‘Law & Order’ Star Camryn Manheim Talks Joining the Revival Series

by Allison Hambrick

Law & Order’s Camryn Dixon shared her thoughts on joining the revival, 30 years after she first appeared on the original series.

The actress shared a screenshot of the announcement alongside a heartfelt caption:

“I am over the moon to be joining the cast of Law & Order as Lt. Kate Dixon. My very first job on television was on Law & Order, so it feels like I’m coming home. New York, here I come!”

In a role created to replace S. Epatha Merkerson, Manheim recently joined the 21st season of Law & Order. Her character Kate Dixon will act as Lieutenant in place of Anita Van Buren, who featured on the show from its fourth season to its 20th. Merkerson was unable to return as she stars in Chicago Med, which, like Law & Order, was created by Dick Wolf.

Interestingly, Manheim joins a long line of actors who became regulars after guest-starring.

As referenced in her post, this will not be Manheim’s first step onto the set of Law & Order. The actress guest-starred not once but three times. Manheim first acted on the show in 1991, when she played a character called Leila. The episode, called “Life Choice,” followed the case of a women’s rights advocate who died in a bombing at an abortion clinic. She then appeared as Martha Rollins in a 1993 episode, “Benevolence,” which concerned the murder of a young hearing-impaired girl. Her largest role on the series before being cast as a regular was in 1994. In the episode “Nurture,” Manheim played a cold and neglectful foster mother named Beatrice Hines.

While it may seem unusual for an actress to play so many roles in a single show, it’s incredibly common. In fact, Law & Order has a long history of reusing actors, some of whom also went on to be series regulars.

Law & Order Brings In Familiar Faces

Even long-term viewers may be surprised to learn how many of their Law & Order favorites played other roles. Courtney B. Vance, Kelli Giddish, Diane Neal, Tamara Tunie, Raul Esparza, Peter Scanavino, S. Epatha Merkerson, and Bebe Neuwirth all did guest appearances before going on to be regulars. The late great Jerry Orbach even appeared as another character in a 1991 episode before he stepped into the shoes of Detective Lennie Briscoe.

Most similar to Manheim’s history with the franchise is that of Kelli Giddish. The latter actress guest-starred in both SVU ad Criminal Intent in the same year. She then had another one-off appearance as Detective Amanda Rollins several years later. Because her appearance was well-received, she was enlisted as a series regular in season 13.

Joining Manheim in the Law & Order revival cast are Anthony Anderson, Jeffrey Donovan, and Hugh Dancy. Detective Kevin Bernard, played by Anthony Anderson, is the only character returning from the original series. However, Sam Waterson is rumored to return as well.

Watch Manheim return to her roots when Law & Order comes back to NBC on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. eastern.