Law & Order: Season 1 (1990 - 1991)


Season 1
Law & Order

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Critic Ratings: 9


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19
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Air date: Sep 13, 1990
Air date: Sep 20, 1990
Air date: Oct 4, 1990
Air date: Oct 11, 1990
Air date: Oct 23, 1990
Air date: Oct 30, 1990
Air date: Nov 13, 1990
Air date: Nov 20, 1990
Air date: Nov 27, 1990
Air date: Dec 4, 1990
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Law & Order: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The iconic police procedural series "Law & Order" is perhaps best known for its two-part structure. The first half-hour of each episode is devoted to the men and women who investigate crimes and the second dramatizes the experiences of the individuals in the judicial system who bring the associated criminals from those cases to justice. In its first season, the program introduces us to several related characters - including Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth), Sgt. Max Greevey (George Dzundza), Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek), Exec. Asst. DA Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty) and DA Adam Schiff (Steven Hill). Cases this season include a doctor's possible negligence when a woman dies in the ER following a stressful graveyard shift; a woman with a rocky relationship history who dies following an argument and may have been killed by one of her former boyfriends; the search for conspirators in an abortion clinic bombing; and ultimately, Cragen's implication in an internal affairs investigation.


George Dzundza
as Det. Max Greevey
Michael Moriarty
as ADA Ben Stone
Chris Noth
as Det. Mike Logan
Richard Brooks (VI)
as ADA Paul Robinette
Dann Florek
as Capt. John Cragen
Laurie Kennedy
as Mrs. Donovan
Jonathan Hadary
as Petrovich
Steven Hill
as Adam Schiff
Paul Calderon
as Father Torres
Bob Gunton
as Bob Himes
Amy Aquino
as Erica Stohlmeyer
Bridgit Ryan
as Celeste
Tom Signorelli
as Anthony Holland
Philip Bosco
as Gordon Schell
Miriam Colon
as Mrs. Rivers
Lonny Price
as Dr. Lieber
Erik King
as Dorian "Silky" Ford
Stephen McHattie
as Joe Pilefsky
Betty Miller
as Mrs. McDiarmid
Frankie Faison
as Lester Twiggs
Olek Krupa
as Osinski
Thomas Calabro
as Ned Loomis
Roxanne Hart
as Janet Ralston
Roy Thinnes
as DA Alfred Wentworth
Lee Richardson
as Le Claire
Barbara Andres
as Mrs. Holland
Patricia Clarkson
as Laura Winthrop
J.A. Preston
as Congressman Ronald Eaton
Caroline Kava
as Rose Schwimmer
Matt Hofherr
as Suspect
John Seitz
as Babcock
J.D. Cannon
as Chet Burton
Chuck Cooper
as MacDaniel
Cynthia Nixon
as Former Dancer
John Finn
as Off. Freddo Parisi
Robert Lansing
as Chief of Operations
Larry Keith
as Commissioner
Al Shannon
as Pruiting
Frances Conroy
as Elizabeth Hendrick
Justin Cozier
as Hired Killer
Dennis Boutsikaris
as Dick Berkley
Anthony Heald
as Ian O'Connell
Paul Sparer
as Chief Resident
Paul Guilfoyle (II)
as Anthony Scalisi
Ken Johnston
as Cutrona
Paul Roebling
as Dr. James Reberty
John Spencer
as Howard Morton
Trey Wilson
as Cosmatos
Billie Neal
as Angela Wilkes
Gerry Bamman
as Int. Affairs Lt. Kennedy
Fritz Weaver
as Patient's Father
Wendy Makkena
as Off. Nicki Sandoval
Megan Gallagher
as TV Reporter
Charles Cioffi
as Frank Masucci
Dominic Chianese
as Dan Rubell
Steven Gilborn
as Judge Greenbaum
Patricia Barry
as Mrs. Stringfellow
Al Freeman Jr.
as Rev. Thayer
Paul Hecht
as Defense Atty. Ballard
Samuel L. Jackson
as Louis Taggert
Erick Avari
as Dr. Raza
Lewis J. Stadlen
as Eli Schwab
Randy Graff
as Dr. Kershan
Alan North
as Reilly
Stephen Elliott
as Judge Neil Markham
Bernard Barrow
as David Hamilton
David Groh
as Dr. Jacob Lowenstein
Clark Gregg
as Patrick Dunne
Gil Bellows
as Howard Metzler
George Morfogen
as Dwight Anderson
Barton Heyman
as Victor Norris
Lee Wilkof
as Jack Epstein
Jaime Tirelli
as CSU Technician Rivera
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Steven B. Hanauer, hypnotherapist
Diane Salinger
as Eugenia Rawlings
Doris Belack
as Judge Margaret Barry
Paul Butler
as Judge Ashford
Jake Weber
as Wesley Parker
Merlin Santana
as Roneld Griggs
Eugene Byrd
as Tonel Otten
Ann Dowd
as Teresa Franz
Rocky Carroll
as Dr. Davids
William Roerick
as Dr. Abraham
Regina Taylor
as Evelyn Griggs
Mark Boone Jr.
as General Manager
Merwin Goldsmith
as Arraignment Judge Gollub
Beatrice Winde
as Miss Perry
Paula Garcés
as Lucy Rivers
Julie White
as Waitress
Mike O'Malley
as New York Policeman #1
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Critic Reviews for Law & Order Season 1

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (5)

We hope "Law & Order" will help illuminate the process and inform the public. It has its weaknesses, but a strong cast and right aim help overcome them.

Jan 31, 2018 | Full Review…

Gritty. Really gritty. Aluminum on teeth gritty. And Oh So Watchable!

Dec 19, 2018 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Because its reach exceeded its grasp, it's a very good show, not a great one.

Sep 13, 1990 | Full Review…

This is series television that looks good but ultimately goes nowhere. They photographed the machine but forgot about its soul.

Sep 13, 1990 | Full Review…

The show's "ripped from the headlines" mantra makes engaging -- but fictional -- drama.

Sep 13, 1990 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Tightly paced and well acted, this first glimpse of ''Law and Order'' takes cops, D.A.'s and an entire hospital staff and makes them all utterly convincing and absorbing.

Nov 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Law & Order has golden potential. Executive producer Dick Wolf says he wants to make TV that matters about issues that count. "Law & Order" is now half a giant step in that direction.

Nov 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Through the concept of the following legal procedure must have sounded intriguing when first advanced, its execution comes off as leaden and contrived. This is television by the numbers, connecting the dots to make the picture.

Jan 26, 2018 | Full Review…

It's a little gimmicky, but it works, primarily on the strength of the cast.

Jan 26, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Law & Order: Season 1

  • Jul 25, 2018
    Law & Order is one of my go-to shows to watch while sitting on the couch and vegging out. I've seen every episode multiple times, but I find the show comforting. That's what Law & Order is - comfort food. The episodes are formulaic, right down to the trademark opening scene - some unfortunate people have their Seinfeldian conversation interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. Few episodes stand out, but the standard of quality is high and almost every episode is at least passable, and, while the show never dives particularly deeply into the issues it showcases, the show's examination of different societal problems can provide some fuel for thought. Unfortunately, the series not infrequently makes procedural errors (although it is at least more careful about remaining at least superficially plausible than the spin-off SVU), so it may miseducate some people about the legal system - although the people who try to learn law from a police procedural/courtroom drama are at least partly to blame for this miseducation. Season 1 has a slightly grittier tone than the latter seasons and takes place before the show's gradual slide toward sensationalism. It also has a decent cast. Michael Moriarty, with his distinctive soft voice, gives a good performance on the legal side, as does Richard Brooks. On the police procedural portion of the show, Chris Noth's Mike Logan is one of my favorite detectives of the franchise, just behind Lenny Briscoe and tied with Ed Green. I'm less certain about Max Greavy, but George Dzundza doesn't give a bad performance, just not as good as some of the other characters. Despite the episodes in any given season being relatively interchangeable, the "Torrents of Greed" two parter (aired in the middle of the first season) stands out as one of the better episodes of the franchise. Overall, the more realistic tone and a couple stand out episodes make season 1 one of the better seasons of the series.
  • Jun 09, 2014
    It's like watching two shows, a police investigation series for the first half hour, and a legal series for the next half an hour. Great performances, lots of mystery and drama, very realistic.

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