Law & Order: which actors are vying for Emmys?

Law & Order
Law & Order Thursdays air on NBC this fall. Pic credit: NBC

The Law & Order franchise is making a big play for the Emmys.

With the initial waves of ballots up for voting, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Organized Crime all have hopes of some actors getting nods from the Emmys. 

It may be tricky given the hundreds of others vying, but there is a chance again that the franchise tastes some Emmy gold. 

Law & Order’s Emmy history

For one of the most iconic franchises in television, Law & Order has a surprisingly low track record at the Emmys. 

The mothership Law & Order gained over 50 Emmy nominations during its 20-year run, primarily for scripts, along with ten nominations for Best Drama Series. It won that honor in 1997. 

Amazingly, Sam Waterston was only nominated three times for Best Actor in a Drama Series with no wins. In fact, the only person to earn an acting award for the series was Elaine Stritch in a Guest Actress role. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has never been nominated for Best Drama. However, Mariska Hargitay has earned eight nominations for Best Actress in a Drama. She won in 2006, making her the only member of the main cast of any Law & Order show to win an Emmy. 

Since then, most nominations for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit have come from guest stars or technical awards. But this year, with the return of Law & Order for Season 21, all three are vying for a nomination for Best Drama. 

The early wave of Emmy balloting has seen a huge increase, with over 171 shows total vying in various categories, with each having hundreds of possible choices. That leads to a major challenge for any actor in the three Law & Order shows to get a nod. 

Who’s up for Law & Order Emmy voting? 

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson leaving Law & Order in Season 22. Pic credit: NBC

The main casts of all three shows are vying for Emmys, although there are a few surprising omissions among them. 

For the return of the mothership Law & Order, Sam Waterston’s return as Jack McCoy has him in the Supporting Actor race rather than leading. He leaves that for Hugh Dancy as Nolan Price and Anthony Anderson, who only reprised his role as Detective Kevin Bernard for this one season.

Surprisingly, Jeffrey Donovan is not on the ballot despite some good work with his tough detective Frank Cosgrove, including handling a friend’s murder in the Season 21 finale. 

Odelya Halevi, who plays Samantha Maroun, is up in the Supporting Actress field. She’s joined by Camryn Manheim, who plays Kate Dixon. Manheim won the award in 1998 for her role in The Practice. 

For Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay is once more in the running as Benson had strong material this year, focusing on her tough work as well as balancing some personal issues while raising her son Noah. 

The other nominations for the main cast are in Best Supporting Actor as Ice-T’s Fin (despite not having too much material this season) is in the running. He’s joined by new cast member Octavio Pisano, who made a good impact as new cop Joe Velasco, especially in the episode finding some missing girls.

Peter Scanavino is on the ballot for his turn as Dominick Carisi. The ADA handled some tough cases along with a relationship with cop Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish). However, Giddish is somehow not on the ballot despite some good work with Scanavino. 

For Law & Order: Organized Crime, Stabler’s amazing work, from undercover jobs to facing the issues of his family, may earn Christopher Meloni another nod for Best Actor.

Also on the ballot is Danielle Mone Truitt as Bell, who had meaty work in the Season 2 finale, and Ainsley Seiger, whose wise-cracking hacker Jet balanced a new relationship.

Also, Tamara Taylor is vying for her turn as the doomed Angela Wheatley. Finally, Ellen Burstyn is in the running as Stabler’s mother, a role that earned Burstyn a Guest Actress Emmy on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Again, with such heated competition and only a handful of slots, it would be tricky for any of these actors to land on the final Emmy nominations list, yet all are trying. 

Law & Order guest actors up for awards

Dylan McDermott
Dylan McDermott debuts as Agent Remy Scott on FBI: Most Wanted. Pic credit: CBS

Law & Order has often done well, scoring nominations and wins for some of their guest-star actors. While that list isn’t as deep this year, there are a few trying.

The most notable is Dylan McDermott for mobster Richard Wheatley in Law & Order: Organized Crime. The actor, now starring in FBI: Most Wanted, is up for Wheatley’s wild final episode.

Jeannine Kaspar is submitting her turn in the Law & Order Season 21 premiere as a woman who strikes back when her former attacker is freed from prison.

For Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Betty Buckley is vying as District Trial Division Chief Lorraine Maxwell. She’s submitted the episode where Maxwell reveals a past assault when the team targets a wealthy perp. 

Also, Aidan Quinn is pushed for his role on Law & Order: Special Victim Unit’s 500th episode as Burton Lowe, a former lover of Benson’s who gets in a tough case.

Another guest actress is Jamila Velazquez as the mother of an endangered child on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Finally, Jordana Spiro is up for her turn in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 finale as an abused wife who fights back. 

While it’s once more challenging for these actors to land on the final ballot, being in the running is more than enough proof of the strong seasons all three Law & Order shows had.

Law & Order Season 22, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24, and Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 3 air Thursdays this fall on NBC.

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