What turns us on: The voice of Diane Neal

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Photograph: Virginia Sherwood

Describing the voice of Diane Neal—who, on Tuesday 13, ends a five-season run as ADA Casey Novak on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit—requires terminology usually applied to exotic small-batch bourbons: warm, spicy and honeyed, with caramel notes and some bite in the finish. It’s the voice of a patrician who’s slumming a bit by sending perverts and rapists to jail, but who also feels that with privilege comes responsibility (maybe that’s why Novak’s father fought in Nam). It makes the prosecutor sound like a woman Katharine Hepburn might have played in 1940, and I’ll sure miss Neal for it.

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