TODAY

TODAY   |  January 14, 2014

Meet the arresting women of ‘Law and Order’

Actresses S. Epatha Merkerson, Jill Hennessy and Elisabeth Rohm, who all played roles on “Law and Order,” stop by TODAY to talk the upcoming We network tribute to the long-running crime drama and its female cast members.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> when you hear this sound -- you know, that song. the law and order --

>> yeah.

>> when you hear this sound -- still not playing. well, you know you're in store for a captivating hour of television. " law and order " in the 20th season here on nbc. although new episodes stopped airing in 2010 , it lives on in syndication.

>> running episodes from the first 12 seasons, for 17 seasons from 1993 to 2010 . jill hennesy took on the role of claire kinkade from '93 to '96, and elizabeth rome was on from 2001 to 2005 .

>> you know, the show did go off the air in 2010 , but you wouldn't know it. i'm sure you still have people coming down the street and saying, hey, good show today.

>> absolutely. and that's the great thing about the show. it was written so beautifully. so we're very excited that it is not only going to air all the episodes, but it's doing this great tribute to the women of " law & order ."

>> three strong women in the criminal justice . we thought we'd give you a pop quiz and see if you can cite the opening narration. in the criminal justice system --

>> blank stare.

>> the people are represented --

>> separate but equally --

>> important groups.

>> the police who investigate them --

>> and the district attorney --

>> who prosecute them.

>> have you ever seen the show?

>> i'm not sure.

>> these are their stories. these are their stories.

>> there you go. took us a little time to get there. we got there.

>> in syndication, we've learned.

>> i remember you have the right to remain silent.

>> there you go. that's all.

>> there you go.

>> you have the right to an attorney.

>> that's all you needed to know. jill, what was it about the show, though? it had such a great run, such a long run, and you didn't have to watch every show to know what was happening at that moment.

>> i think it was incredibly smart writing. and also, it's so classic. it wasn't dependent on any single character. we had such an incredible, you know, turnover, amazing actors. and we were saying, you can't throw a stick without hitting an amazing actor.

>> yeah.

>> and also, new york was an important character in the show, as well. and the writers all had a great legal background, knew what they were doing and kept it clean and incredibly realistic.

>> and ripped from the headlines and test subject matters. did you have fun on the set at all?

>> oh, absolutely.

>> there were times when i was onset with jerry orbach and they would start singing some broadway tune and the dead body was --

>> in a crime scene.

>> yeah. but it really was a lot of fun.

>> might have sang a song or two. i don't know.

>> dennis was tone deaf .

>> so many actors, you know, all the jobs that we've done since then, you are always meeting somebody who did an episode of " law & order ." and to share that television history with so many actors even in los angeles , it's really great.

>> it's an incredible run. congratulations to all of you. and i have to say, elizabeth, your work in " american hustle ," incredible.

>> thank you. thank you.

>> i told you when you sat down, i didn't recognize it was you until i got out with the hair up like that and the gray streak and the whole thing. that must have been a blast.

>> thank you. it was incredible. thank you.

>> great to see you all back. and just for the sake of this reunion, cue it.

>> there we go. that's what we meant to do before.

>> that's what we really wanted.