Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid
Played by: Jill Hennessy
Introduction Scene: L&O Episode 67, "Sweeps" (9/15/93) 
First Lines: "I don't care if he's a bully, it's not admissible."
Exit Scene: Driving a drunk Det. Lennie Briscoe home in L&O episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)
Final Line: "Lennie, I doubt your daughter hates you."
Reason for Character Departure: Killed when a drunk driver hits her car, on her way to take a drunk Det. Lennie Briscoe home.
Reason for Actor Departure: Left to pursue film career. Currently starring in Crossing Jordan.

Work Information
Office Address:
9th floor, One Hogan Place (L&O Season 4) (1993-94)
10th floor, One Hogan Place (L&O Season 5 through Season 6) (1994-96)
Floor numbers are determined by numbers on doors. Claire works first for Ben Stone on 9, then after his departure works for Jack McCoy on 10.

Known Bosses:

  • Judge Joel Thayer, as a clerk. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94)
  • Executive Assistant District Attorney Benjamin "Ben" Stone, as an Assistant District Attorney. L&O Season 4 (1993-94)
  • Executive Assistant District Attorney John James "Jack" McCoy, as an Assistant District Attorney. (L&O Season 5 through Season 6) (1994-96)

Professional Idiosyncracies/Quirks:

  • Primarily subservient as rookie ADA working for Ben Stone. Exceptions: L&O Episode 74 "American Dream" (11/10/93) and Episode 80 "Censure" (2/2/94). Took more of a leadership role after Stone's departure, when assigned to Jack McCoy, but was shown to be growing into her responsibilities when she saved EADA Ben Stone from being given a contempt citation by Judge Lisa Pongracic (L&O Episode 70, "Profile" (10/13/93)
  • Keen eye for loopholes that may be missed by others. L&O Episode 118, "Humiliation" (11/22/95); L&O Episode 123, "Trophy" (1/31/96)
  • Sometimes wears a black leather jacket during work hours. Shown questioning witnesses with it in L&O Episode 97, "Scoundrels" (11/30/94); L&O Episode 99 "Guardian" (1/11/95); L&O Episode 113 "Rebels" (9/27/95)
  • Drinks scotch with the "big boys" (McCoy and District Attorney Adam Schiff)

Career History

  • [LOCATE RESUME SPOKEN BY STONE ON STAND IN CENSURE: INCLUDES "E-CAB'ed" reference which was once explained to me but now I can't remember.]
  • Clerk, for Judge Joel Thayer. Left position when her affair with Thayer went sour, but was given a glowing recommendation by Thayer. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94)
  • Fired from District Attorney's office by Ben Stone when she failed to give him information that was very important to a case they had been prosecuting but was taken back when he managed to win the case. L&O Episode 69 "Discord" (10/6/93)
  • Resigned from District Attorney's office when a case involving Judge Thayer broke out and their affair came to light after she was accussed of tampering with evidence. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94)
  • Censured from practicing law briefly by a disciplinary committee after the disciplinary committee heard the case against her in regards to her conduct with Judge Thayer's criminal case L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94)
  • Helped EADA Ben Stone in a civil court desposition brought against him by Philip Swann. L&O Episode 74 "American Dream" (11/10/93)
  • Saved EADA Ben Stone from being given a contempt citation by Judge Lisa Pongracic (L&O Episode 70, "Profile" (10/13/93)
  • Requested by Jack McCoy to be his assistant after EADA Ben Stone resigned. L&O Episode 89, "Second Opinion" (9/21/94)
  • Tries and wins her first homicide case, The State of New York vs. Mark Danforth. L&O Episode 118, "Humiliation" (11/22/95), but afterwards is nagged by fears she convicted the wrong person, an instinct which ultimately leads her to the real killer.
  • Deposed by a disciplinary committee after it surfaced that EADA Jack McCoy had put the wrong man in jail because of a statement he claimed he didn't receive. L&O Episode 123, "Trophy" (1/31/96)
  • Prosecuted Diana Hawthorne, the former lover and assistant of EADA Jack McCoy, with whom Kincaid was having an affair, and wins the case. L&O Episode 123, "Trophy" [1/31/96]
  • Offers resignation after being taken off the case of James Smith by Adam Schiff but is persuaded by EADA Jack McCoy to stay on and be his second chair despite Adam Schiff's orders. L&O Episode 132, "Pro Se" (5/8/96)

Disagreements/Arguments Of Significance With Bosses

With EADA Jack McCoy

  • Whether Dr. Nancy Haas and the right of cancer victims to choose whether or not to get a breast "lopped off." L&O Episode 94, "Second Opinion" (9/21/94)
  • About the case and the 60's. L&O Episode 93, "White Rabbit" (10/19/94)
  • About treatment of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren in the grand jury stand and about turning over what appears to be exculpatory evidence pertaining to the Zach Roland case tothe defense. L&O Episode 94, "Competence" (11/2/94) 
  • About Sarah Maslin's intentions -- on why she only came forward with her rape charge now, three years after the incident had occurred. L&O Episode 96, "Virtue" (11/23/94)
  • Over giving Mrs. Gaines a lenient sentence versus the stricter one that Jack wants to impose. L&O Episode 112, "Bitter Fruit" (9/20/95)
  • About getting the murder one charge on Paul Sandig reinstated. L&O Episode 114, "Savages" (10/18/95)
  • About bringing up Leslie Harlan's sexual history during the trial. L&O Episode 116, "Hot Pursuit" (11/8/95)
  • Over viabilty of the Danforth case (L&O Episode 118, "Humiliation" (11/22/95)
  • Jack gets mad at Claire for failing to give him a brief on time and Claire tries to joke her way out of it but Jack walks away in a huff. L&O Episode 122, "Corpus Delicti" (1/17/96)
  • Plays devils advocate with Jack when he tells her the complaints listed in the Dillard lawsuit; also informs him that she will tell the truth about him in the deposition no matter what, and Jack is not happy about this. L&O Episode 123, "Trophy" (1/31/96)
  • Seen arguing with Jack while on their way to work about the whether or not justice was done by executing Mickey Scott. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)

With District Attorney Adam Schiff

  • About pro-choice vs. anti-abortionists. L&O Episode 100, "Progeny" (1/25/95)
  • Tells Schiff Smith should be prosecuted when he tells her and Jack to plead Smith out. L&O Episode 132, "Pro Se" (5/8/96)
Medical/Psychological History
  • Has an attraction for powerful, seductive older men as evidenced by affairs with Judge Joel Thayer and EADA Jack McCoy. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94); and most of  Season 5 through Season 6.
  • Former track star. L&O Episode 87, "Doubles" (5/18/94) and still exercises by jogging. L&O episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)
  • Plays squash. L&O Episode 127, "Savior" (3/13/96) [IS THIS WHAT SHE AND MARGOT ARE PLAYING?]
  • Has a private life that veers sharply from her buttoned-up workaday life, evidenced by her leather jacket. L&O Episode 97, "Scoundrels" (11/30/94); L&O Episode 99, "Guardian" (1/11/95); L&O Episode 113, "Rebels" (9/27/95)

  • Witnessed a distraught mother shoot a defendant at an arraignment and was spattered with blood. L&O Episode 112 "Bitter Fruit" (9/20/95) 

Personal Information/History

Ancestry: Irish. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)

Religion: Agnostic. L&O Episode 73, "Apocrypha" (11/3/93)

Childhood Events/Family Issues:

  • She was a high school track star and she was pushed by her father to stay that way with pep talks. L&O Episode 87, "Doubles" (5/18/94). Attraction to running clearly carries into adulthood, where she's shown jogging. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)
  • Implication that she is estranged from or does not get along with her mother. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)
  • Stepfather, Mac Gellar, teaches at New York University Law School [ARE WE SURE THAT'S WHERE HE IS? ALSO, DOESN'T HE IMPLY THAT HE ONCE TAUGHT CLAIRE? AND SINCE SHE WENT TO HARVARD, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?]. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)


  • Margot Bell, a Harvard classmate who is now a defense attorney. L&O Episode 127, "Savior" (3/13/96)
  • Ruthie Miller, a defense attorney who seems to be a mutual friend of both Jack and Claire's. L&O Episode 133, "Homesick" (5/15/96)

Romantic Entanglements/Dates:

  • Judge Joel Thayer, Claire's boss. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (2/2/94)
  • Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy. Although never directly referred to on the show, writers have pointed out in interviews that there was a relationship. For examples of it, go here: (warning: music alert)
  • Tim Bayliss, a homicide detective from Baltimore. Bayliss is from the Homicide: Life On The Street universe, which crossed over with Law & Order three times. Claire and Tim had a dinner in New York [L&O Episode 124 "Charm City (1)" (2/7/96)] and shared mild flirtation in Baltimore. H:LOTS Episode 45, "For God and Country (2)" (2/9/96)


Attended Harvard Law School. L&O Episode 100, "Progeny" (1/25/95)

Political Opinions/Affiliations:

  • Anti-death penalty. L&O Episode 114, "Savages" (10/18/95); L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)
  • Feminist, defender of women's rights. L&O Episode 89, "Second Opinion" (9/21/94); L&O Episode 91, "Blue Bamboo" (10/5/94); L&O Episode 96, "Virtue"  (11/23/94); L&O Episode 100, "Progeny" (1/25/95); L&O Episode 133, "Homesick" (5/15/96) 
  • Pro-choice. L&O Episode 100, "Progeny" (1/25/95)
  • Believes a woman can be a mother and work at the same time. L&O Episode 133, "Homesick" (5/15/96) 


  • Likes Scotch
  • Plays squash. L&O Episode 127, "Savior" (3/13/96)
  • Jogs when she has the time. Like to jog when she has the time. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (5/22/96)

Personal Quirks:

  • Right handed.
  • Owns and often wears a green overcoat.
  • Stands up for herself in latter seasons.
After-Death Direct/Implied References:

L&O Episode 135, "Causa Mortis" (9/18/96):

Jack: "You know a few weeks before it happened, she wanted to quit. I talked her out of it."
Lennie: "Well, I could have kept walking past that bar." 

L&O Episode 164, "Blood" (11/19/97)

Jamie (checking up on Jack after a blind date she set him up on with Madeline): "She said, you mentioned Claire Kincaid...."
Jack (stops writing and thumps his desk for seeming emphasis): "Because Madeleine's brother spent three months in the hospital thanks to a drunk driver, I was not obssessing!"
Jamie (smiling): "Don't worry, for some reason, she'd like to see you again."
[Still smiling, Jamie walks out of Jack's office, leaving Jack staring into space with an expression that tells us that he doesn't really care whether or not she wanted to see him again.] 

L&O Episode 168, "Under The Influence" (1/7/98)

Jamie: "Has he talked to you about this case?"
Lennie: "McCoy?" 
Jamie nods.
Lennie: "Yeah, briefings, witness preps..."
Jamie: "I don't mean that..."
Lennie: "You mean, has he said: 'This one's for Claire Kincaid?' No. That guy got 12 months in Mt. McGregor."
Jamie: "Yeah, I know. I pulled the file. You were in her car with her." 
Lennie (sighs): "Yeah, I was catching a ride home. Claire came down to the bar to pick up McCoy. He had already split. Bad timing all around. Listen - this hump Dressler, I'm keeping him crossed. He gets what he deserves."
Jack: "So I'm wrong because I want an appropriate sentence?"
Jamie: "Instead of 12 months in Mt. McGregor?"
Jack (ominous tone): "You don't know what you're talking about!"
Jamie: "You won Jack. Just call Dressler's lawyer."
Jack (voice rising slightly and his tone firm): "The discussion's over!"
Jamie: "I'm not done."
Jack (now angry and shouting): "I am! This is the District Attorney's office! We prosecute criminals. If you could stop thinking like a defense attorney, maybe you'd grasp the concept!"
Jamie (angry but still controlled): "I know why I'm here. I think you're the one who's forgotten."

L&O Episode 195, "Sideshow (1)" (2/17/99)

Independent Counsel William Dell: "Wasn't he [Lennie] a passenger in a car driven by another one of your lovers in the DA's office when she was killed?"
Exec. Asst. DA Jack McCoy: "Mr. Dell, have you no shame? Have you no shame?"


Jill Hennessy was in Baltimore filming the second half of Charm City on the H:LOTS set, so her twin, Jacqueline Hennessy, shot in her place as Claire Kincaid during courtroom scenes, although she is incredited for her work. L&O Episode 122, "Corpus Delicti" (1/17/96)

Repeat Offender?

Jill Hennessy hasn't appeared on any Law & Orders as anyone other than Claire Kincaid.
She has appeared on Homicide: Life On The Street as Claire Kincaid once. H:LOTS Episode 45, "For God and Country (2)" (2/9/96)

Web Pages
IMDb Page
The World of Jill Hennessy
Crossing Jordan
The Jill Hennessy Picture Post
TV Tome Personal Information

* = denotes information yet to be confirmed
H:LOTS = Homicide: Life On The Streets
L&O = Law & Order (the original series)
SVU = Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
CI = Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Know something we don't? Have a correction?
Email us at Please give as much information as you can. Thanks!

Character Editor: Jo Bautista