‘Law & Order’ Revial: Camryn Manheim Teases What Hasn’t Changed From Original Series

by Suzanne Halliburton

Camryn Manheim is playing a new character on the Law & Order revival. But she still has some familiarity with the old version of the iconic show.

After all, she guest-starred in three Law & Order episodes, portraying a different character each time. This was all back between 1991-94, back before Manheim had her TV footing.

When Manheim checked in for her first day of shooting for the new version of Law & Order, it all felt so familiar. That’s because the set hadn’t changed since the last time she filmed there for an episode called “Nurture.” Then again, you don’t expect the offices at the local police department to feature the latest decorating trends. They need to be gritty, with bad lighting. And there must be coat racks and coffee cups.

Manheim said even the phones were the same, likening them to “Edison’s time.”

But that’s probably what Law & Order fans want. They’ve supported so many spinoffs, now it’s time to embrace the OG show, which NBC abruptly pulled from the air a dozen years ago. Nostalgia still is one of the biggest trends in the TV and movie industry, which has never met a reboot it didn’t want to make. Law & Order is like that old, comfy sweatshirt you’ll never throw away.

The original Law & Order aired for 20 seasons. Two characters from the old show are returning for the revival — Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy and Anthony Anderson as Kevin Bernard. The rest of the cast, including Manheim, is new to this Law & Order precinct.

(Photo by George Napolitano/FilmMagic)

But expect to recognize some faces when the Law & Order premieres, Feb. 24.

“You’ll definitely see some familiar faces along the way,” showrunner Rick Eid told reporters at a press conference earlier this week.

Eid said “several of our alumni” will come back “in some capacity.”

And Manheim is welcoming the vintage cast members. “One of the most amazing things on the show … [is] you come to work, and then New York’s finest actors just come and play with you,” she said. “I have been surprised and excited already several times, and I think the viewers will be, too.”

Manheim portrays Lt. Kate Dixon. She’s basically replacing S Epatha Merkerson, who played Lt. Anita Van Buren. She appeared in 391 Law & Order episodes. However, she’d already decided to leave the show before NBC canceled it. Merkerson stuck with the Dick Wolf universe and now is a star on Chicago Med.

Although the office set hasn’t changed in decades, the types of cases definitely are circa 2022. Eid observed that the legal systems are different than they used to be, saying it’s a “unique moment in time.”

“I think we’re gonna try our best to reflect the world we live in now,” Eid said.

Waterston also was at the Law & Order press conference this week. And he promised that the showrunners aren’t avoiding certain types of cases.