Tag Archives: Law & Order

The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame: Michael Gaston

11 Jan

(The Zeljko Ivanek Hall of Fame is where we turn the spotlight on a television actor or actress, and it is named after their patron saint, Zeljko Ivanek)

We love character actors who play rich white guys here at the Zejlko Ivanek Hall of Fame and this week we’ll be celebrating on of the less well known entrants, Michael Gaston, who has experience playing rich white men and police officers, and who has gotten more and more work as the years have gone on.

He began his career in the mid-90s, with his first role in an episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete.  In the 90s, he appeared in single episodes of New York News, New York Undercover, One Live To Live, Homicide: Life on the Street, andSpin City.  He was in three episodes of The Profiler and played the title character in TV movie Nathan Dixon.  He appeared in the pilot episode of The Sopranos as CPA Alex Mahaffey.  He works for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and participates in a scheme to defraud Medicare with Tony and Hesh to get himself out of debt he acquired through gambling.  To convince him to participate in the scheme, Hesh and Big Pussy threaten to throw him over a waterfall, after Tony hits him with his car and Christopher and Tony beat him.

In the early 2000s, he was in episodes of Third Watch, The $treet,100 Centre Street and two of Now and Again.  He was in TV movie Cora Unashamed and appeared in Oz as death row prisoner Shirley Bellinger’s (played by Kathryn Erbe) ex-husband.  He was a recurring character on one season Oliver Platt drama Deadlien and appeared in two episodes each of Ally McBeal, Ed, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.  He appeared in five Law & Order episodes over the course of the series run as five different characters, with the first appearance in 1994 and the last in 2009.  In 2009’s Bailout, he played a Wall Street CEO for a sinking investment bank who is at first accused of murdering his girlfriend.  In 2001’s White Lie, he played the military husband of a woman accused of helping smuggle cocaine into the US.

He was in individual episodes of The Practice, John Doe, Hack, The Guardian, NCIS, Malcolm in the Middle, The West Wing, Without a Trace, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and two of JAG.  In The West Wing, he played a friend of Josh who has been waiting a year to be confirmed in his appointment to a federal appeals court judgeship by the Republican congress.  In 2005, he was a main cast member as a cop in one season literally titled Steven Bochco show Blind Justice.  In two episodes of Prison Break, he played Quinn, and agent from “The Company” who ends up at the bottom of a well.  He was in four episodes of three season Brotherhood.

In two seasons of post-apocalyptic cult classic CBS show Jericho, Gaston portrayed Gray Anderson. Anderson is a businessman who controls the Jericho Salt Mines.  He defeats mayor Johnston Green to become mayor himself and helps lead the construction of a new power source, a wind turbine.  He participates in an Allied States of America conference (I have no clue what this is but the show sounds vaguely intriguing) but disagrees with their ideas and eventually turns the town back over to former mayor Green.

He was in episodes of ER, Numb3rs, and Saving Grace.  He was in an episode of Mad Men as Head of Accounts Burt Peterson who is fired by Lane Price so that Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove can take over.  He makes a scene while leaving, knocking items off desks and yelling.  He was in two episodes of Raising the Bar and in TV movie U.S. Attorney.  He had a quick appearance in the pilot episode of White Collar as a director for the US Marshals working at the prison Neal Caffrey escapes from.  He plays recurring character Roger Kastle in six episodes of Damages.  In two episodes of season eight of 24, he was General David Brucker.  Brucker disagrees with President Allison Taylor and believes she should turn over Omar Hassan to potentially save Ameircan lives.  Brucker concocts a plan to abduct Hassan without the President’s knowledge, but his plan is foiled by Jack Bauer and he is later arrested.

Gaston appeared in four episodes of short-lived AMC show Rubicon as Donald Bloom.  Bloom is an independent contractor who formerly worked for the CIA.  He is hired by Truxton Spangler to kill main character Will Travers, and to make it look like an accident.  However, the plan is botched and Will manages to shoot and kill Bloom before Bloom can inject him with an overdose of heroin.  Later in the same year, Gaston was rich white guy Ben Zeitlin in four episodes of one season Terriers.  Zeitlin is a corrupt attorney who is part of a conspiracy at the heart of the season, and is attempting to purchase some land through shady means.

In 2011, Gaston began a recurring role on The Mentalist as California Bureau of Investigation head Gale Bertram.  Mostly concerned with the political and media aspects of being director, Bertram has noticed the impressive record of Agent Teresa Lisbon and Patrick Jane, and has been hinted to possibly have connections to serial killer Redjohn.  Gaston is currently a regular cast member of CBS detective show Unforgettable.  Unforgettable focuses on Carrie Wells, a police officer with a rare condition that gives her amazing memory.  Gaston plays Detective Mike Costello, a detective in Wells’ unit.

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Power Rankings: Law & Order, Law edition, Part 2

20 Dec

Law & Order Power Rankings, Law edition has been chopped into two parts for convenience – you can find the first part here.

6.  Annie Parisse (as Alexandra Borgia, seasons 15-16) – She was in Definitely, Maybe.  She appeared in two episodes of revered World War II miniseries The Pacific, as well as episodes of Fringe, The Big C and Person of Interest.  She was in seven episodes of Rubicon as a love interest for the main character played by James Badge Dale.  She appeared in two episodes of Unforgettable.  This past year she participated in Shakespeare in the Park plays All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure.  Also, strangely enough, her brother is married to Sam Waterston’s daughter.

5.  Elisabeth Rohm (as Serena Southerlyn, seasons 11-14) – She was in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous and TV movies FBI: Negotiator and Amber’s Story.  She was in three episodes of Big Shots and single episodes of 90210 and The Mentalist.  She was in eight episodes of the fourth and final seasons of Heroes, as Lauren Gilmore, who works with Noah Bennett and has a romantic relationship with him.  Recently, she was in Taylor Lautner movie Abduction.

4.  Richard Brooks (as Paul Robinette, seasons 1-3) – Brooks was in episodes of Chicago Hope, ER, Diagnosis Murder, Renegade, Nash Bridges, and Brimstone.  He was in The Substitute and The Crow: City of Angels.  He was a regular in the two season USA show G vs. E in 1999 as an agent in the afterlife who works for Heaven against a group of villains called “Morlocks” from Hell.  Afterwards, he was on episodes of NYPD Blue, Dead Last, Firefly, Skin, NCIS and Close to Home.  He played a detective in the short-lived 2007 Fox show Drive.  Afterwards, he’s been in episodes of Lie to Me, Childrens Hospital and Charlie’s Angels.

3.  Dianne Wiest (as Nora Levin, seasons 11-12) – She was a voice in Robots and in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Dan in Real Life, Synecdoche, New York, Rabbit Hole and The Big Year.  She appeared in two seasons of In Treatment as main character Paul Weston’s therapist, who he visited on Friday episodes.  Weist won an Emmy award for her work on the show.

2.  Jill Hennessy (as Claire Kincaid, seasons 4-6) –  Between the end of her Law & Order run, she appeared in Most Wanted and smaller films The Florentine and Row Your Boat.  In 2001 she got her next big role, starring as Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh in NBC drama Crossing Jordan.  She portrayed a forensic pathologist in Massachusetts who helped solve murders.  The show lasted six seasons and almost 120 episodes.  She portrayed her character on three episodes of Las Vegas.  She was in the movie Wild Hogs and will be in the new HBO horse racing David Milch series Luck.

1.  Angie Harmon (as Abby Carmichael, seasons 9-11) – After leaving Law & Order, she was in the direct-to-video Charlie Sheen-Denise Richards starrer Good Advice.  She voiced Barbara Gordon in an episode of Batman Beyond.  She appeared in Agent Cody Banks and was a main cast member in NBC series Inconceivable, about a group of people who work in fertility clinic (a groan about the title would be appropriate now), which only lasted two episodes.  She was in Fun with Dick and Jane and then co-starred in ABC series Women’s Murder Club, which lasted 13 episodes and was based on a series of James Patterson novels.  She was in single episodes of Samantha Who? And Chuck.  She currently stars as part of the cop and medical examiner partnership Rizzoli and Isles on TNT (one of the worst TV show titles in recent memory).  She’s detective Jane Rizzoli to Sasha Alexander’s Maura Isles.  The highly rated cable show finished its second season this summer and has been renewed for a third.  She gets the slight nod over Hennessey for more variety of career, and the current hit show, though if Hennessey is actually a significant part of Luck, and Luck is successful, the pendulum could swing in her direction.

Power Rankings: Law & Order, Law edition, Part 1

19 Dec

(Power Rankings sum up:  Each week, we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well)

Last week, it was Order, this week it’s Law, and the actors and actresses who played the lawyers on the 20 year show get their chance to shine.  I think overall the cops have done more, but the lawyers have had their share of productive work as well.  Since people have been on the show drastically different lengths of time, I’ll give a slight credit to people who have had less post-L&O time to appear in TV and movies.  Let’s rank ’em.

13.  Steven Hill (as Adam Schiff, seasons 1-10) –  Hill’s 89 now, and was 78 when his time on Law & Order wrapped up.  Besides his age, his orthodox Judaism makes it difficult to work.  Suffice it to say, Law & Order was his last role.  Sometimes I like to make a comment about what a loser the last person on a rankings is, but Hill was old and had a long and distinguished acting career.

12.  Sam Waterston (as Jack McCoy, seasons 5-20) – He’s done nothing yet but he’s slated to be in an upcoming Aaron Sorkin series for HBO based around TV news and starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer.  I hate having to put the man  behind the legendary McCoy, with the second most episodes of Law & Order of any actor, this low, but I have no alternative until his new show airs.

11.  Carey Lowell (as Jaime Ross, seasons 7-8) – She was in a couple of episodes of short-lived Ed O’Neill series Big Apple.  She was in two episodes of the short-lived Law & Order spin-off Trial by Jury as her Law & Order character, now a judge.  She had a small role in the TV miniseries Empire Falls based on the novel of the same name.  She had a recurring role in one season J.J. Abrams series Six Degrees.

10.  Fred Thompson (as Arthur Branch, seasons 13-17) – Thompson played President Ulysses S. Grant in TV movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and then attempted to play the real president with a relatively quickly aborted run at the 2008 Republican nomination.  Afterwards, he was in movie Secretariat and episodes of Life on Mars and The Good Wife.

9.  Linus Roache (as Michael Cutter, seasons 18-20) – The British Mr. Roache appeared in five episodes of British soap Coronation Street, which has starred Roache’s father for many years (Would a twitter “Occupy Coronation Street” trend be funny in the UK?).  He appeared in four episodes as his Law & Order character in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in which he’s been promoted to bureau chief.  He will soon be starring in British series Titanic.

8.  Alana De La Garza (as Connie Rubirosa, seasons 17-20) – She spun off from Law & Order into the one season Law & Order: LA, playing the same character.  De La Garza reprised her role in CSI:Miami from Season 4 appearing a apparition to Horatio (her character had died earlier in the series).

7.  Michael Moriarty (as Ben Stone, seasons 1-4) – Moriarty has become a certified kind of crazy person, with such wonderful statements as, “ The Supreme Court took a once individually free nation and corrupted it by the lie of Science that fetuses are, in their first two trimesters, no more than egg yolk.”  He’s done some acting too though.  In the ‘90s, he was in movies Courage Under Fire and Shiloh and TV movies Children of the Dust, Cagney and Lacey: True Convictions, Crime of the Century, The Arrow, Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants, and Earthquake in New York.  Later he was in episodes of Touched by an Angel, The Outer Limits, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, The 4400 and Masters of Horror.  He was in Along Came a Spider and won an Emmy for his role in a James Dean TV movie in 2001, where he played Dean’s father.

Power Rankings: Law & Order, Order edition, Part 2

13 Dec

Law & Order Power Rankings, Order edition has been chopped into two parts for convenience – you can find the first part here.

4.  George Dzundza (as Max Greevey, season 1) – Dzundza has had the most time to work, participating in a mere 1/20th of the series. After he left, he appeared in Basic Instinct, Dangerous Minds, That Darn Cat, Species II and several episodes of the Batman animated series as Scarface and several of the Superman animated series as Perry White.  He was a regular in Christina Applegate’s one season Jesse and appeared on episodes of Matlock, Touched by an Angel, Third Watch and The Agency.  He was in films Instinct and City by the Sea in the early ‘00s and was a main cast member in one season Hack.  He was in seven episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and episodes of October Road and Stargate SG-1.

3.  Dann Florek (as Donald Cragen, season 1-3) – After his role on classic L&O ended, Florek bounced around, appearing in episodes of Wings, Ellen, The John Laroquette Show, Roseanne, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, NYPD Blue, The Pretender and The Practice.  He was in two episodes of astronaut miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.  In the short-lived The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, Florek played Abraham Lincoln.  In TV movie Exiled, he reprised his role as Captain Kragen, and he was in six episodes of Smart Guy as a gym teacher and basketball coach.  In 1999, he got what he’s now best known for, a role as his old Law & Order character Captain Kragen, this time working with the Special Victims Unit.  He’s been doing it for 13 years so far.  He’s been a main character on a 13 season show but I’m deducting a little bit because he’s playing the same character as on regular Law & Order and it’s kind of cheating.

2.  Benjamin Bratt (as Rey Curtis, season 6-9) – He’s appeared in many movies since his term on Law & Order ended, such as Red Planet, Miss Congeniality, Traffic, Abandon, The Woodsman, Catwoman, Thumbsucker and as a voice in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  He starred in the one season E-Ring on NBC in 2005 about the Pentagon and in the two season A&E show The Cleaner about a recovering drug addict who helps other drug addicts recover (there are a thousand better shows that could be made based on the title “The Cleaner”).  He starred in a miniseries based on The Andromeda Strain and he has become a regular as of current season five of Private Practice as Dr. Jake Reilly.  He’s also appeared in two episodes of Modern Family as Manny’s dad and Gloria’s ex-husband.

1A.  Jerry Orbach (as Lenny Briscoe, season 3-14) – he deserved a spot on the list.  This is merely an honorary spot and conveys no true ranking except to specifically note that Jerry Orbach is awesome.

1.  Chris Noth (as Mike Logan, season 1-6) – His first couple of years post Law & Order were filled with TV movies, including Nothing Lasts Forever, Abducted: A Father’s Love, Born Free: A New Adventure, Rough Riders, Medusa’s Child, and Exiled, in which he starred as his Law & Order character.  In Castaway, he plays the man who marries Tom Hanks’ wife, while Hanks is, well, castaway.  In 1998, he got his biggest post-Law & Order role as Mr. Big in Sex and the City.  Mr. Big is Carrie’s most important love interest over the course of the series, and they get together several times before finally getting married at the end of the first movie and they remain married through the second movie through some difficulties.  He was in a couple of episodes of Crossing Jordan with former Law & Order co-star Jill Hennessy and TV movies The Judge, This is Your Country, and Bad Apple.  He returned to the Law & Order franchise in Criminal Intent for a couple of seasons as his old character Mike Logan.  Since 2009, he has been a recurring cast member, as the bad husband of the titular The Good Wife, now in its third season, appearing in the majority of the episodes of the series.

Power Rankings: Law & Order, Order edition, Part 1

12 Dec

(Power Rankings sum up:  Each week, we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well)

We’re going to take on a major challenge this week in Power Rankings.  We’re raking just the actors (and actresses) who who have played detectives on the “order” section of Law & Order.  Because the show lasted 20 years, some cast members have had more time to build up their resumes since their tenure ended, so we’ll do our best to take that into consideration but it will still be admittedly unfair (ie. Jeremy Sisto is not expected to have done as much as Paul Sorvino to get the same rankings).  I’ll make note of what seasons every character was on.  Eventually, we’ll return with the attorneys.  Sadly, Jerry Orbach died shortly after he left the show, after he had just filmed a couple of episodes of short-lived spin off Law & Order: Trial By Jury.  He won’t be included formally, but will get a special shout out.  We begin.

11.  S. Epatha Merkerson (as Anita Van Buren, season 4-20) – She was in 391 episodes, more than any other cast member.  Unfortunately, since she was on until the end, she hasn’t done anything since the show’s finale.  It’s rough and kind of unfair, but hey, I don’t make the rules.  She’ll be in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln next year.

10.  Jessie L. Martin (as Ed Green, season 10-18) – He cameoed in A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa and he co-starred in NBC’s one season The Philanthropist, about a billionaire playboy who decides to devote his fortune to helping others.  He was in the Shakespeare in the Park Central Park productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Merchant of Venice in 2010.

9.  Anthony Anderson (as Kevin Bernard, season 18-20) – Just out of L&O, he was in Scream 4 and The Big Year and an episode of Shameless.  He’s lined up to be in Scary Movie 5.

8.  Milena Govich (as Nina Cassady, season 17) –  Govich portrayed the only female detective, and by far the most irritating detective in Law & Order’s 20 year run, and not because of her gender.  Cassady was in four episodes of K-Ville with fellow Law & Order detective Anthony Anderson and was in 16 episodes of Rescue Me as a con-woman and prostitute.  She was in one episode of Psych and Body of Proof and two of The Defenders.

7.  Paul Sorvino (as Phil Cerreta, season 2) – He spent the ‘90s with steady TV movie work, with the titles including A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives, Parallel Lives, The Art of the Cigar, Escape Clause, Houdini, The Championship Season, and best remembered by me, Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, in which he played Joe Torre.  He was in movies Nixon, Romeo + Juliet, Money Talks, Most Wanted, and Bulworth.  For two seasons starting in 2000, he starred in CBS drama That’s Life alongside Ellen Burstyn.  He was in four episodes of Still Standing.  He’s been in The Cooler, Hey Arnold: The Movie, Mr. 3000, Repo! The Genetic Opera and a host of smaller projects including a TV movie with the fantastic name Mafia Doctor.

6. Jeremy Sisto (as Cyrus Lupo, season 18-20) – He’s basically only been done a year and in that time he’s hooked up with ABC surprise hit Suburgatory which has been picked up for a full season.  Sisto plays dad George Altman who moved his daughter from the city to the suburbs after finding condoms in her drawer.

5.  Dennis Farina (as Joe Fontana, season 15-16) – He was in What Happens in Vegas and in lesser known films The Grand, You Kill Me, Bottle Shock, and The Last Rites of Joe May.  He’s currently the host of Unsolved Mysteries on Lifetime and will be co-starring in Luck on HBO with Dustin Hoffman where he’ll play Hoffman’s character’s driver.