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Law & Order character
Nora Lewin
Time on show 2000—2002
Preceded by Adam Schiff
Succeeded by Arthur Branch
First appearance "Endurance"
Last appearance "Patriot"
Portrayed by Dianne Wiest

Nora Lewin was a fictional character on the TV show Law & Order, played by two-time Academy Award winning actress Dianne Wiest from 2000 to 2002. Her character was particularly notable for the fact that she was the first woman in the program's history to hold the position of District Attorney of New York County (no woman has held the position in real life). Pursuant to New York law, an interim District Attorney is appointed by the Governor.

Prior to her appointment as interim DA, Lewin was a law professor, which often provoked her critics to dismiss her as a detached academic with no practical experience. Lewin's term as DA was defined by a liberally directed program of legal application to many notable criminal cases, which often brought her into political and legal dilemmas. In 2001, she was confronted with the decision to pursue the death penalty in a conviction of an 18-year-old murderer. While she personally opposed the death penalty, she realized that her office would be seen as soft on crime, and succumbed to political pressure. The young man was found guilty and sent to death row. It was in this case that she revealed that while she was an idealist, she was not prepared to subvert the correct application of the law due to personal convictions.

Lewin worked closely with Jack McCoy and Abbie Carmichael. Her political beliefs often put her into conflict with both of them, especially the latter. When Carmichael left the DA's office in 2001, Lewin replaced her with Serena Southerlyn, whose liberal idealism more closely mirrored her own.

In September 2002, after just two years of her term as District Attorney, Lewin departed the office. The manner in which she departed the show is never specified on screen. However, in his tie-in book Law & Order: Crime Scenes, Dick Wolf wrote that his intention for the character was that Lewin found herself disenchanted with the position of D.A., and opted not to run for election following her interim term. Fred Dalton Thompson subsequently joined the cast as Republican Arthur Branch, who was her successor. Dianne Wiest later stated, in the book Actors at Work, written jointly by Rosemarie Tichler and Barry Jay Kaplan, that she was tired of the role and wished to move on to other projects.

In her first scene, Nora was introduced to McCoy by Mayor Rudy Giuliani (playing himself in a cameo appearance on the show), who praised Lewin's record and assured her that she would do a fine job as District Attorney.

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