Season ten of Law & Order had ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, with an international trial involving the son of a prominent diplomat casting serious doubt upon the reelection of DA Adam Schiff (Steven Hill). In the first episode of the series' 11th season, it was learned that Schiff had, indeed, left office -- not due to a lack of voter turnout, ...
Season ten of Law & Order had ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, with an international trial involving the son of a prominent diplomat casting serious doubt upon the reelection of DA Adam Schiff (Steven Hill). In the first episode of the series' 11th season, it was learned that Schiff had, indeed, left office -- not due to a lack of voter turnout, but because he had been appointed by the U.S. government to supervise an upcoming Holocaust memorial in Holland. Until Schiff's replacement could be elected, it was necessary to appoint an interim DA, former law school ethics professor Nora Lewin -- played by Oscar-winning actress Dianne Wiest, whose character's predetermined "temporary" status reflected Wiest's reluctance to tie herself down to a long-running weekly series. Seemingly softer and less curmudgeonly than Schiff, Lewin nonetheless possessed what Executive Producer Dick Wolf described as a "steely reserve," which surfaced whenever it was necessary to the story. Otherwise, the cast members from season ten were carried over into season 11, though it was fairly common knowledge that actress Angie Harmon, cast as ADA Abbie Carmichael, would be departing the series to seek out different projects once her contract was up. Harmon's predecessor, Carey Lowell, made another return appearance as former ADA Jamie Ross, again acting as a defense attorney in opposition to her former colleagues. In addition, acerbic writer Fran Lebowitz made the first of several cameo appearances as Arraignment Judge Goldberg. Among the hot-button issues touched upon during the series' 11th season were the potential dangers of prison budget cutbacks, TV "reality" shows, the loopholes inherent in Israel's "Law of Return" for Jewish citizens, the gay adoption controversy, and, perhaps inevitably, the hotly contested 2000 presidential election. One episode, "Sunday in the Park With Jorge," was attacked by a number of ethnic special-interest groups because it depicted a Central Park "wilding" incident during an Hispanic Pride Festival. Although producer Wolf would not categorically apologize for the story's content, citing the real-life incident on which it was based, he agreed to remove the offending episode from Law & Order's syndicated rerun package. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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