Which Law & Order Characters Were Best at Their Jobs? A Handy Guide.

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 14 2012 8:15 AM

Which Law & Order Characters Did Their Jobs Best? The Answer in Five Graphs.

Two and a half years ago, Matthew Belinkie at Overthinking It announced a plan to “crowdsource a list of how all 456 episodes of Law & Order ended.” This morning, he produced the wonderful results: a big public database which lists the verdicts in every case tried by the hardworking district attorneys, detectives, et al, across 20 seasons of the beloved procedural. He also created several charts that help visualize the data, and encouraged others to mine the numbers as well.

Encouragement heeded. While Slate is full of Law & Order fans, not everyone on staff is on the same side when it comes to such important debates as Stone vs. McCoy, Robinette vs. Kincaid, and Schiff vs. Branch. In order to help settle these matters, we decided to look into the success rates of these crime fighters. Who got results?

Advertisement

A note about the findings. Whenever a case ended in a guilty verdict, a plea bargain, or an “implied win”—i.e., an episode ended before the verdict was shown, but not before making it clear that a guilty verdict or plea bargain was on the way—we counted this as a “win” for the Law & Order team. Whether you regard a high winning percentage as a point in a character’s favor is, of course, entirely up to you. Personally, “Hang ’em High McCoy” will always be second in my affections to the more upstanding Mr. Stone. And Lennie Briscoe is second to none.* But now you can come to an informed verdict of your own.

121113_BB_lawCaptain
121113_BB_lawSGT
121113_BB_orderDAs
121113_BB_orderExecutiveASAs
121113_BB_orderASAs

* This post originally misspelled the last name of fictional character Lennie Briscoe.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

Holly Allen is a Web designer at Slate. She lives in Atlanta.

Holly Allen is a Slate Web designer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.