Nina Cassady

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Det. Nina Cassady
Law & Order character
First appearance "Fame"
Last appearance "The Family Hour"
Portrayed by Milena Govich
Time on show 2006–2007
Seasons 17
Credited appearances 22 episodes (total)
Preceded by Ed Green
Succeeded by Cyrus Lupo

Detective Nina Cassady is a fictional character on the NBC crime drama Law & Order, portrayed by Milena Govich. Cassady, who represents the only female detective to co-lead in the original Law & Order series, is on the show for the entire seventeenth season. The show portrays Cassady partnered with Det. Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin).[1]

Govich initially appeared on Law & Order as a bartender in the sixteenth season episode "Flaw". She appeared in a total of 22 episodes. Along with Max Greevey, she is the shortest serving detective on the series.

Character development[edit]

The beginning of season seventeen explains that Cassady was transferred to the 27th Precinct after a shootout at a beauty parlor, which led to the press nicknaming her "Detective Beauty Queen." Subsequent episodes reveal that her character was born in Queens, New York, comes from a family of police officers. Her brother Jimmy served in the 97th Precinct.[2] She had a sister-in-law and a niece, presumably Jimmy's wife and daughter.[3] She attended Sunday school for six years.[4]

In L&O[edit]

The entrance of Nina Cassady's character creates instant tension within the 27th Precinct. The issues of a detective's experience and gender become central to her tenure on the show, as she grapples with the perceptions of her coworkers as well as that of the media. Almost immediately, she is looked down upon for having less experience than her fellow homicide detectives, and her promotion to homicide is seen as a fluke after her high-profile shootout in a beauty parlor. She ends up with the nickname "Detective Beauty Queen," which annoys her and sets the tone for many of the conflicts that follow for her on the show.

In the seventeenth season opener, there is almost immediate tension with her boss, Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), who states that she already had a "hand-picked" replacement for Det. Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina), a much older and more experienced detective. Over the course of the season, Van Buren appears to come to accept Cassady as a detective, at least up until the season finale "The Family Hour", during which old tensions resurface. When Cassady botches an interrogation by losing her temper and goading a suspect who was close to a confession (the suspect is enraged to the point that he throws a chair through a glass window), Van Buren chastises her for acting unprofessionally even after eight months on the job, suggesting that Cassady will not have a future in homicide at the 27th Precinct after all. While the show gives Cassady a chance to recover her mistake with later scenes and, in particular, a strong performance on the witness stand, Cassady is no longer a character on the show at the start of the eighteenth season and is succeeded by Det. Cyrus Lupo. No explanation for Cassady's departure is given and she is neither seen nor referred to again.

Other more minor issues that come into play during the course of Cassady's season on the show are those of family lineage and race. It is revealed that Cassady's character is of Irish descent when a has-been actor named Mitch Carroll (played by Chevy Chase) falsely believes her to be Jewish and incorrectly uses anti-Semitic slurs against her during an interrogation.[5] On the street, Cassady raises the topic of racial profiling, explaining to Detective Green that if she were on a street late at night and she saw three black teenagers coming towards her, she would cross the street away from them. However, she nuances her opinion by adding to Green, an African-American, that the police should not necessarily be allowed to make a traffic stop solely based on his race.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NBC.com > Law & Order
  2. ^ Law & Order episode "Fame", originally aired September 22, 2006.
  3. ^ Law & Order episode "Avatar", originally aired September 29, 2006.
  4. ^ NewsOK: Actress hits target with cop role
  5. ^ Law & Order episode "In Vino Veritas", originally aired November 3, 2006.
  6. ^ Law & Order episode "Fear America", originally aired October 13, 2006.