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|Det. Kevin Bernard|
|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||"Burn Card"|
|Last appearance||"Rubber Room"|
|Portrayed by||Anthony Anderson|
|Time on show||2008–2010|
|Seasons||18, 19, 20|
|Credited appearances||50 episodes (total)|
|Preceded by||Cyrus Lupo|
Kevin Bernard is a fictional character on the TV crime drama Law & Order, portrayed by the actor Anthony Anderson. Bernard appears in his position as junior detective for part of the eighteenth season, as well as all of the nineteenth and twentieth seasons of the show.
The show makes room for Detective Bernard in its ensemble cast when he first appears in the episode "Burn Card" as an Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) detective, investigating a shooting in which long-time Detective Ed Green is involved. The back story is that Bernard had not joined IAB willingly, but was told that he could try for a transfer to Homicide after a two-year tour of duty there, thus giving a rationale for his appearance. On the show itself, Green is eventually cleared of all charges, but he subsequently leaves the precinct. Following Green's departure, Bernard replaces him as the partner of Detective Cyrus Lupo, who was promoted to senior partner. Bernard's particular detective shield number is 1954.
Bernard's duty weapon is a Glock 19. In season 19 ("Take-out"), he and Lupo become the first Law & Order main character detectives to kill a suspect in the line of duty when they shoot a murder suspect who pulls a gun on them. Only two prior detective characters had shot suspects before: Detective Fontana, who had shot an armed suspected cop killer, and Lt. Van Buren, who had killed an armed mugger when she was off duty.
In terms of political views, Bernard's character represents a generally conservative influence in the detective squad of the show's fictional 27th Precinct. He is religious and a practicing Catholic, although he says in the episode "Rapture" that he does not believe in the Rapture. He is also pro-life, as revealed in the episode "Dignity". In the season 19 episode "Promote This" he says that he understands the anger toward illegal immigrants, as jobs in Compton, where he grew up, went to them primarily for the cheaper labor they were willing to provide. In fact, his childhood comes up several times during the last three seasons of the show. In the episodes "Bogeyman", "Rumble", "Promote This!" and "Boy Gone Astray" he mentions growing up in Compton, an urban city adjacent to Los Angeles.
Although the majority of the show as a whole focuses on office matters or other events during work hours, season 20 does give a deeper glimpse into Bernard's personal history and family life. During a courtroom scenario, it is revealed that he and a woman who was at the police academy at the same time as Bernard produced a son together whom Bernard does not see, as the woman married her later fiancé and the boy believes that it is this man who is his actual father.
- Law & Order episode "Burn Card", first US broadcast April 23, 2008