Law & Order: The Sitcom

In last night’s episode of LAW AND ORDER, Elizabeth Rohm left the cast after several seasons blandly portraying a junior prosecutor. The episode, of course, really had nothing to do with her character… they saved her exit for the tag. Most of the time, the cops or ADAs who leave LAW AND ORDER are shot or killed… so I was waiting for her to get plugged on the court house steps. Instead, they went for what will probably go down as the biggest, unintentional laugh of the season.

Law_and_order_1The D.A., played by Fred Dalton Thompson, calls her character into his office and, because she often lets emotion cloud her judgement, fires her. If they left it at that Donald Trump-esque moment, that would have been fine. Instead, they had to go one more beat…

"Is it because I’m a lesbian?" she asked.

The D.A says no, it’s not because you’re a lesbian. She sighs,
relieved, and says I’m glad,  and that was the end of the episode.

The throwaway line was a complete, and uproarious, nonsequitor. Her character’s sexuality, straight or gay, has never come up in all the years she’s been on the show. Nor have they discussed the sexuality of any other regular. So what was the point of the line?  It certainly didn’t come off as drama, that’s for sure. It came off as an unintentional joke.

12 thoughts on “Law & Order: The Sitcom”

  1. I’m a Rohm fan from her portrayal of Det. Kate Lockley on ANGEL, but I agree her L&O character had less personality than any of her predecessors. This might have been countered if her sexuality had been hinted at earlier in her run.
    I hate to see a character’s orientation dealt in a throwaway manner. It reminds me of Robert B. Parker’s screenplay for A&E’s THIN AIR wherein he turns a minor character into a lesbian who wasn’t one in the book.

  2. Thank god somebody else saw that for what it was! The only reason I watched last night (now that Jerry Orbach is gone there is very little point)was to see Rohm get blown to bits or something else interesting. What a let down!

  3. Two things:
    1. In real life, she would have been asked to resign and not fired. This is what happens often with people that you like and respect (but who don’t work out).
    2. I don’t recall her sexuality ever being mentioned. Now, personally, I think she makes a rather nice lesbian…:)

  4. To me, this is a pretty clear case of producers who are really pissed at an actress for leaving the show, and they stick in a little humiliation at the end for her.
    Or maybe they thought this was brilliant storytelling. Considering what the show is like these days, that’s not such a stretch…

  5. Keeping in mind I’ve never seen the show and didn’t even know this was the actress from Angel….
    But on a discussion board I’m on, they claim that she was wildly rumored to be a lesbian because she turned down advances from another character who has slept with every other female character from the series.
    Of course, these same people also didn’t get that line in the show, either, so even if that was their “excuse” it wasn’t good storytelling period.
    I’ll go back to discussing things I know now. 🙂

  6. I am sure that most of you who think that Elizabeth had less personality than her predecessors are misguided by the over-the-top-ness of prime-time TV. I have worked secondarily with ADA’s and I beg to differ.
    Lawyers seem to have some of the same blandness in character as some doctors. Mostly because when most of us were hanging out at the mall or in the backseats of cars as teens and young adults, they had their noses in books. Explaining how they missed out on early social edification and now seem to have a definite lack of social skills. And if you think about it, closet gays really can fit that mold.
    Her predecessors were for those who where unfamiliar with real-life lawyers and for my money she was much closer to the mark of her character than the others. For me, she was believable.
    I am an avid, almost obsessive L&O fan (4x’s in a row on Mondays and Tuesdays. . .alternating between L&O and SVU. . .TNT & USA) . I also follow “Crossing Jordan” to see my favorite L&O actors resurface. I have grown to love all the characters, God Rest dear Jerry Orboch, but please give Elizabeth a break. She is real. . .Sundance and Indie real.
    Besides, the first time you found out a professional you knew pretty well was gay. . .was it in a story line. . . did you assume it. . .or were you shocked as hell? Besides, except for her former boss . . . technically she is still a closet case. . .

  7. A couple of essential differences between real life and fiction:
    1) Real life can be random; fiction has to have “roundness”: expectations set up in the beginning must be resolved in some way by the end. Revelations at the end must have some basis in clues, however subtle, along the way.
    2) Fictional main characters such as Serena Southerlyn have to hold our attention longer–be more memorable–than any dozen real people passed on the street, or we could care less about them.
    I admit that I didn’t pick up on the subtleties Lasserina mentioned, but if Southerlyn’s orientation really didn’t matter, as her boss said, why not introduce it sooner? If nothing else, it would have piqued my curiosity and made her more memorable.

  8. I think the new actress, who premiered on the show last night, is a huge improvement over the flat and listless Ms. Rohm. The new actress showed more character and intensity in one episode than Rohm did over several seasons.
    Now if I could just remember the new actress’ name…

  9. Is Annie Parisse a lesbian? Would it really matter?
    Regardless of Ms. Southerlyn’s sexual orientation, I can’t imagine it mattered much. I could be all wrong, but it seems to me the appeal of L & O appeal comes from the lack of personal information we get on the characters. Like I said before, I really like to watch the show, but there are few characters that I could tell you much about their personal life. I like that. I rather enjoy the ethical, legal and moral issues or just guessing “Who dunnit?” I suppose that is why NYPD never really appealed to me.

  10. What are people nuts? Elizabeth rohm is th e only reason people watch the dam show.You ,ed have to be stevey wonder not to see ,she’s one the finest babes on t.v. today. I’m bumd-out she not going to be on l&o any more. She’s a Star…..


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