Odelya Halevi reveals the inspirations for her Law & Order character

Odelya Halevi
Odelya Halevi as Samantha Maroun on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

Odelya Halevi is opening up on how it feels to be the rookie on Law & Order.

The actress who plays Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun on the Season 21 revival of the iconic series spoke on how it felt to join the show and which veteran star gave her some major encouragement for the part. 

Law & Order’s newest face is revealed

Since Season 4, Law & Order had a regular formula: A male District Attorney, a male Assistant District Attorney and a female ADA as his helper.

The original trio setting that trend was Steven Hill as Adam Schiff, Sam Waterston as Jack McCoy, and Jill Hennessy as Claire Kincaid.

The formula was shifted a bit in Season 11 when Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest played D.A. Nora Lewin. She was only there for two seasons before departing.

A big move was in Season 18 when McCoy was promoted to D.A. The Season 21 revival has gone back to the classic formula with Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price and Odelya Halvei as aide Samantha Maroun.

The Season 21 premiere had Maroun stepping up with a closing argument that revealed her own sister had been raped and murdered and her killer never arrested. That’s driven her quest for justice.

Maroun is passionate, clashing with Price and even went behind his back to help a defendant prove she was justified in her actions for a plea bargain. Price warned Maroun he’d fire her if she ever pulled a stunt like that again.

Speaking to Cinemablend, Halevi opened up on how it felt to join the series, which even had her tempted to try a legal career for real. 

“Oh, I really was familiar with it. Actually, that’s the show that made me want to be a lawyer. Because I would watch it with my mom, you know, a long, long time ago, when I was a kid, and I couldn’t tell the difference between a lawyer and an actor because all I saw was these people, they just perform in front of an audience. So I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. And I told my mom, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to be a lawyer.’ And she’s like, ‘No, you just want to be one on TV.’ And I was like, ‘Ooh, that makes sense.’ And so to end up on that show that I’ve been a fan of for so many years, it’s just incredible.”

The actress, whose credits include the Freeform series Good Trouble, also spoke on which cast member has been the most supportive of her.

Halevi on Sam Waterston and being herself in the role

Law & Order
Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy), Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi) talk on a case on Law & Order Season 21. Pic credit: NBC

While she’s praised working with Dancy and Anthony Anderson, Halevi spoke warmly of how Sam Waterston put her at ease when she began work on the series.

“I mean, he’s God. And I love him to death. He makes me feel so comfortable on set. He’s just so funny and fun to work with. He noticed that in the beginning, I was a little bit nervous to work with him because he would say his line and I would just look at him and forget that I even had a line because I was just so into it. And then the script supervisor would be like, ‘Odelya, that’s your line.’ And so he really made me feel comfortable by saying ‘We’re here to have fun also. We tell serious stories, but we’re here to have fun.’ And that was everything I needed to hear. And we’ve been having fun since then.”

Halevi added to Pop Culture that she had to fight to put her own stamp on Maroun rather than copy some past female ADAs.

“Even with my accent being foreign, I was like, ‘No, I need to sound completely American. I need to work on that.’ And then I realized, ‘No. They love you just the way you are. People can love you for just the way you are and that’s what you need to be.’ I’m so happy that nowadays there is so much room on TV and in film for foreigners because I never thought I would get to play a lawyer. … It’s just amazing to see how the industry changed so much for the better.”

While Law & Order rarely delves into the private lives of its characters, it’s possible Maroun will see more chances to share her past on cases.

As it is, Halevi is happy to add another face to the list of great Law & Order female characters and hoping to continue in the role for some time.

Law & Order Season 21 returns with new episodes Thursday April 28 at 8/7 on NBC.

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