For years, fans of the original Law & Order series have been praying for its return. After being canceled in 2010, there had been rumblings of the show returning over the years, but nothing ever materialized until September of 2021 when NBC ordered the return of the series.
In its return, we saw a couple of familiar faces come back to the iconic series, but we were also introduced to several new characters. One of those characters is Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun played by the talented Odelya Halevi.
In the upcoming sixth episode of the current season entitled Vicious Cycle, we get to learn a bit more about Maroun’s past and how it could possibly come back to haunt her.
We had the chance to sit down with Halevi to talk about the episode, the importance of her character in the series and also her role in the blockbuster film Black Adam with Dwayne Johnson.
Pop Culture Principle – The upcoming Law & Order episode Viscous Cycle is an important one for ADA Samantha Maroun’s. In the promo, something that happened in her past may affect a case. What can you tell us about this episode?
Odelya Halevi – Without spoiling too much, this is the first time in Maroun’s career where she feels like she has failed and believes her past is going to cost her everything that she has fought for over the course of her life and career.
Pop Culture Principle – You are one of the few women of color to be on the prosecution team in the history of the Law & Order franchise. How important is that fact to you and do you feel any responsibility being one of the few women of color?
Odelya Halevi – I’m so proud to be a part of the change that’s slowly starting to happen in the entertainment industry, which provides people of color with more opportunities to star in roles on historic franchises like Law and Order. I grew up watching the show with my mom and it created a fascination with the law. I told her I wanted to be a lawyer and she quickly said, “no you just want to play a lawyer on TV”. The show inspired me, mainly because there were people that looked like me. As a foreigner, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to play this type of character on American TV. It’s my responsibility to set an example.
Pop Culture Principle – ADA Samantha Maroun is not afraid to speak up and give her opinion when it comes to cases that they deal with. How important is that she’s strong and willing to give her opinion?
Odelya Halevi – Women have been silenced in the workplace and the world for generations. Women are leaders and it’s important that our voices are heard.
Pop Culture Principle – So far we’ve seen Maroun and Price have gotten along for the most part, but they have had a few moments of tension when it comes to handling cases. Will we see more of that butting heads as the season progresses?
Odelya Halevi – When you work with somebody, you don’t always agree. The best colleagues and friends are supposed to challenge you from time to time. So yes, you can expect more conflict between Price and Maroun as the season progresses.
Pop Culture Principle – Sam Waterston is such a legend when it comes to Law & Order. Can you talk about what it was like doing your first scene with him and what it has been like working with him on the series?
Odelya Halevi – The first scene with Sam was intimidating and exciting at the same time. He is an absolute legend and I had been watching him since I was a little kid. I kept messing up my lines until he gave me a big hug and told me that although we tell serious stories, we’re also here to have fun.
Pop Culture Principle – We read that when you did a self-tape audition for the role in Black Adam, a) you didn’t know what role you were auditioning for and b) you fainted during the self-tape at your friend house?
Odelya Halevi – When I auditioned for Black Adam the character’s name was fake as well as the script that was provided to me. I was going to pass on the opportunity since I wasn’t feeling well. I actually fainted at my friend’s place while he was taping me. I said to him “I have to pass and go home and rest”. He gave me a cup of orange juice and said “Its a WB film and you have to send this tape, let’s do this.” Thank god for good friends! Two days later I received the big news from my manager. I was excited but it wasn’t until I got to Atlanta to do the wardrobe test that I heard I would be playing Dwayne Johnson’s wife. I was over the moon!
I flew in, I’m on set and I see Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The director introduced us … He said, ‘I heard you didn’t know what you were going to play up until you arrived.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I had no idea.’ He said, ‘And you still agreed to take that role?’ And I said, ‘Do you know who you are?’
We talked about how acting is sometimes all about the preparation. When you come to set, you’re ready. The prep that you’ve done has been done a gazillion years before, a gazillion days before. Sometimes life and acting is all about, ‘here are the circumstances, go.’ He agreed , and we really had a nice conversation about that. I’m so grateful and honored, and I feel very lucky to have talked to that person even just for a little bit.
Pop Culture Principle – When it came to your character and her backstory, was it something you discussed with the director and writer or were you given the opportunity to create her backstory yourself?
Odelya Halevi – The set was very collaborative and welcoming. I felt at ease in making specific choices and quickly growing into who Shiruta was for me and what I felt she should be bringing to the table. Simply an amazing experience!
Odelya Halevi – I’d like to think that the memory of Shiruta – Black Adam’s wife who was brutally murdered, inspired Black Adam to be a better person and ultimately a hero.
Pop Culture Principle – Can you talk about what it was like working with Dwayne Johnson?
Odelya Halevi – When I was introduced to Dwayne by the director Jaume Collet, he said “call me DJ”. I replied with “call me Odie”. I still can’t believe he calls me by my nick name… But that’s the kind of person DJ is – very welcoming, grounded with the biggest heart. I really hope we’ll get to work together again.
Pop Culture Principle – The movie has been number one at the box office for two weeks now, how does it feel being a part of this project and knowing that it is resonating with fans around the world?
Odelya Halevi – Being a part of a movie that’s currently number 1 at the box office is a total dream come true. Again, I am just extremely grateful and over-the-moon-excited to be part of something that has been such an amazing passion project for so many and now it gets to be shared with the world.
Pop Culture Principle – For fans who see this movie, what, if anything, would you like them to take away from the movie after leaving the theater?
Odelya Halevi – I would tell fans: We all have secret superpowers. find yours and use it to change the world for the better.
A huge thank you to Odelya Halevi for taking the time to talk with us. New episodes of Law & Order air every Thursday night at 8/7c on NBC and Black Adam is in theaters now!
**Law & Order photos courtesy of Ralph Bavaro/Virginia Sherwood/NBC**