Law & Order: The Twelfth Year [5 Discs] [DVD]

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With the departure of series regular Angie Harmon at the close of season eleven (it was explained that her character, Assistant DA Abbie Carmichael, had accepted a job with the U.S. Attorney's Federal Major Crimes Task Force), season twelve of Law & Order was ushered in with a new face in the DA's office. Elisabeth Rohm was added to the cast as ADA Serena Southerlyn, who had requested the appointment because she wanted to tackle grittier cases than the "white-collar crimes" which had been her forte. The scriptwriters wasted little time in providing Serena with a baptism by fire: in the episode "DR 1-102," she courageously defused a dangerous hostage situation -- only to face the loss of her license to practice law because she failed to follow accepted legal procedure. The rest of the cast remained the same as in season eleven, though it was already established that Dianne Wiest's character, interim DA Nora Lewin, would be written out as soon as a permanent district attorney could be elected. (It was not that Wiest was unhappy with her role, nor that the producers were dissatisfied with the character; she just didn't want to be artistically confined to series television.) Likewise maintaining the Law & Order status quo was the series' predilection for stories based on current headlines, beginning with the season opener "Who Let the Dogs Out?," which was transparently inspired by a real-life California case involving a killer pit bull. The arrests of actor Robert Blake and rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs and the disappearance of congressional intern Chandra Levy, likewise provided grist for the series' story mill. In addition, the terrible events of September 11 loomed large over the proceedings, notably in the season-closing episode "Patriot." Finally, by 2001, Law & Order had become something of franchise. The series' first spin-off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, was entering its second successful season. Both this show and its parent series were joined in the fall of 2001 by Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which chronicled crime and punishment from the perpetrators' point-of-view. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Jerry Orbach - Det. Lennie Briscoe
  • Benjamin Bratt - Det. Reynaldo Curtis
  • Sam Waterston - DA Jack McCoy
  • Jesse L. Martin - Det. Edward Green
  • S. Epatha Merkerson - Lt. Anita Van Buren

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