'Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders' cast and their real-life counterparts

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Yahoo TV

Law & Order is going beyond ripping from the headlines. The venerable Dick Wolf-produced franchise is telling the full true crime story of the Menendez brothers trial.

The limited series is a dramatization of the 1993 trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were eventually convicted for shooting and killing their parents, Jose and Kitty.

The brothers underwent two high-profile trials, the first of which aired on Court TV and became a national sensation. Their striking lawyer, Leslie Abramson, made a name for herself by claiming the brothers acted in self-defense after years of suffering abuse from their parents.

Here’s a look at the cast of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, the characters they play, and how much they resemble the real people.

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 10 p.m. on NBC.

<p>The defense attorney who represented Lyle and Erik cut a striking figure at the trial, with her passionate speeches and flamboyant behavior. Emmy winner Falco looks picture perfect with that corkscrew curly blond wig.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Ricardo De Aratanha/AP) </p>
Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson

The defense attorney who represented Lyle and Erik cut a striking figure at the trial, with her passionate speeches and flamboyant behavior. Emmy winner Falco looks picture perfect with that corkscrew curly blond wig.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Ricardo De Aratanha/AP)

<p>Halper certainly has the cheekbones to portray the younger brother, who first confessed to the murders to his psychiatrist.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Nick Ut/AP) </p>
Gus Halper as Erik Menendez

Halper certainly has the cheekbones to portray the younger brother, who first confessed to the murders to his psychiatrist.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Nick Ut/AP)

<p>Big bro was a bit pudgier than Villanueva, though he’s got that intense stare down. After Erik confessed, Lyle threatened their mutual psychiatrist and even ruminated on how to kill him.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Nick Ut/AP) </p>
Miles Gaston Villanueva as Lyle Menendez

Big bro was a bit pudgier than Villanueva, though he’s got that intense stare down. After Erik confessed, Lyle threatened their mutual psychiatrist and even ruminated on how to kill him.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Nick Ut/AP)

<p>As the judge who presided over the trial, the no-nonsense Weisberg often clashed with Abramson. Edwards is always a calm and steady presence, and can deliver a withering glare through his glasses like nobody else.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Steve Grayson/AP) </p>
Anthony Edwards as Judge Stanley Weisberg

As the judge who presided over the trial, the no-nonsense Weisberg often clashed with Abramson. Edwards is always a calm and steady presence, and can deliver a withering glare through his glasses like nobody else.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Steve Grayson/AP)

<p>The former <em>Good Wife</em> star looks almost nothing like Erik and Lyle’s psychiatrist beyond a similar broad forehead. But he’s a great pick to play the many layers of the controversial doctor, who kept mum about the murders until his mistress blabbed to the police.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Reed Saxon) </p>
Josh Charles as Dr. Jerome Oziel

The former Good Wife star looks almost nothing like Erik and Lyle’s psychiatrist beyond a similar broad forehead. But he’s a great pick to play the many layers of the controversial doctor, who kept mum about the murders until his mistress blabbed to the police.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Reed Saxon)

<p>Though they aren’t twins, Graham and Smyth share a fragile beauty and luminous eyes that hold secrets. Smyth was Dr. Oziel’s mistress, but when he broke up with her to return to his wife, she got revenge by telling the police what her ex had told her about the Menendez brothers.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, AP) </p>
Heather Graham as Judalon Smyth

Though they aren’t twins, Graham and Smyth share a fragile beauty and luminous eyes that hold secrets. Smyth was Dr. Oziel’s mistress, but when he broke up with her to return to his wife, she got revenge by telling the police what her ex had told her about the Menendez brothers.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, AP)

<p>As Abrahamson’s partner on the defense team in the first trial, Lansing was often overlooked, though she did give stirring opening remarks that first brought up the alleged parental abuse. Nicholson doesn’t look much like her, but she has played impassioned lawyers before (<em>Boardwalk Empire</em>).<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Mark J. Terrill/AP) </p>
Julianne Nicholson as Jill Lansing

As Abrahamson’s partner on the defense team in the first trial, Lansing was often overlooked, though she did give stirring opening remarks that first brought up the alleged parental abuse. Nicholson doesn’t look much like her, but she has played impassioned lawyers before (Boardwalk Empire).

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Mark J. Terrill/AP)

<p>The bookish, calm Bozanich was the flip side of the coin to Abrahamson. Reaser’s broad forehead and soothing demeanor should bring her to life.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Mark J. Terrill/AP) </p>
Elizabeth Reaser as Deputy District Attorney Pam Bozanich

The bookish, calm Bozanich was the flip side of the coin to Abrahamson. Reaser’s broad forehead and soothing demeanor should bring her to life.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Mark J. Terrill/AP)

<p>With that strong jaw and good-guy aura, the <em>Parenthood</em> actor is a good choice to play the Beverly Hills Police Department investigator who oversaw the murder cases.<br><br>(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC) </p>
Sam Jaeger as Detective Les Zoeller

With that strong jaw and good-guy aura, the Parenthood actor is a good choice to play the Beverly Hills Police Department investigator who oversaw the murder cases.

(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC)

<p>Lyle and Erik’s father was a high-powered corporate executive and self-made millionaire. The defense team painted him as a sexual abuser who tortured his sons for years.<br><br>(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC) </p>
Carlos Gómez as Jose Menendez

Lyle and Erik’s father was a high-powered corporate executive and self-made millionaire. The defense team painted him as a sexual abuser who tortured his sons for years.

(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC)

<p>Born Mary Louise Andersen, but known as Kitty, Erik and Lyle’s mother was the pretty wife of a wealthy man — but a woman who may have been wrestling with demons, as one <em>L.A. Times</em> article put it. Davidovich has the wide smile and open face to play Mama Menendez.<br><br>(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC) </p>
Lolita Davidovich as Kitty Menendez

Born Mary Louise Andersen, but known as Kitty, Erik and Lyle’s mother was the pretty wife of a wealthy man — but a woman who may have been wrestling with demons, as one L.A. Times article put it. Davidovich has the wide smile and open face to play Mama Menendez.

(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC)

<p>One of Lyle’s friends from Princeton who felt it was “unseemly” for the brothers to go on a spending spree after their parents’ murders (before they were arrested by police). Lyle bought a $67,000 Porsche and burned $10,000 at a New Jersey mall.<br><br>(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Bob Galbraith/AP) </p>
Sterling Beaumon as Glenn Stevens

One of Lyle’s friends from Princeton who felt it was “unseemly” for the brothers to go on a spending spree after their parents’ murders (before they were arrested by police). Lyle bought a $67,000 Porsche and burned $10,000 at a New Jersey mall.

(Photos: Justin Lubin/NBC, Bob Galbraith/AP)

<p>Marta, Jose’s sister, testified that her brother intimidated and bullied his sons from very early ages, bolstering the defense’s strategy.<br><br>(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC) </p>
Constance Marie as Marta Menendez Cano

Marta, Jose’s sister, testified that her brother intimidated and bullied his sons from very early ages, bolstering the defense’s strategy.

(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC)

<p>Lyle and Erik’s cousin regularly interacted with other family members during the trial.<br><br>(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC) </p>
Dominic Flores as Henry Llano

Lyle and Erik’s cousin regularly interacted with other family members during the trial.

(Photo: Justin Lubin/NBC)

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