Elisabeth Rohm talks on her return to Law & Order

Elisabeth Rohm
Elisabeth Rohm as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

A former Law & Order veteran is speaking up about the unique return she had to the franchise.

Elisabeth Rohm, who played Serena Southerlyn in the iconic series, spoke about her recent return to direct an episode.

The episode, Only the Lonely, allowed Rohm to show her skills as a director and focused on some of the series’ female characters. 

Rohm spoke about how she got involved with the directing and how it felt to return to the series in such a unique way.

While praising her writers and support staff, Rohm made it clear she was proud of how well the episode turned out.

While she hasn’t ruled out a return as Serena, Rohm seems more focused on directing and hoping to do more for Dick Wolf Entertainment in the future. 

Elisabeth Rohm’s return as director

While Law & Order is used to bringing back famous faces from the past, it’s rare one shows up behind the scenes.

Elisabeth Rohm starred for four seasons as Serena Southerlyn, one of the longest-reigning ADA characters. Known for her cool drive in court, Serena was a good aide to Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) before leaving the show in a controversial fashion. 

Rohm has added more acting credits with shows like The Last Ship but has moved more into directing in the last few years. She returned for this week’s episode, Only the Lonely.

The episode had the murder of a crisis consultant tied to a con artist who tried to humiliate a female rights advocate in court.

Speaking to Give Me My Remote, Rohm shared how it felt to return to the franchise in this fashion. 

“A friend of mine said it so perfectly. ‘You went back to your alma mater, and you gave the commencement speech.’ Nothing has brought me more joy than doing this episode and sharing in it with Sam… I, of course, was nervous, and I’m sure he was nervous, too.”

Rohm discussed how she’d wanted to do something for Dick Wolf Entertainment for some time, even an episode of FBI. When Law & Order came along, she eagerly jumped for the chance to return to her old show. 

Rohm praised the episode’s writers, Pamela Wechsler and Jennifer Vanderbes, and how “this is a really strong episode for women.”

Rohm also talked about how she wanted the focus of the episode to be the story and actors, not just on her big return behind the camera. 

“First of all, I think the mistake is to come in and try to, like, show off—it’s where you go to die, right? You could be there forever in the courtroom. And I wanted to protect the actors, their morale, and get them out at an appropriate time. So I really tried to be economical, have a plan, be very specific, I wanted specific moments and those moments, those looks, and those glances, that’s really where I spent time.

I didn’t want it to be like, “Oh, the hometown girl came back to the hometown and made it about me.” I wanted it to be about them and to really be the director that they needed, and that they would want to work with again.”

Rohm enjoyed directing former co-star Waterston and said the man praised her for her work. 

Rohm talks about her infamous Law & Order exit

The meat of the episode has Maroun (Odelya Halevi) trying to help that lawyer (Alysia Reiner) speak out about a relationship with the con artist on trial. 

Rohm enjoyed meeting and talking to Halevi as she expressed “really wanting her to shine and really understanding what it’s like to play that role, with those strong male characters always around you.”

One scene in the episode has Maroun talking to Kate Dixon (Camryn Manheim) and Violet Yee (Connie Shi) about dating, which indicated Yee might be gay. 

This obviously brought up Serena’s controversial exit where, after being fired, her character asks if it’s because of her sexuality, which had never been addressed before. 

Rohm spoke about that and how she stands by that plot turn. 

“Law & Order always, when it’s great, is cutting edge, is controversial, is ripped from the headlines; you’re gonna recognize those cases. And it’s exciting because it feels so timely and current. And I was really moved by the pursuit for gay marriage to be legalized…that subject at the time was everything. And I really cared a lot about it. And so every time an episode had some element of that issue in it, you could tell that my eyes lit up. So I think that’s why Dick Wolf wanted Serena to depart and for us to learn that . And it was great. I only wish we’d been able to explore more.”

When asked if she would ever return on screen as Serena, Rohm stated she was perfectly happy with directing and wouldn’t mind trying another Law & Order series. 

“I just love seeing the Wolf camp being so supportive of women and NBC really being supportive of women, because this was definitely the women’s episode, and I’m really proud of it.”

As fans got to enjoy the episode, some are hopeful that one way or another, Rohm will make another return to the franchise soon.

Law & Order Season 22 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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