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Law & Order pays tribute to beloved recurring guest star Ned Eisenberg

Ned Eisenberg
Ned Eisenberg as defense attorney Roger Kressler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

The Law & Order franchise is mourning the loss of one of its most notable faces.

Ned Eisenberg, who played roles on several Law & Order series, passed away Monday at the age of 65 after a bout with cancer.

While known for many TV roles, Eisenberg was best remembered for his performance as conniving defense attorney Roger Kressler on nearly two dozen episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

Ned Eisenberg’s career and Law & Order connection

Born in New York City in 1957, Ned Eisenberg began his career in Broadway shows such as Brighton Beach Memoirs. He then started a career in television, starting with the 1990 sitcom The Fanelli Boys, which co-starred Christopher Meloni.

Eisenberg was also featured in many films such as Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers, and Limitless. 

Eisenberg had been battling cancer for two years, with his wife Patricia issuing a statement.

“As Ned would say, he was attacked by two very rare assassins — cholangiocarcinoma and ocular melanoma. Over the course of two years, he bravely fought the cancers in private while continuing to work in show business to ensure that his medical coverage paid for himself and his family.”

Eisenberg was a familiar face for Law & Order fans. He played defense attorney James Garnick on half a dozen episodes on the mothership series. He was also an attorney in the Exiled TV movie.

Eisenberg’s most famous role was defense attorney Roger Kressler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The high-priced lawyer clashed with the SVU team and D.A.’s on a regular basis, always doing his best to get his clients off by any means necessary.

Kressler appeared in a total of 22 episodes spread across 14 seasons. His final appearance was in Season 20’s Dear Ben. 

Tributes to Eisenberg pour in

The news of Eisenberg’s passing led to a pouring in of tributes from many fans and actors. The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fan Twitter feed put up a tribute to the actor for his many roles.

Christopher Meloni (whose Stabler was often on the opposite side of Kressler’s questions) noted how he’d known the actor since 1990 and was heartbroken by his loss.

“I started with Ned in 1990 on The Fanelli Boys. Great actor. A singular voice. Always ready with a smile and a laugh. A beautiful gentle human being.”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight shared a photo of Eisenberg on set with his tribute.

“Oh Ned…Rest in Peace, our sweet friend, and my fellow Naked Angel, Ned Eisenberg.”

Eisenberg had been working steadily despite his cancer battle, with his final role being a 2021 episode of The Blacklist.

The passing of Eisenberg is a loss to Law & Order fans who will miss the defense attorney they loved to hate. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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