Major Law & Order Actor Just Directed an Episode, But Will Her Character Return?

by Suzanne Halliburton
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Maybe you felt the presence of a vintage Law & Order character while you watched last week’s episode. Samantha Maroun certainly took center stage as she passionately argued on behalf of all women.

The question now remains whether Elisabeth Rohm will bring back her Serena Southerlyn character. She was Jack McCoy’s right-hand person in the ADA’s office from 2001-05. That’s 85 episodes. And she came back for last week’s Law & Order reboot. But this time Rohm directed the episode.

First, let’s get the Law & Order episode details and then we’ll talk about whether Rohm intends to spend more time in front of or behind the screen in the NYC District Attorney’s office.

The episode was “Only the Lonely.” And here are the nuts and bolts provided by NBC: “A crisis consultant who’s made many enemies on behalf of her clients is murdered. Price and Maroun must set aside the potential damage to a witness’s reputation in order to strengthen their case.”

Alysia Reiner, best known as Natalie Figueroa on Orange Is the New Black, portrayed the witness, Grace Pollard. She was romantically involved with the defendant. And she didn’t want to testify because she feared it would damage her personal and business relationships. Maroun convinced her to take the stand because of the greater good.

And Rohm, who used to be a TV ADA, was right there pushing Odelya Halevi, who portrays Maroun.

“I wanted [Odelya] to step into every single scene with her guns blazing, knowing that she had legal precedent behind her,” Rohm said in an interview with TV Line. “But also just wanting so much to be a voice and a protector of all of these women.”

The Law & Order characters portrayed by Elisabeth Rohm and Sam Waterston toast to a win. (Jessica Burstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The Law & Order episode was Rohm’s fourth project to direct. But it was her first for episodic TV. The 49-year-old seemed destined for a Law & Order character. She was born in Germany, but came to the United States with her parents before her first birthday. Her father was a partner at a big NYC law firm. And her mother was scriptwriter who used to create storylines for the daytime soap Guiding Light. That’s a perfect combo for a TV lawyer, right?

So will Rohm come back to the Law & Order reboot? She hit the show in 2001, replacing Angie Harmon’s Abbie Carmichael in the District Attorney’s office. The late Fred Thompson was the district attorney along with Nora Lewin (Dianne Wiest). Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy was the executive district attorney.

Rohm said she loved collaborating with the now 82-year-old Waterston on the Law & Order reboot. “He loves what he does [and] you can see it,” she adds. “He’s still so good and committed to his career, and he was really generous with me, really complimentary and rooting for me to succeed. He knows how much I love directing and how much I’ve been working on reinventing my career as a director.”

Now, will she dust off Serena Southerlyn? She said there have been conversations, but no firm plans. Law & Order brought back Carey Lowell’s Jamie Ross for the reboot premiere on Feb. 24. And Harmon has said she’d like to play Abbie Carmichael again.

So what’s the plan?

“At this point, I would really love to just return in the captain’s seat and direct for them again,” Rohm said. “But I’m open to anything,” she says.