|Law & Order character|
|First appearance||Season 1: "One"|
|Last appearance||Season 5: "The Good"|
|Portrayed by||Courtney B. Vance|
|Time on show||2001–2006|
|Seasons||1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
|Succeeded by||Patricia Kent|
|Occupation||Assistant District Attorney|
Carver often works in conjunction with detectives Robert Goren, Alexandra Eames, Mike Logan and Carolyn Barek of the Major Case Squad. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As an ADA, his interpretation and prosecution of the law is strict and unyielding, and he has little sympathy for people who break it, regardless of circumstance. This sometimes puts him in conflict with Goren, who has solved some crimes by empathizing with the criminals and has occasionally manipulated investigations so they get more lenient prison sentences than those which Carver wants to impose.
Carver is also frequently in conflict with all the detectives because they tend to rely on hunches and instinct, when he wants more hard evidence. Despite this conflict, however, he has a strong working relationship with both teams. Few things have been revealed about his personal life. He evidently has some experience with religion, as he can recognize and recite Biblical passages. Though he has a wedding ring, the only direct reference he has made to being married was during a particularly twisted investigation; after hearing all the gruesome details, he observed, "This makes me want to go home and kiss my wife". He is pro-life and a fan of classic model cars. While in law school, he also formed a barbershop quartet-style singing group with several of his classmates.
Carver was written out of Law & Order: Criminal Intent after Vance left the show at the end of its fifth season. Carver was to be replaced by Patricia Kent. The part was originally given to Nona Gaye (Marvin Gaye's daughter), but she left the show within a few days citing creative differences. Gaye was replaced by Theresa Randle, who herself only appeared in two episodes. Kent once quoted Carver as referring to Major Case as "major hunch."
As has often taken place in the Law & Order franchise, Vance first appeared on the original Law & Order series in a 1990 episode, "By Hooker, By Crook" as an unnamed Mayor's Aide. He also appeared in the season 5 episode, "Rage". In that episode, he portrayed Benjamin Greer, a suspect interviewed and arrested by Detective Mike Logan.