Law And Order's Odelya Halevi Shares How Sam Waterston Helped Calm Her Nerves As A Longtime Fan

Law & Order returned to NBC with new episodes for the first time since 2010 back in February, filling out a full three-hour block of hit franchise action on Thursday nights and bringing back television icon Sam Waterston along with some other familiar faces from the original run of the series. Some key new cast members joined Waterston for Season 21 as well, including Odelya Halevi, whose character of Samantha Maroun joined Waterston’s McCoy in the “law” half of Law & Order. The actress recently spoke with CinemaBlend and shared her longtime love of the show as well as what it has been like working with Waterston. 

Odelya Halevi plays Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun, who is one of the new characters to join the long-running show for its return in the 2021-2022 TV season. Despite this, the actress was already more than a little bit familiar with Law & Order, as she shared: 

Oh, I really was familiar with it. Actually, that's the show that made me want to be a lawyer. Because I would watch it with my mom, you know, a long, long time ago, when I was a kid, and I couldn't tell the difference between a lawyer and an actor because all I saw was these people, they just perform in front of an audience. So I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. And I told my mom, 'That's what I want to do. I want to be a lawyer.' And she's like, 'No, you just want to be one on TV.' And I was like, 'Ooh, that makes sense.' And so to end up on that show that I've been a fan of for so many years, it's just incredible.

Not many shows enjoy long enough runs (or return for highly-anticipated revivals) that actors can star in series that they watched as children, but Odelya Halevi was fortunate enough to land the role of Maroun. The character already proved how essential she was to the team by the end of the Season 21 premiere, when it was her closing argument that involved opening up about her past that resulted in justice being served. 

Maroun has continued to work her hardest to try and help close cases, which has involved getting creative to find justice, even if she doesn’t always follow the rules as closely as her boss would like. Odelya Halevi’s character works closely alongside Hugh Dancy as Executive ADA Nolan Price (who threatened to fire her after she worked with Anthony Anderson’s Detective Bernard to pull off a plea deal), which has also meant sharing some key scenes with Sam Waterston as DA Jack McCoy. 

Waterston is a television icon thanks to his many years as McCoy on Law & Order, so working with him as a longtime fan was a nerve-wracking prospect for Odelya Halevi, but when asked what it has been like working with him, she explained how he helped to calm her nerves early on:

I mean, he's God. And I love him to death. He makes me feel so comfortable on set. He's just so funny and fun to work with. He noticed that in the beginning, I was a little bit nervous to work with him because he would say his line and I would just look at him and forget that I even had a line because I was just so into it. And then the script supervisor would be like, 'Odelya, that's your line.' And so he really made me feel comfortable by saying 'We're here to have fun also. We tell serious stories, but we're here to have fun.' And that was everything I needed to hear. And we've been having fun since then.

Law & Order isn’t exactly the funniest show on primetime (although not necessarily as dark as Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime have been known to get), but the cast has been able to have fun behind the scenes. The show has also put plenty of effort into guaranteeing accuracy, as proven by the lengths that the prop department went to pull off the recent suitcase twist

Whether the cases are ripped from the headlines or not, the original series’ revival has proved to be a solid anchor for a full night of L&O action, followed by SVU and then Organized Crime on NBC Thursday nights. The first season still has a little less than a month to go before the finale in May, so be sure to keep tuning in, and check back with CinemaBlend for more from Odelya Halevi. New episodes of Law & Order featuring the actress as ADA Maroun air on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.