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‘Law & Order’: How Tony Goldwyn Was Introduced As DA Nicholas Baxter

Three weeks after Law & Order bid farewell to Sam Waterston, the NBC procedural on Thursday introduced Tony Goldwyn as the newest District Attorney.

Usually, the legal part of the drama doesn’t happen until later in the episode, but Goldwyn’s Nicholas Baxter joined the action at the top of the hour as Detectives Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks) and Vincent Riley (Reid Scott) are investigating the bludgeoning death of multi-millionaire Jonah Barlowe.

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Baxter explains his sudden appearance by saying the sight of the “swirling lights” got him excited and that he “hasn’t been at crime scene in over 30 years. I couldn’t help myself.”

He lingers at the scene for only a few seconds before telling the detectives that “I’ll do everything in my power to create a constructive and transparent relationship with the police. That’s it.”

Later in the DA’s office, Nolan Price (Hugh Dancy) and Samantha Maroun (Odelya Halevi) observe that Baxter isn’t wasting any time and is already making staff changes, as well as renovations to Jack McCoy’s old office to “make it feel more contemporary.” When Baxter sits down with Price, he talks about wanting to be on the same page with all departments and how he needs to know that he has a senior staff that he can trust.

Baxter then applies the pressure over the latest murder case involving the multi-millionaire. “It’s my first at bat, I need to make sure I get on base,” he tells Price.

Tension between the two men starts to build when the defendant in the murder case — a financial dominatrix who stole millions from Barlowe — tries to make a deal by offering evidence on a famous actor who raped 10 women. Baxter encourages Price to accept it and send the woman away for 10 years — a prison sentence that Price believes is way too lenient for killing Barlowe. But Baxter believes the celebrity rapist is a bigger threat to society.

Price ends up rejecting the deal and lets the case play out. The dominatrix is found guilty by a jury.

At episode’s end, It’s hard to tell if Baxter is satisfied with the outcome, or already has trust issues brewing with Price. Dun Dun! Tune in next week to find out more!

This isn’t Goldwyn’s first spin in the Dick Wolf universe. He previously starred in the Law & Order spinoff Criminal Intent as Frank Goren, a character who died in the series.

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