Captain Donald Cragen
played by Dann Florek
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) oversees the Special Victims Unit. Cragen's tough but supportive approach to the team's complex cases guides the squad through the challenges they face every day. A no-nonsense, in your face cop, Cragen is all business: get the perp, get them now. He has had a drinking problem ever since his wife died in a plane crash.

As pragmatic "Captain Donald Cragen," Dann Florek reprises the role he originated on the first three seasons of sister series Law & Order. Prior to the debut of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Florek also got the chance to play Cragen in the Law & Order movie Exiled.

Raised in Flat Rock, Michigan, Florek entered Eastern Michigan University as a math and physics major but left with a newfound interest in drama. "I really thought I was going to be a math/physics person, but I was in choir, and they offered me a scholarship in drama, says Florek. "I thought, hey, maybe it'll be more fun than synthetic projective geometry."

Florek went on to join the prestigious Acting Company at the Juilliard School in New York City. His professional theater work includes "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Love's Labours Lost," "Strange Snow," and "Death of a Salesman." Later, he headed west to San Diego, where he participated in many La Jolla Playhouse and Old Globe Theatre productions, most notably as The Duke in "Big River" and as Teach in The Old Globes award winning production of "American Buffalo."

Florek gained attention for his portrayal of direct-marketing whiz "Dave Meyer" on the Emmy Award-winning L.A. Law, and recently joined his fellow cast members in the NBC reunion movie L.A. Law: The Movie. Florek's additional television credits include guest-starring roles on NBC's Wings and The Pretender, as well as The Practice, NYPD Blue, Roseanne, Ellen, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Smart Guy. He also starred as Abraham Lincoln on the controversial series The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. Florek also appeared in the telefilms The Pentagon Wars and the Emmy Award-winning From the Earth to the Moon.

Florek has appeared in such feature films as Paul Mazursky's Moon Over Parador," Blake Edward's "Sunset," Alan Parker's "Angel Heart," Alan Alda's "Sweet Liberty," "The Flintstones," "Hard Rain," and most recently "Beautiful Joe."

An aspiring guitarist and avid golfer, Florek and his wife, Karen, an artist, and their dogs Maddie, Little Dog, and Greta divide their time between Los Angeles and New York.