Serena Southerlyn, Law & Order
Serena Southerlyn (Elisabeth Röhm)
Serena was an Assistant District Attorney, the second longest serving junior ADA in the history of the series. Most notably, she suddenly came out as a lesbian in her very last scene of the show. After being fired Serena asked, “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” and after being assured that it was not, her final line was “Good… good”. This is the first and only instance that her sexuality was ever explicitly mentioned, although there had been subtle hints in earlier episodes. In one episode she was seen being uncomfortable with a case seeking to have same-sex marriage declared illegal in New York, and refused to assist in the case. In another episode, she mentioned dating a male college student while she was still in high school, and that he was now a New York State Senator.
The decision to reveal Serena’s sexuality only in her very last scene garnered wide-spread criticism by both fans and critics, many calling it a cheap stunt. The media director for GLAAD made a statement about the episode to television critic Maureen Ryan: “For a show that usually employs gay and lesbian characters as sensational plot devices, it’s really disappointing to have one of the leads come out five seconds before she exits the show.” Series creator Dick Wolf stated that he had consulted actress Elisabeth Röhm before scripting the scene, asking her, “Do you want to go out with a bang or a whimper?” He also characterized the scene as an effective “water-cooler moment” and gloated that the show’s main online chat room crashed just 15 minutes after the show was over.
- 85 episodes.
No female love interests
Relationship story arc with a woman: No
No male love interests
Relationship story arc with a man: No
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? No
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.