Here’s How Milena Govich Made History On Law & Order

Featured in just one season (or 22 episodes), Govich’s character marked a turning point for the series when she stepped in to replace Dennis Farina’s Detective Joe Fontana. Although Ed Green did his best to take the relative rookie under his wing, her inexperience often put her in the line of fire when it came to Lieutenant Anita Van Buren, who had “no time” for the impulsive detective’s seeming inability to take advice.

Then, of course, there was the series of controversial, “I’m not a racist, but” remarks her character delivered in an episode titled “Fear America,” wherein Cassady defends racial profiling by law enforcement. While her absence at the start of Season 18 is neither explained nor mentioned (she’s replaced by Jeremy Sisto’s Detective Cyrus Lupo), the writers didn’t do her character many favors in terms of gelling with the department — or with viewers — so it hardly came as a surprise. 

Govich gave a compelling performance considering the hand she was dealt (aka “stock female badass” who can’t get out of her own way), but, unfortunately, the only female detective on “Law & Order” didn’t last long. Her character’s limited lifespan notwithstanding, Govich went on to work with Dick Wolf again, when she served as producing director on CBS’ “FBI,” and directed for “FBI: Most Wanted,” “Chicago Med,” and “Chicago Fire” (via IMDb).

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