Every Major “Law & Order” Character Ranked In Order Of Lesbianism

27. Senior Detective Alexandra Eames

Screenshot 2016-05-16 12.47.39

Is seemingly able to withstand extended periods of time (all of it, all the time, every minute of time) with #1 Mansplainer Robert Goren, so. Generally doesn’t ping.

26. Junior Detective Megan Wheeler


Literally everybody on Criminal Intent bugged for me.

25. Junior Detective Amanda Rollins


Can’t be a lesbian because her and Carisi are MTB. But she could be bisexual and have an affair with her babysitter. Olivia Benson wouldn’t like that but Olivia Benson isn’t the boss of Rollins’ personal life.

24. Judge Lena Petrovsky


Has a deeply adversarial history with Alex Cabot, so probably she is homophobic.

23. Assistant District Attorney Kim Greylek


Vaguely emenates a cylon vibe.

22. Police Psychiatrist Paula Gyson

LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT -- "Boots on the Ground" -- Pictured: Julia Ormond as Dr. Paula Severin -- Photo by: WIll Hart/USA Network

I have no memory of this character but if I did, it would be a memory of her driving away from her ex’s house on a motorcycle.

21. Junior Detective Nina Cassady


Who? Statistically speaking, is probably gay.

20. Junior Detective Monique Jeffries


Never truly fleshed out or given time to shine, leading her to be replaced by Ice-T. Also used to work out at my gym in Union Square. That has nothing to do with anything besides spandex in general.

19. Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Borgia


Has “relatives in Venice.” Is brutally murdered.

18. Assistant District Attorney Sonya Paxton


Elliot Stabler considered her “hungry for power.” Alcoholic. Lives by her own rules. Is brutally murdered by somebody else’s stalker.

17. Assistant District Attorney Jamie Ross


Her name is “Jamie.” Lesbian haircut. Intense custody battle with her ex.

16. Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Rogers


Longest-running recurring character in various Law & Order universes due to absolutely zero fear of commitment. Butch business casual. Easily frustrated by men.

15. Judge / Bureau Chief Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Donnelly

Judith Light - Bureau Chief ADA Elizabeth Donnelly

“The ballsiest character the franchise has ever invented – male or female” –  Susan Green & Randee Dawn, The Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Companion

14. Junior Detective Nola Falacci

Screenshot 2016-05-16 12.51.34

Lesbian voice, bad with people, broad shoulders, wears tank tops to work.

13. Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa

Law & Order

“De La Garza is, per the show’s distaff tradition, obliged to have Rubirosa scissor her legs around the DA’s office.” – Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly

12. Lieutenant Anita Van Buren


That’s the same face she makes at the hospital when they’re like, “I’m sorry you have to be legally related to the patient in order to be granted visitation rights.” Nope, not today. NOT ON MY WATCH.

11. Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid


Lesbian voice. Pro-choice feminist, Scully haircut. Died in a car crash while helping a drunk detective get home from the bar.

10. Interim District Attorney Nora Lewin


First female DA. Definitely a kinky top who sleeps on a pile of money. Probably does “in contempt of court” role-playing.

9. Junior Detective Carolyn Barek


This is a trick question because in addition to playing Carolyn Barek, this actress also played a lesbian in “ALTO – A Lesbian Romantic Comedy starring Diana Degarmo Of American Idol & Annabella Sciorra,” AND she played a lesbian in The L Word, and everybody who was in The L Word is gay now.

8. Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael

Angie Harmon - ADA Abbie Carmichael

Was on the track team at the University of Texas. Overall moral situation leans Log Cabin Republican.

7. Psychologist Elizabeth Olivet



6. Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak

Diane Neal - ADA Casey Novak

Lesbian voice. In her first appearance on the show as ADA, lesbian doyenne Olivia Benson comes to Casey’s office to yell at her and finds Casey IS ALREADY CRYING. This is a unique lesbian trait, crying in anticipation of being yelled at by Olivia Benson. Also: plays softball, troubled ex, tense relationship with her former lover/mentor Elizabeth Donnelley.

In her former life as a straight woman, appeared as a witness in a case involving everybody’s favorite procedural topic, autoerotic asphyxiation.

5. Medical Examiner Melinda Warner


Knows her way around a body, strategically buries the lede. Is the Heather Hogan of Law & Order in that every time she walks into a room I think, “Oh good, somebody has arrived to make sense of things.” Looks good in a lab coat.

4. FBI Special Agent George Huang



3. Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot


Lesbian voice. Has an off-screen fan-created deeply implied romantic relationship with Olivia Benson. The Ciara song “Like a Boy” was inspired by Alexandra Cabot, I think. In a press call, as reported by AfterEllen, Stephanie March said of Olivia/Cabot being in love, “I’m not saying we’re not… I’m not saying we’re not in love.” CLOSE ENOUGH.

2. Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn


Good news here is that Serena Southerlyn, in addition to having my middle name as her last name but with the Southern term “Southern” in front of it, is actually a lesbian. We know this because HER LITERAL LAST LINE ON THE SHOW FOREVER was after she got fired and asked, “is this because I’m a lesbian?” We all know the answer to that is always yes. (Technically her last line is “good… good” after Branch says she’s not being fired for being a lesbian. But she is being fired for being too emotional about her cases, which is basically the same thing.)

1. Olivia Benson

Straight girls hate her butch haircuts. Is Olivia Benson.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. i love this list, it is perfect in every way AND YET i am also going to write my own, competing list in which megan wheeler is #1

    • I totally agree – Wheeler should make the Top Ten at least! The haircut, the lack of interest in Chris Noth, the time she got hit on by that female mechanic! Plus her overly complicated engagement to the British money launderer = clearly a beard.

    • I was STUNNED that Megan Wheeler was 2nd to last! I mean, I may have watched CI just for that haircut… :P

  2. alana de la garza 4 ever although tbh i mostly dreamed of having her and jeremy sisto hook up during her reign on l&o.

    • I have watched more than one bad television show for an ENTIRE SEASON just because Alana de la Garza is on it.

  3. Autostraddle is constantly giving me things I didn’t even know I needed. Can Autostraddle just be my girlfriend?

  4. This was traumatizing. So many tragic deaths I had no idea about.

    Good low voices from the women of L&O.

  5. BLAZER. lololol.

    Oh Mariska Hagertay; I’m so glad you’re in charge of shit on this TV show that I like.

    Her mom was Jayne Mansfield and her dad was Mr Universe or similar title.

  6. OK, lots of this made me laugh, but this, this was perfect:

    “This is a unique lesbian trait, crying in anticipation of being yelled at by Olivia Benson.”

    I always loved Casey, and now I know why!

    And I love how being an out lesbian isn’t enough to knock off the goddess that is Olivia Benson off her rightful top spot. ;-)

    • Of course there couldn’t have been anyone else as #1! And the reason “Is Olivia Benson” was just perfect.

      Also lol at George Huang.

  7. I feel like ADA Abbie Carmichael deserves to be much higher on this list, but is held back by her Republican sympathies.

  8. my number one hobby from ages 13-15 was watching law and order reruns, and it was pretty fucking crucial to the development of my sexual orientation (bossy brunettes with raspy voices)

  9. ok can someone explain some of the word and lingo to lesbian things. sorry looking for terminology ? I know what Misandry is. but maybe some that i don’t know.

    • I know of one word Misandry , i know what that means. I understand Gal Pal. and girl power is it just a few other words that i am under sure of.

  10. As someone who has written academic papers on various installments of the L&O franchise, this may be the best thing I’ve ever read on here ever ever ever (narrowly beating out internet haikus). Long live Cabot/Benson!

  11. I sat in the canteen at work giggling at this!
    It was hilariously spot-on! Thank you ?

  12. Oh my god. This. This is the best piece of media I’ve seen on the internet in weeks. I have been so swamped at work I haven’t even BEEN on Autostraddle in weeks, but THIS, RIESE, THIS BROUGHT ME BACK.

    I’ve been in love with Olivia Benson since approximately Season 1. (I was 11.)

    Olivia Benson was the first lady that ever made me say “hm, that’s funny that I feel like that about a lady.” (I was approximately 18.)

    It was my reaction to Olivia Benson that first made a friend say, “lol you love her so much are you sure you’re not gay?” (I was 21.)

    My phone ringtone was the Law and Order theme song the year I discovered I actually am gay. (I was 22.)

    You’ll see by looking at my Autostraddle profile that my favorite thing to Autostraddle IS INDEED DETECTIVE OLIVIA BENSON.

    For the longest time I thought Mariska Hargitay’s name was actually Mariska HartiGAY. But really. HartiGAY, amirite?

    Although at the same time, I think she might be one of those people where I don’t so much want to meet her / be around her as I want to BE her. Man. What a lady.

    Keep up the good work.


      one time they were filming l&osvu on my block so i went to the bodega like 10 times to look at mariska and the scoop is that yes she is even that radiant — MORESO, EVEN — in person.

      • Omg I follow her on Instagram and she took an Italian vacation with her husband and like YAASSSS QUEEEEN

      • I’m happy to have contributed to bettering your knowledge of important things, Chandra. ;)

  13. Alex Cabot and Det Benson. The first ship ever to set sail in this young lesbians head. As they say, The First Ship is the Strongest Ship!

  14. I’d add Viola Davis’ character, defense attorney Donna Emmett….

    To be sure, she was kind of a horrible person who defended some really terrible people but, I just imagine this was her first job, post-law school, and she was still recovering from her break-up with Famke Janssen.

  15. My best friend sent me here, knowing that this is so unbelievably my shit, it’s practically impossible that I didn’t write it. That being said, I have a few Points Of Order I would like to discuss. Related below, as they were originally sent in text form to said BFF:

    in W H A T FUCKING UNIVERSE IS LIZ “prowls around her office by turns murmuring at or viscerally destroying her young protege ADAs” DONNELLY NOT IN THE TOP TEN

    and alexandra eames being ranked anywhere outside the top fifteen let alone last

    the woman is as bi as the day is long and no one will take this from me

    other than that

    HOLY SHIT A++ ?? MHMM ??? THIS IS THAT GOOD ? SHIT ? RIGHT ? THERE ?? if I do ✅ say ✅ so mySELF ✅✅✅ THIS IS ? THE KIND ?? of content ? I cRAVE ???

  16. I literally had to pause the episode of L&O SVU playing on my laptop when I saw this article appear on my phone. Riese you read my soul.

    Olivia Benson is my kryptonite.

    • II like Casey the best.. then Alex .. Then Nola . Olivia is last or close to last and i don’t really know why.. Casey is number one that is for sure.

    • Seriously though, please read this and then talk to me about it; no one in my life will read it

      It’s technically an Olivia / Alex slash fic but also it’s a novella written in haiku like blurbs with a solidly weird vibe, like Welcome To Nightvale type vibes, but funnier and also darker and weirder.

      • Hi hello hi! I’m the author of “Especially Heinous” and these comments make me so happy I’m fit to burst.

        • UM!! literally for a few months after reading it, I set my browser to open up to it as the default page

          Just so I knew I wouldn’t lose it in my bookmarks bar

          I knew my sister hadn’t read it all the way through when she didn’t come to me afterward IMMEDIATELY

          “did u read it??”

          “yeah it’s good!”


          That evening she approached me, wide eyed:

          “i read it. I feel every feeling. I feel empty.”

          Your friend linked to it in the comments of an article on The Toast (RIP) forever ago & my life has been forever changed

          • Ahhhhhhhh all of this makes me so happy. Thank you! (Also, obligatory self-promotion: it’ll be in my book that’s coming out next year, HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, from Graywolf Press.)

        • I’ve screenshot your comment so hopefully I’ll remember to look for your book (!!) when it’s for sale and WOW I’M SO EXCITED


      Seriously Autostraddle, this fic is the ABSOLUTE BEST. Super on point with the canon/characterization and just GUH. I reread it semi-annually and can’t watch an SVU episode from those seasons without reading the accompanying chapter.

    • so excited to read this now, always got a soft spot for cabot/benson fanfiction.

    • Did you ever read Mira’s 100 Things that Might Have Happened on ralst.com? Just started reading your piece and I’m reminded of it in structure (a compliment, I love things that are structured this way).

    • No luck posting my image. But I’m feeling like a “hey girl” meme feat. Olivia Benson would be to queer women what that Ryan Reynolds meme is to straight women…

  17. True story, one of the first time my dad tried to show me he was cool with the gay we had this conversation:

    Him:So, what’s the deal with Mariska Hargitay?

    Me:What do you mean?

    Him:Isn’t she something of a hero to the sisters of Lesbos?

    Me:…dies laughing

    That is verbatim. His exact phrase was “hero to the sisters of Lesbos”. I will never forget that to my dying day because it was amazing and ridiculously and a very my dad thing to say. Later he asked me about lesbians playing softball. I think he was maybe googling things lesbians like? Which I imagine would be dangerous without safe search on.

  18. My love for this post is only rivaled by my love for all these comments. You guys are awesome.

  19. Alex Cabot & Olivia Benson 5ever! They’re right up there with Xena/Gabrielle with the femslash that will never go away. Too bad Mariska is as homophobic as Angie Harmon when it comes to shipping her with the ladies. Btw, she’s going to straighten herself up some more since this article is posted.


    Forreal, this show, which I started watching right around the time I was realizing some things about myself, is intimately entwined with my babygayness.

    Alex/Olivia forever, go read fanfiction on ralst.com then watch Loss a few times. And the one with Kate Moennig (one drink) and basically all of their interactions. Ugh. So good.

    Literally the only thing I ever wrote fanfiction about.

    Slightly incoherent right now.

    • And I forgot that Mariska Hargitay doesn’t just have chemistry with Stephanie March, but the second episode with Tracy Pollan (Closure 2)? Fucking sizzling between them.

  21. Totally think Rollins should be higher, but I’m sure that’s because Kelli Giddish played a bi character on The Good Wife and I can no longer not see her digging the ladies.

    And Casey should be like 2 and not because I ship Benson/Novak. Nope.

  22. “In her first appearance on the show as ADA, lesbian doyenne Olivia Benson comes to Casey’s office to yell at her and finds Casey IS ALREADY CRYING. This is a unique lesbian trait, crying in anticipation of being yelled at by Olivia Benson.”

    TOO FUNNY. And I JUST watched this last night! (Also, I re-eally want a girlfriend with Casey’s hair colour…)

    And then, right before that, I watched Alexandra Cabot’s first final episode! I miss her already… (#AlexOlivia4Ever)

    Also: Huang. Yes. Yesyesyes.

  23. This is all very relevant to my interests because ship both Benson and Cabot with myself.

  24. I have to say, it’s tragic to see Alexandra Eames coming in dead last here, because Kathryn Erbe is the one and only reason I could stand to watch Law and Order CI with my mom circa 2006. She’s definitely part of my complex web of queer roots, no question.

    • Ohmygosh yes. I came for the storyline and ended up staying for Eames. Her biceps… *swoon*

  25. oh shit, so my slight obsession with Olivia Benson might be a side in the + column that i might like the ladies?!!? I had no clue it was a thing…shit…

    • If you have time for a longer form experiment – Marathon seasons 2-4 (and first 4 eps of season 5 up to Loss) and drool over butch Benson having eye sex with Cabot… then read a couple of graphic Olivia/Alex fanfics and it should become abundantly clear whether you whether you like the ladies.
      If time is of the essence I think this list is a pretty good litmus test of female queerness. Does this list give you all the feels?are you emotionally invested in the ranking of multiple characters? (Or just disproportionately invested in Liv being #1… in fact Double your points if points if one of those characters is Olivia Benson) If you answered yes to both questions I would put money on you not being straight…

      • @darcy–HMMMM. I’m not sure the list gives me all the feels, but i don’t really have a lot of “feels” in general, and really…i’ve only ever watch SVU….and mainly because of Olivia Benson’s awesomeness. Sooo…right. But it doesn’t help me at all, and my therapist says i’ve tried to think my way to an answer for the past 13 years, and clearly thinking isn’t going to work. I Just don’t know what will work, or if i truly want to know.

          • @confused04 Not sure if you meant that you’ve been questioning your sexuality for 13 years or thinking about Olivia Benson and her awesomeness for 13 years… (but hey, its pretty much the same thing?)
            If after 13 years of overanalysing you are unable to conclusively rule out being attracted to women – then you definitely are attracted to women.
            Are you a lesbian? are you bi or pan sexual? generally queer? asexual and homo-romantic? this I cannot tell you…
            I do recommend learning my doing/trying though. You don’t know if you like strawberries by looking at them in a catalogue! Be yourself and do what feels right for you… then worry about what box to tick later.
            Good luck & feel free to hit me up with a PM if you need to talk. :)

  26. You guys, let’s not forget about Stephanie March’s single episode appearance as Liz Lemons potential love interest on 30 Rock. They went on a date! They almost made out!

  27. Bump up #20 because she was Kerry Weaver’s reporter girlfriend right as Kerry left the show.

  28. Love this article. I have always hated television but have watched every episode of L&O SVU and most of the others – even with the violent content I cannot get enough of the these lesbians voices (of course that is a thing!) and all of the hot dykes.

  29. this is so good. also Kim Greylek and olivia were really into each other, they had amazing chemistry like on novak/ benson levels

  30. Legit, before I knew I was gay I had a picture of Mariska Hargitay taped up on my wall above my desk. When she went undercover with the eco terrorists she had such intense chemistry with the FBI agent I seriously thought they were finally gonna go there! Disappointed again.

  31. Not to be a dick but a grammatical error that irks me is “her and Jane went to dinner.” Should be “she and Jane went to dinne.”. Only mention because you’re a writer. I love you

  32. It\’s been a while since last posted, i still have a crush on Casey Novak . Oh, and i changed my gender iD name to Violet Rose(a violet flower has a real history about a Greek isle of Lesbos…

Comments are closed.