|The outstanding drama series category at the Emmys is perennially one of the toughest competitions. This year is no exception, with "ER" (NBC), "NYPD Blue" (ABC), "The Practice" (ABC), "The X-Files" (Fox), and "Law & Order" (NBC) vying for top honors. |
For "Law & Order," being nominated is a familiar feeling. This is the second time the show has been tapped for best drama by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in its eight seasons on the air; it has been nominated seven times in other categories. The show won the award for best drama last year.
No 'soap opera elements'
"Law & Order" bases its scripts on stories pulled from the headlines. In the first half-hour of each show, detectives hunt down suspects and make the arrest, handing the case over to the New York district attorney's office for a courtroom trial in the second half.
Actor Jerry Orbach, who plays Detective Lennie Briscoe, says he knows the reason for the show's success.
"I think it's basically the writing and the sticking to the individual case that people like," says Orbach. "We don't really get into those kind of what I call soap-opera elements -- you know, the personal problems -- that much."
The upcoming ninth season will be a record-breaker, making it the longest-running drama series on network television. And there are some changes to the lineup. Along with veteran stars Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Steven Hill and Sam Waterston, Angie Harmon will be added to the mix as Abbie Carmichael, an assistant district attorney.
'She's very strong-willed'
Harmon says her character holds her own in a show filled with tough guys.
"She's very strong-willed, very used to working on her own," Harmon says. "She's not used to working with a team. It's kind of sort of this personal vendetta with cleaning up society."
Is Harmon anything like her character?
"No, I think I definitely giggle a lot more than she does," she admits. "Abbie doesn't do any giggling. She's very serious. She'll laugh, but definitely no giggling. D.A.'s don't giggle."