Hennessy Still Upholds 'Law & Order'

It's been a decade since she played Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid, but Jill Hennessy clearly remembers what it's like to fight for justice alongside Sam Waterston on "Law & Order."

Soon to launch her sixth season of "Crossing Jordan," the actress didn't know until very recently that Waterston's newest courtroom partner is Alana De La Garza ("CSI: Miami"), who joins the enduring NBC drama series as it begins its 17th year Friday, Sept. 22.

"I knew Annie (Parisse, the last actress to hold that spot) was leaving," Hennessy says, "I just didn't know who they'd cast. It is the one part on the show that is the most limited, I guess, and that's why you've seen such a revolving door with that character in particular. There's just not any way to write it with more facets."

That said, Hennessy is quick to add, "I thought it was great for what it was, and for an audience member, that's exactly the way it should be. The regular cast members on that show service the story, and it's the guests who get all the emotional content. On a show like 'SVU,' it's much more natural for the regulars to get juicy, emotional story lines.

"On the original 'Law & Order,' it's sort of imperative that you remain emotionless and keep your feelings about the subject matter hidden. As an attorney on that show, you can't really vocalize those."

"Crossing Jordan" resumes Friday, Oct. 20, on NBC with Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh still on the run as a suspect in her beau's murder. Even as Hennessy continues that role, she remains visible in TNT's ever-present repeats of "Law & Order."

"I loved her," Hennessy reflects of Kincaid, "but one of the reasons you see actors moving on is that it's so easy to become typecast. If they see you in that one light, people presume that's all you can do. I was getting that from day one, with casting directors basically thinking, `She can't do comedy. She can't do emotional work.' If we do our jobs well, we make the audience feel that's who we are. I guess it's actually kind of a compliment, but most actors get into the business to play a variety of parts."

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