Law And Order's Hugh Dancy Breaks Down The 'Terrible Thing' That Price Did For The Latest Case

Hugh Dancy as Nolan Price in Law and Order Season 22
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 17 of Law & Order Season 22, called “Bias.”

Law & Order tackled the case of a murdered defense attorney in “Bias,” and the stakes were even higher than usual due to Nolan Price’s involvement as more than just the assistant district attorney. Not only did he find the body of his friend after he was late for their meeting in a park, but he didn’t reveal that he had a romantic history with her until the truth came out when he was on the stand. While Maroun managed to close the case for him and secure the guilty verdict, Price still did what actor Hugh Dancy describes as “a terrible thing.” Read on for his breakdown of “Bias” from an interview with CinemaBlend!

Hugh Dancy spoke with CinemaBlend about Nolan Price in this week’s episode and how the case would get “personal” enough for the character to start bending his own rules. The star hadn’t seen the episode yet when we spoke, but he shared his thoughts on what it was like to play Price on the other side of the witness chair during a trial, saying: 

That was very fun for me. I haven't seen the episode yet, so I'm very curious to see how that plays. I liked the fact that not only was he the guy who understands exactly where the other lawyer is coming from because he pulls all the same tricks himself, but also, Price has been holding stuff back, which is always a bad thing for witness to do and it's a terrible thing for the prosecutors to be doing. [laughs] He was literally in the hot seat.

Nolan Price knows better than to do a lot of what he did in this episode, but he crossed lines due to his belief that he was the DA’s best hope for getting justice for Rachel Bender after her murder. It wasn’t until the defense attorney produced proof that Price had been involved with Rachel years ago that it became clear just how biased he was in wanting to try this case. When I noted to the actor that fans would be watching opposing counsel pulling the kinds of legal tricks that Price normally would, Hugh Dancy responded:

Right, exactly! Normally I get to pull the rug out from under people's feet. It was fun to have it happen to me.

Even before the truth came out about Price’s past relationship with the victim, he and Maroun were facing an uphill battle. They were trying to put a judge behind bars for murder, which didn’t exactly put them in the favor of the judge presiding over the case. Price just made it worse when he asked the trial judge to recuse himself when the attorneys met with him in chambers. Hugh Dancy explained how it felt different than the average episode, saying:

For anybody who watches Law and Order regularly, they will know that when we go into the judge's chambers, it is 95% of the time a massive loss for us, [laughs] because in order to have something to overcome, really, it doesn't tend to go our way. So this felt familiar in that respect, but just a lot worse.

The ADAs rarely get the news they’re hoping for if they join the judge in chambers, especially if the meeting is relatively early in the episode. Asking for a recusal pretty much guaranteed that the odds were stacked against them, and there’s no guarantee that they would have gotten their guilty verdict if not for bending the rules a bit. 

Maroun clearly wasn’t happy about how they got their verdict despite the two usually having a solid dynamic (with some notable exceptions), and the whole situation revealed much more about Price than Law & Order had given away before. So, did the actor enjoy getting to dig into his character’s backstory more than usual? Hugh Dancy explained: 

Yes, I really did, because I like the fact that Price came from the defense side of the law. That's not so common in real life. It usually goes the other way around. People start out as prosecutors and they'd go into defense law because it pays more. That's what I've discovered. He went the other way as a matter of principle, so anything that adds a little bit of understanding to who he is, is fun for me and it just raises the stakes.

Interestingly, even though Price is Maroun’s boss, Law & Order had revealed more about Odelya Halevi’s character and backstory than his prior to “Bias.” After this episode, his backstory has been fleshed out a lot more. According to the actor, he was as in the dark about Price’s history as fans were prior to this episode. Dancy said: 

I know nothing about Price! [laughs] That's the nature of Law & Order, right? You don't sign up for it thinking that you're gonna get to explore a rich and complicated backstory. You might have some stuff you make up yourself, but really, it's these episodes that [come] once in a while and I learn it almost at the same time as everybody else.

Will Law & Order continue to dig into Price’s history in Season 22 and/or beyond (assuming renewal news comes sooner rather than later)? Only time will tell on that front. This is still a procedural show, with the ensemble cast investigating and prosecuting a different case every week. Still, the show has also revisited Maroun’s unresolved feelings about the loss of her sister and Shaw’s struggles with the NYPD after leaving behind a career in law, so it's entirely possible that we’ll get more of Price’s history moving forward. 

Find out with new episodes of Law & Order on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. If you’ve msised any of Season 22 so far or just want to revisit some earlier days of the series, you can find Law & Order available streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).