Inspiration is Where You Find It: Jack McCoy

I’d like to think that within the hallowed halls of television’s high temple, there’s a special place carved out for Law & Order. At any given time, on any given day, I can guarantee there’s at least one channel chiming in with that unforgettable “Dun Dun” and an hour long glimpse at city crime, peppered with just the right number of witty one liners. For me, what’s always kept me coming back to the show, year after year, are the characters, and no one more so than Jack McCoy. You can look at McCoy at anytime during his fifteen seasons and instantly understand the kind of man he is: a dyed in the wool east coast trad, the type of guy who simultaneously respects the past, while fighting for what he believes in. He kept a bottle of Jim Bean in his desk, a Barbour Bedale on his coat rack, he was overworked, underappreciated, he got angry just as fast as he could get compassionate. Jack McCoy was, to me, the epitome of a late twentieth century upper-middle class New Yorker.

The classic Jack McCoy outfit:

Jake Gallagher is a writer and student currently living in Manhattan. He focuses on back stories and the historical side of menswear at his site You can also follow him on Twitter.

  • David

    Lennie Brisco, portrayed by Jerry Orbach, was also a pretty great dresser. A lot of classic outerwear and scarves, a surprisingly big trad.

  • Colby

    He’s also been sort of killing it in Newsroom thus far. Lots of tweed and bow ties, even if I’m not a huge fan of the latter.

  • LEMW

    Ha! He looks like an accountant?!

    None of the shirts above fit him (the third picture down is a travesty) and he can’t tie a tie properly!

    Please explain how this man is well dressed?!

  • DJLaw


    Not sure what an accountant looks like (other than the olde timey images of the arm-bands and green visor); this is what a city prosecutor looked like in the era the show was filmed. It’s also what Northeast professionals look and looked like. Clothes that were worn, not styled or laid out on a bed the night before and fussed over. There’s a stark difference between being indifferent and not dressing well. He’s not a dandy (thankfully), if that makes a tie tied incorrectly (I believe there are officially 85 ways), then so be it.

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  • Dean

    The Barbour is really the Border line (longer than both the Beauford and Bedeale) His jackets drape well past his suit coat, The Beauford is just barely covers a suit coat. The Bedale is more of a waist coat.