Assistant D.A. Serena Southerlyn was a character for 4 seasons on Law and Order played by Elisabeth Rohm during the years 2001 through 2005. The character became unexpectedly pro-defense during her final episodes that season, leading to her firing midway of the 2005 season. She famously asked D.A. Arthur Branch "Is it because I'm gay?", for which Branch replied something like "No, it was never about that."

Was her final line dramatic license only, or were there known situations during her tenure on the show where her sexual role was clearly defined? I am currently rewatching the episodes of that timeframe on Sundance, which is re-running the series "from the beginning". Knowing the reveal from that 2005 episode, I am especially concious of her interactions with women characters on the show. Her interactions so far are, at least through the 2001 season, somewhat abrasive. Anyone remember anything conclusive they can point out to watch for? I'm looking for answers inside the show; outside references need to point to clear examples within the episodes.

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    Never watched it, but possibly some more detail in Serena Southerlyn: Departure and sexuality.. – Andrew Thompson Jun 21 '14 at 13:51
  • A March, 2002 episode "Girl Most Likely" concerns a rape and murder victim who tried to discourage her attacker through the assertion she was a lesbian. Serena was present to hear this but the specifics of her reaction are unclear, even though the camera was on her at the time. Elisabeth Rohm is either a very good actress, or a very bad one. Later through the episode, she argues about lesbianism, without making anything clear about her character. Again - good?, bad? character not fully gelled? I think the latter. – wbogacz Jun 24 '14 at 13:02
  • L&O S14:E13 "Married with Children", 2/4/04, makes it clear Serena did not agree that a FLA lesbian be tried differently when the spurned second mother be tried for murder and kidnapping when a tragedy occured while trying to re-establish a relationship to her lost child and the primary breadwinner mother who had moved to NYC. Post-trial McCoy: "I'm comfortable with the outcome." Branch: "Which would have been the same if they had been heterosexual.". Serena: "I knew we weren't on the same side of this." McCoy: "I say let 'em marry, why shouldn't they be as miserable as the rest of us." – wbogacz Dec 8 '14 at 15:45

No, according to Law and Order’s Serena Southerlyn Comes Out on Her Way Out the character came out to Law & Order's audience in that scene. All of the Law & Order series are known for giving out very few details about the main character's personal lives, and this was no exception. There were very few details during her run on the show regarding Southerlyn's sexuality.

  • As an addition, I believe it was added as an aside to shock/poke fun at the fans who speculated that Jack McCoy had been having private relations with her, something he did with several other A.D.A.s – Ghost Koi Jan 7 '16 at 5:40

There is an episode I have never been able to identify that I thought may have included a hint about her sexuality. In the last scene, McCoy, Branch, and Southerlyn are walking from the office to the bank of elevators. Southerlyn is walking slightly ahead of the other two and what looks like a magazine falls from her bag. One of the men picks it up and both look at it before handing in to Southerlyn. Both men have a look of surprise on their faces. Looking back after she came out, I have always thought the magazine somehow revealed her sexuality. It makes sense because when Southerlyn asked if she was fired because she was gay, it seemed like Southerlyn thought Branch knew she was gay.

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    I'll upvote if you can give an episode number or a youtube clip. – cde Jan 7 '16 at 7:41

In Season 12 Episode 9, about 52 minutes in, Serena Southerlyn makes the statement, "My ex used to give me his cell phone to put in my purse all the time."

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    Marriage to one of the other sex does not preclude the inclination to homosexuality. – wbogacz Dec 25 '14 at 18:46

S12/e9 she claims to have a male ex. I believe the admission of being a lesbian on her last show was something the writers thought up just to drop a bomb.

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    See my comment to @Lusaco, with the same info: Marriage to one of the other sex does not preclude the inclination to homosexuality. – wbogacz Jan 7 '16 at 1:49
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    We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – Panther Jan 7 '16 at 2:55

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