Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
The mothership is back.
“Law & Order” is returning for a 21st season on NBC – complete with Sam Waterston as D.A. Jack McCoy!
Creator Dick Wolf’s iconic series will, the network noted, “continue the classic bifurcated format that was created for its original run” and “once again examine ‘the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.’ ”
In 2022 – and as fans will see in the season premiere (8 p.m. Thursday) – it might be more accurate to call it “Law vs. Order.”
Detectives Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) are hamstrung in their investigations by citizens with cellphones who don’t trust the police, and want to make sure any oversteps are filmed for the world to review. They have to make their case to assistant district attorneys Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) and Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi), who aren’t willing to compromise their values or cut corners like some of their predecessors.
Of course, the series will keep the format fans have enjoyed since the series premiered in 1990: a half-hour of “Law,” and a half-hour of “Order,” with the crime-fighters looking to put the offenders behind bars.
Expect some surprise guest stars, too. This is the show on which every actor has appeared – some even alternating between victim and villain. (Seriously, take a look at this IMDb cast list some time.)
But first: Halevi chatted with BTS ahead of the premiere. An edited Q&A follows:
Odelya Halevi as ADA Samantha Maroun on “Law & Order.” (NBC photo by Virginia Sherwood)
Q: This is one of the most successful franchises in television history – one seemingly every viewer is familiar with, and in which myriad actors have starred or guest-starred. It is, in a word, iconic. But besides those obvious details, what appealed to you about joining this revival?
Odelya Halevi: I have been a fan of “Law & Order” since I was a kid. I would watch it in the ’90s. This is a dream come true, and I cannot think of another show or franchise that I could be a part of that would get me as excited as this one does.
This is the show that got me interested in law. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I would watch and love anything that covered a murder case, forensics, etc. And who wouldn’t be super excited (and also nervous) to be working with this amazing cast? I am learning so much every day and feel so fulfilled as an actor.
Q: Tell me about your character – we certainly see her shine in the season premiere.
Odelya Halevi: Samantha Maroun brings new ideas and opinions to the table. She is there to challenge Nolan Price, Hugh Dancy’s character, while still keeping the sensibilities of the character and show in place. I am excited that Samantha’s backstory will be revealed in the first episode of season 21, which is something that has not really been done, to this degree, in “Law & Order” until now.
Anthony Anderson as Det. Kevin Bernard and Jeffrey Donovan as Det. Frank Cosgrove on “Law & Order.” (NBC photo by Eric Liebowitz)
Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price and Odelya Halevi as ADA Samantha Maroun on “Law & Order.” (NBC photo by Eric Liebowitz)
Q: As I said, this is an iconic franchise. To take it one step further, you’re working with industry heavyweights in Sam Waterston, Anthony Anderson, Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim and Hugh Dancy. How much fun is it to go to work every day – and what have you learned so far from working with this amazing cast?
Odelya Halevi: I can just say that when I showed up to set the first day, I was feeling pretty nervous to be working with these amazing, established actors, thinking I am the rookie and just lucky to be here – both are true. When I met Sam on set, he gave me a big hug and welcomed me and told me that we are here to tell serious stories, but also don’t forget that we are here to have fun. He brings us a lot of laughs. I have learned so much from him and my co-stars.
Q: You are a talented professional – and we see your great ability in this episode. There’s no doubt you have continued to excel in subsequent episodes. … But if I was sitting in that courtroom, or standing on those courthouse steps, I might sneak in a thought like, “Holy cow, this is ‘Law & Order’ – this is the set we’ve all seen and enjoyed for two-plus decades!” Have you allowed yourself a similar moment or emotion to appreciate how cool it is to be a part of this?
Odelya Halevi: These days I can only truly express my emotion in emojis – I really don’t have words. … Every day that I am doing this it feels more and more real and exciting, and someone please pinch me!
“Law & Order” airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays on NBC (WGRZ-TV Channel 2). Visit https://www.nbc.com/law-order.
Sam Waterston is back as D.A. Jack McCoy on NBC’s revival of “Law & Order.” (NBC photo by Michael Greenberg)