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Jeffrey Donovan sheds light on his Law & Order character’s future

Law & Order
Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) confronts ADA Price (Hugh Dancy) on Law & Order. Pic credit: NBC

Law & Order’s newest cop is opening up about the past and future of his character.

Jeffrey Donovan spoke out recently to shed light on his Law & Order Detective Frank Cosgrove’s past and what fans can expect as the character solves more cases in the future of the revived series.

Frank Cosgrove’s past conflicts on Law & Order

When Law & Order was revived for Season 21, it was soon established as a mix of familiar faces alongside new characters.

For the police side, that meant Anthony Anderson returning as Detective Kevin Bernard. Anderson had played the role in the final three seasons of the original run for Law & Order and enjoyed returning for the revival.

The series plays on the idea that Bernard has seen several partners come and go in the last decade. The latest is Frank Cosgrove, played by Donovan, best known for his role in the USA Network series Burn Notice. 

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Donovan shared some insight into Cosgrove and his past. “He’s following in his father’s footsteps and in his grandfather’s footsteps and there’s a lot of honor in being a cop.”

Donovan was intrigued by how Law & Order’s writers promised to have Cosgrove be complex and not some one-dimensional “good cop.”

“That was music to my ears because I love being able to have a dynamic relationship with my partner and with the story.”

That relationship was established in the Season 21 premiere as Cosgrove and Bernard clashed on how the public perceives police. Cosgrove unabashedly claims to be “non-woke” and not above bending rules for a case. 

A tricky bit is that Bernard was in Internal Affairs when Cosgrove was accused of roughing up a suspect. 

“He was not working on the case where Cosgrove was under investigation for being inappropriate with a suspect, but I love that they put that in and didn’t dwell on it. There’s going to be moments through the season where you’ll see that again.” 

Despite some clashes, the pair have come together as a good partnership to catch perpetrators and Donovan enjoys their dynamic. 

“Ultimately our bias towards each other is going to permeate our discussions,” Donovan continued. “But hopefully audiences see in the relationship is that the most important thing is solving a murder every week.” 

However, Cosgrove’s relationship with the DA’s office is much trickier than with Bernard. 

Cosgrove’s attitude causes problems

Law & Order
Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Frank Cosgrove (Jeffrey Donovan) investigate a case on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

In the Season 21 premiere, the police investigated a suspect who had killed a singer for drugging and assaulting over 40 women. When they found the main suspect, Cosgrove tricked her into a confession before arresting her.

While ADA Price (Hugh Dancy) tried to ignore that, it came up in trial with Price and Cosgrove arguing over nearly ruining the case. 

Donovan states that “obviously that created a huge ripple between the law and the order,” but Cosgrove isn’t interested in playing politics. 

“Because, in the end, Bernard and Cosgrove have the same shared goal to solve the case, find the killer and get them off the street.”

Donovan is mostly quiet on what fans can expect as Law & Order has rarely delved into their characters’ private lives like the spin-offs do. Donovan acknowledges that but promises that there will be more insight into Cosgrove to come. 

“[Personal aspects] will trickle out a little bit, in smaller amounts than you would maybe see on SVU or Organized Crime. We’re playing the long game. I’m interested to see how the little, subtle things will come out for the character. For now, there really isn’t any skeleton in the closet for me to kind of chew on. But I know it’s gonna be told episode by episode over, hopefully, the next few years.”

With the show continuing to run its revival, Donovan seems hopeful Cosgrove joins the ranks of popular Law & Order detectives, even if he’s more interested in cracking a case than making friends.

Law & Order Season 21 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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