With Sam Waterston (Executive Assistant DA Jack McCoy) and Fred Thompson (DA Arthur Branch), the political realm has already snagged two of Law & Order's biggest names. But that leaves plenty of other characters in the L&O franchise who might jump into the fray. Here's how they'd run, from no way to hey hey!
Michael Moriarty (ADA Ben Stone): No way. Not only did he leave Law & Order after four seasons, but he left the country for Canada in disgust.
Vincent D'Onofrio (Detective Robert Goren, Criminal Intent): He's such a loon, he couldn't even carry the show full-time.
Dianne Wiest (DA Nora Lewin): Too whiny to keep her DA's seat, she's not going to wear well in a campaign.
Christopher Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler, Special Victims Unit): He couldn't hold on to Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, and he's having marital problems on the show. That sort of stuff may play in New York, but as Giuliani's learning, it's hell in the heartland.
Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen, SVU): An honorable man who's suffered indignities of John McCain-like proportions -- but nice guys finish in the middle of the pack.
Benjamin Bratt (Detective Rey Curtis): Too sensitive to hurt Bill Richardson's chances of being the first Latino nominee.
Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch, SVU): His character's name says it all -- the candidate most likely to issue a Howard Dean-like scream at the wrong time.
Chris Noth (Detective Mike Logan in both Law & Order and Criminal Intent): A hothead, but Mr. Big should score high with women voters.
Jesse L. Martin (Detective Ed Green): Think a quieter Barack Obama -- except without the white mother, and with a father born in this country.
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Ice T (Detective Fin Tutuola, SVU): Think a much louder Barack Obama -- except without the white mother, and with a father born in this country.
S. Epatha Merkerson (Lieutenant Anita Van Buren): A woman, black and never one to back down; she'd have both Hillary and Obama out patrolling the streets.
Jerry Orbach (Detective Lennie Brisco): Sure, he's dead -- but at least he has an excuse for acting like a stiff, unlike most of the candidates now before us. Nobody puts baby in a corner!
Mariska Hargitay (Detective Olivia Benson): Not only does she play a determined woman who's overcome personal tragedy, but she brings with her the resumé of a determined woman who's overcome personal tragedy -- in Hollywood! (Her mother was Jayne Mansfield.) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.