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Jack McCoy

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Character
Jack McCoy in Law & Order
Name John James McCoy
Title District Attorney
Affiliation Manhattan District Attorney's Office
Occupation Lawyer
Status Alive
Actor Sam Waterston
First Appearance Second Opinion
Last Appearance Rubber Room

John James McCoy, also known as Jack McCoy, is currently the District Attorney for the borough of Manhattan. McCoy was previously an Executive Assistant District Attorney.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Jack's father, a first- or second-generation Irish immigrant, was a police officer for 31 years. However, the elder McCoy was also abusive, beating both Jack and his mother, secure in the knowledge that his badge would protect him from the consequences. His father was also a racist, punching Jack for dating a Polish girl. He eventually died from lung cancer due to his excessive smoking.

McCoy was raised Catholic and was educated by the Jesuits, but he has not been in practice for a long time. He allegedly lost his faith after the death of a childhood friend.

In his teenage years, Jack rebelled, protesting against Vietnam and Nixon's policies, but did not find much satisfaction in being on the losing side. And then, sometime around 1966, Jack discovered the law. His rebel streak never quite went away, however - he drives a Yamaha motorcycle and is a huge fan of punk rock bands such as The Clash.

College lifeEdit

Jack became a lawyer, apparently graduating from New York University in 1970. In 1972, he published a piece in the New York University Law Review defending Catholic priests who refused to be enlisted due to religious objections to the Vietnam War. During that time, he worked for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Lawyer lifeEdit

McCoy True North

McCoy in 1998.

McCoy served as an ADA and EADA for 24 years. During this time, he worked with three female ADAs and had relationships with all of them - something he was known for. One of them, Helen, became his wife and the mother of his only child, Rebecca. Another, Diana Hawthorne, later went to jail for asking an expert witness to change his testimony in one case so that McCoy would win and get a promotion, unbeknownst to him. The third assistant was Sally Bell, a defense attorney.

McCoy often bends—and sometimes breaks—trial rules to get convictions, finds tenuous rationales for charging defendants with crimes when the original charges fail to stick, and charges innocent people to frighten them into testifying against others. McCoy is more than once found in contempt of court for such behavior, and his tactics occasionally incur negative publicity for the DA's office. His underlying motivation, however, is a sincere desire to see justice done. To that end, McCoy has gone after defendants accused of perverting the justice system to arrange wrongful convictions with just as much determination as his more mundane cases. Such aggressive actions in the courts have earned him the nickname "Hang 'em High McCoy". He has subsequently developed a reputation with both colleagues and rival attorneys, once being referred to as "the top of the legal food chain" by a rival attorney during a case. He is also known for sleeping with his assistants.

In 1994, Executive ADA Benjamin Stone resigned from his post in the wake of a case in which the main witness had been murdered by the Russian Mafia, and DA Adam Schiff appointed McCoy as Stone's successor. McCoy began to work closely with ADA Claire Kincaid, and it was revealed that they were lovers until her death in a car accident.

McCoy felt extremely guilty about Kincaid's death due to the fact that a few weeks before it occurred, he had talked her out of quitting her job as an ADA. After a short period of time during which McCoy worked alone, ADA Jamie Ross became his partner. Although they had an amicable relationship, they never became lovers. In fact, McCoy never had an affair with any of his assistants after Kincaid's death and his love life was never mentioned again.

His next assistant was Abbie Carmichael, who left to work for the U.S. Attorney's office after a fellow ADA was murdered. She was replaced by Serena Southerlyn, who was fired for being too sympathetic towards the defendants. Next came Alexandra Borgia, who was kidnapped from her own apartment and found in the trunk of an abandoned car, bound, brutally beaten and dead of asphyxiation after choking on her own vomit because of her participation in a case. Outraged, McCoy arranged a sham prosecution to make sure her murderers went to prison for life, skirting legal ethics to the point that he almost faced disbarment and was replaced by a special prosecutor. Borgia's position was filled by Connie Rubirosa.

When Arthur Branch resigned as the District Attorney, McCoy was appointed to succeed Branch as the District Attorney for the Borough of Manhattan. McCoy appointed ADA Michael Cutter as his successor in the position of EADA with Rubirosa as his partner.


AppearancesEdit

TriviaEdit

  • McCoy currently holds the record for most police officers prosecuted under his tenure. [citation needed]
  • Jack was married at one point to a woman named Ellen. They had at least one daughter together, but ended up getting a divorce. That daughter was seen in the Season 17 episode "Fallout", and in 2009, McCoy mentioned that she was pregnant. ("Dignity") McCoy has been divorced at least twice however, as he remarked in Home Sweet that Alissa Goodwyn was his second ex-wife's divorce attorney.


Icon L&O Law & Order - Main Characters
Law

Senior Detectives: Max GreeveyPhil CerretaLennie BriscoeJoe FontanaEd GreenKevin Bernard

Junior Detectives: Mike LoganRey CurtisEd GreenNick FalcoKevin BernardCyrus LupoNina Cassady

Commanding Officers: Captain Donald Cragen • Lieutenant Anita Van Buren

Order

Executive Assistant District Attorneys: Benjamin StoneJack McCoyMichael Cutter

Assistant District Attorneys: Paul RobinetteClaire KincaidJamie RossAbbie CarmichaelSerena SoutherlynAlexandra BorgiaConnie Rubirosa

District Attorneys: Adam SchiffNora LewinArthur BranchJack McCoy

Others

Elizabeth OlivetAlfred Wentworth

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