Entertainment

The Best Law & Order Actors 

Ranker TV
393 votes 52 voters 25 items

List Rules Only main and supporting cast members - no guest stars. Vote based on their performances on Law & Order.

The Law & Order cast consists of some of the most recognizable faces in America due to the show's success not only during its 20-year run but also for its popularity as everyone's favorite re-run binge. Many of the actors on Law & Order were even recognized for their contributions to one of the best serial legal dramas of all time by racking up a series of awards for their performances. You might be surprised to learn, however, that not all the Law & Order characters earned the actor or actress who played them a guaranteed nomination. In fact, many of the best actors playing detectives and laywers on Law & Order only managed to get nominated for a shared award for best ensemble performance. 

Here you'll get the chance to decide which actors on the original Law & Order gave the greatest performance. Alongside each actor or actress, you'll find the character they played on Law & Order as well as any awards or nominations they received for their work on the show. Be sure and vote for your favorites in order to help reveal the Internet's choice for the best Law & Order actors of all time. 

 

Jerry Orbach is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Law & Order Actors
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Primetime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2000)

Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2005- Win)

Characters: Lennie Briscoe

Age: Dec. at 69 (1935-2004)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Were they great on Law & Order?

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#49 of 129 The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time #12 of 91 Famous Knights of Columbus Members

Sam Waterston is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Law & Order Actors
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License

Golden Globes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama (1995)

Primetime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1997, 1999, 2000)

Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (1998, 1999- Win)

Characters: E.A.D.A. Jack McCoy

Age: 78

Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

Were they great on Law & Order?

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#78 of 505 The Best TV Actors of All Time #185 of 313 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100

Jesse L. Martin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Law & Order Actors
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Image Awards
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)

Characters: Ed Green

Age: 50

Birthplace: USA, Rocky Mount, Virginia

Were they great on Law & Order?

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#1,992 of 2,830 The Most Influential People of All Time #137 of 183 The Greatest Black Actors in Film History

S. Epatha Merkerson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Law & Order Actors
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Fair use
4
S. Epatha Merkerson

Image Awards
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2006- Win, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010- Win, 2011- Win)

Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)

Characters: Lt. Anita Van Buren

Age: 66

Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America

Were they great on Law & Order?