order ended its original 20-season run back in 2010, but creator Dick Wolf made it clear he always wanted to bring it back. At the time, the show ended tied with Gunsmoke as the longest-running primetime television drama in U.S. history. That title is now held by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which is in the midst of its 23rd season. Both Law & Order and SVU are joined by the Christopher Meloni-starring Law & Order: Organized Crime on NBC's all L&O Thursday nights.
The main cast for L&O Season 21 includes Anderson, Jeffrey Donovan, and Camryn Manheim as the leads on the "law" side. On the "order" side, Waterston is joined by Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi. Within the first three episodes of Season 21, the series has tackled Bill Cosby, Elizabeth Holmes, and Gabby Petito. New episodes air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, with SVU and OC following. Scroll on to see who's come back to join the two separate yet equally important groups.
Dylan Baker returns in Episode 5, "Free Speech," as defense attorney Sanford Rems. Baker, a three-time Emmy nominee for The Good Wife, returns as Rems to defend a talk show host arrested after his words allegedly incited the murder of a congressional candidate. Baker made his Law & Order debut in 1991 as Sean Hyland in "His Hour Upon the Stage." In 1998, he played Aaron Downing in "Flight." He made his debut as Rems in the 2004 episode "Darwinian." This is Rems' first appearance since 2006.
Baker also starred in a 2009 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He played Henry Muller in "Major Case." Baker also starred with new Law & Order actor Jeffrey Donovan in Burn Notice.
Neal Ben Ari and Lee R. Selllars also returned to Law & Order in "Free Speech." Ari appeared in three previous episodes, all in different roles. Sellars had a recurring role as a judge in Seasons 17 and 18, but plays a different role in "Free Speech."prevnext
Anthony Anderson joined Law & Order back in 2008 for Season 18. He is one of the few Law & Order leads to become better known for his work outside of the franchise since leaving, as he starred in ABC's Black-ish after Law & Order's original run ended. He's back now as Det. Kevin Bernard, who is still getting used to his new partner Det. Kevin Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan).prevnext
Jack McCoy remains one of the most iconic television characters in history, so there was no way Law & Order could return without Sam Waterston. In Season 19, Jack was elected New York County District Attorney, and he's held that position ever since. Although there were references to a "new DA" in SVU, it appears that he returned to the role in 2018 when he appeared in the SVU episode "The Undiscovered Country." In Season 21, McCoy's office includes Executive A.D.A. Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) and A.D.A. Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi).prevnext
The Season 21 premiere featured the surprise return of A.D.A. Jamie Ross, played once again by Carey Lowell. She's still an A.D.A., even though Ross appeared as a judge in the short-lived Law & Order: Trial By Jury. The premiere teased reasons for Ross to be in conflict with Jack, but she hasn't returned yet.prevnext
Camryn Manheim is the new lieutenant, Kate Dixon. An Emmy-winner for The Practice, it's no surprise that she's had other Law & Order parts. She appeared in 1991, 1993 and 1994 episodes, playing different roles in each.prevnext
Mark Lotito is a New York theater actor, and like many in his craft, has starred on Law & Order before. He appeared in the 2002 episode "True Crime" and 2003's "Mother's Day" before he played Ryan Bell in the Season 21 premiere. "The Right Stuff" was loosely inspired by the Bill Cosby and R. Kelly cases, where a powerful man avoided prosecution after raping dozens of women. One victim took justice into her own hands and killed her rapist.prevnext
Brian Keane starred in the Season 21 episode "Impossible Dream." The episode was inspired by the Theranos scandal, except in the Law & Order version, the Elizabeth Holmes stand-in murdered the fiance who was about to expose her company's flaws. Keane, who appeared in three prior Law & Order episodes, played the victim's father.prevnext
Marsha Stephanie Blake
Marsha Stephanie Blake earned an Emmy nomination for When They See Us and has starred in Orange Is the New Black and How to Get Away With Murder. In "Filtered Life," Blake starred as defense attorney Erica Knight. Back in 2005's "Locomotion," she starred as a clinic doctor. "Filtered Life" was inspired by the death of Gabby Petito, but it also had elements of the Tinder Swindler story.prevnext
Many other actors have shown up in smaller roles throughout the first three episodes, notes Entertainment Tonight. George Sheffey played an FBI agent in a 2002 episode, then another character in a 2010 episode. He played Jack Morley in "Impossible Dream." Zabryna Guevera, who had appearances in 1997 and 2003, appeared in "Impossible Dream" as well.
Emily Zacharias and Howard Pinhasik both starred in "Filtered Life." Zacharias was in episodes in 2000 and 2004. Pinhasik made an appearance in the 2002 episode "True Crime."prev