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Want Another Good Actor as President?

On cable reruns of Law & Order, Fred Thompson plays the harrumphing district attorney Arthur Branch. Now the actor is poised in real life to make a run for the Oval Office.

If a Law & Order character can make it to the presidency, is Fred Thompson/Arthur Branch the best choice? A few better possibilities:

1. Steven Hill, who played D.A. Adam Schiff in L&O’s first ten seasons, is just as authoritative as Thompson. And his character believed in accomplishing things—he was forever giving brusque commands such as “Get it done” and “Make a deal.”

2. Jesse L. Martin, who plays detective Ed Green, is not only tall and well spoken; he also sings! How sublime to have a president able to lead the singing of the National Anthem. Given that he’s developing a biopic about Marvin Gaye, maybe he could start the State of the Union with “What’s Going On.”

3. Paul Sorvino, the accomplished actor who played detective Phil Cerretta for several seasons, also is tall and imposing. The real reason to elect him is that he is the father of actress Mira Sorvino. Mira in the White House instead of Jenna and Barbara? Sweet.

4. Tovah Feldshuh, who has played the indomitable defense attorney Danielle Melnick, explodes off the screen. Instead of Dick Cheney running the country from some undisclosed location, it’s time for upfront leadership.

5. Sam Waterston plays executive assistant district attorney Jack McCoy. While Thompson has portrayed five US presidents—U.S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, and two fictional commanders in chief—Waterston has played three even better presidents: a fictional one, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Plus Waterston’s hair and eyebrows are eminently more presidential.

This article can be found in the October 2007 issue of Washingtonian Magazine.

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