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|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||"Cherished" (L&O)
|Last appearance||"Deep Vote" (L&O)
|Portrayed by||Angie Harmon|
|Time on show||1998–2001 (L&O)
|Seasons||9, 10, 11 (L&O)
|Credited appearances||72 (L&O)
|Preceded by||Jamie Ross|
|Succeeded by||Serena Southerlyn (L&O)
Alexandra Cabot (SVU)
Abigail "Abbie" Carmichael is a fictional character on the TV drama Law & Order created by René Balcer and portrayed by model/actress Angie Harmon. The character was regularly featured from 1998 to 2001. She appeared in 78 episodes (72 episodes in Law & Order, and 6 episodes in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).
In Law & Order
Abbie Carmichael is introduced in the episode "Cherished", having transferred from the Narcotics Bureau to replace Jamie Ross (Carey Lowell) as Jack McCoy's (Sam Waterston) assistant in the New York County DA's office. The series reveals that she is from Dallas and attended the University of Texas, where she was on the track team.
Carmichael is characterized as a staunch political conservative: She is pro-life, opposes gun control, favors the death penalty, and has no faith in criminal rehabilitation programs. These political beliefs often put her in conflict with McCoy and DAs Adam Schiff (Steven Hill) and Nora Lewin (Dianne Wiest), all of whom are of a more liberal stripe.
Certain cases affect her world view, however. During one case, she prosecutes an incarcerated woman who had murdered a corrections officer she claims had forced her into a sexual relationship. Carmichael, who had prosecuted the woman before on a drug charge, has no sympathy for her and seems hell-bent on putting her in prison for life — until she cross-examines the woman, who reveals that she blames herself for being raped. This strikes a chord in Carmichael, who suddenly arranges a lenient plea bargain for the woman. Carmichael later reveals to McCoy that she had been raped as a freshman in college by a third-year law student she had been dating, and had for years blamed herself. In another case, her friend and fellow ADA, Toni Ricci, is murdered by the Russian mobsters she was prosecuting. It is the only time that she lets anyone in the DA's office see her cry.
Carmichael makes her final appearance in the episode "Deep Vote", as she accepts an offer to join the U.S. Attorney's office in New York. She is replaced by Serena Southerlyn (Elisabeth Röhm) in season 12.
In Law & Order spinoffs
Carmichael also appeared in six episodes of the first season of the spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: "Payback", "A Single Life", "Sophomore Jinx", "Closure", "Bad Blood" and "Entitled".
Behind the scenes
Despite describing Abbie Carmichael as a "great character", Harmon nonetheless was frustrated with the fact that her shooting schedule on the show caused her to miss out on roles in the movies Charlie's Angels and Spy Kids. Additionally, she felt that "the character didn't grow". Harmon asked producer Dick Wolf to kill off the Carmichael character in a dramatic fashion, but he refused.
Harmon has been credited in a total of 78 episodes of the Law & Order franchise – 72 of Law & Order and 6 episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
- "Cherished". Law & Order. Season 9. Episode 1. September 23, 1998. NBC.
- "Shield". Law & Order. Season 9. Episode 17. March 24, 1999. NBC.
- "Scrambled". Law & Order. Season 9. Episode 6. November 11, 1998. NBC.
- "Gunshow". Law & Order. Season 10. Episode 1. September 22, 1998. NBC.
- "Punk". Law & Order. Season 9. Episode 8. November 25, 2008. NBC.
- "Refuge". Law & Order. Season 9. Episode 24. May 26, 1999. NBC.
- Law & Order: 20 Years of Arresting Drama, TV Guide Special Collector's Issue
- Abbie Carmichael — IMDb