Sam Waterston and Fred Thompson in the L&O glory days.

Paging Fred Thompson! Get back to Law & Order

Was it just a year ago -- it feels like decades -- that Fred Thompson finally officially entered the Republican race for president on September 5, 2007?

After all the slow, coy buildup to that announcement, Thompson's campaign fell flat, and he was out of the race within four months. In fact, the biggest impact his failed candidacy may have had was in sucking the life out of Law & Order, the long-running show where the former Tennessee senator played DA Arthur Branch. When Thompson left to explore his presidential run, Sam Waterston -- the only L&O actor left from the original cast -- moved up to DA, taking a lot of energy from the front lines of the show.

After Thompson's red-meat speech at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, his party duties are done, and he can return to a role for which he's much better suited. Our verdict's in: Get that man back to L&O. -- Patricia Calhoun

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