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‘Law & Order’ Promotes the Real McCoy

Posted Jan 2, 2008 4:46 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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While the dramatized version Manhattan's famed prosecutor's office is set to get its fourth district attorney in 18 seasons, the city's real district attorney has stayed put.

Robert M. Morgenthau was first elected to the post in 1974 and, according to the New York Times' City Room blog, easily won re-election in 2005.

The Times notes that the Manhattan District Attorney's office is "remarkably stable," with Morgenthau's predecessor having served for 32 years. That means, except for an interim, Manhattan has only seen two district attorneys since 1941.

It is Morgenthau who is the presumed model for Law & Order's original district attorney, Adam Schiff (Steven Hill), a tough-on-crime, politically connected Democrat.

Law & Order resumes tonight with a two-hour season premiere that includes the promotion of its longtime First Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Watterson) to the top spot.

He'll replace Arthur Branch, played by actor/politician Fred D. Thompson, who is taking a break to run for president. Neither the Times nor the ABA Journal were privy to details about how Branch will be written off the show.

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