Steven Hill, “Law and Order’s” Adam Schiff, R.I.P.

Every lawyer we know, and lots of non-lawyers, just love the TV show “Law and Order” — it captured the lawyers’ decision-making process and the flavor of the courtroom very well. It included the doings of both brilliant and wacky judges, like no other TV show ever did, with a generous soupcon of New York thrown in. Perhaps that was because many of its writers (like Roger Wolfson) had an experienced background of working in law that gave it that grounded sense of realism.

But it was mainly because the casting was brilliant, even the best script can’t work if the actors can’t use it to its potential. Our favorite character of all time was the fictional Adam Schiff (actually named Steven Hill) playing the District Attorney of New York City. He was eventually replaced in that role, but none of his replacements succeeded in capturing the flavor, the spirit, or the geschmack that he brought to it. Fred Thompson, one of his replacements and another favorite of ours, came close but his earthy Southern charm (and drawl) somehow did not ring quite right in the context of his role as a successful New York politician/lawyer/legal strategist.

We just learned that Mr. Hill has passed away at the age of 94 — not bad.

We do not claim being a Feinschmecker of acting, but we know a little something about what goes on in courtrooms, and are of the opinion that Mr. Hill entertained us royally, and enriched our professional lives. We are unlikely to see his likes again.

R.I.P. Steve