Played by Sherry Stringfield: The match between Laura, a high-powered yuppie attorney, and John Kelly, a blue-collar cop, didn't last very long once Laura realized what an incredible control freak John could be. She bounced around several jobs after her divorce, eventually settling in with the Manhattan DA's office. She worked as a riding DA in the 15th Precinct for a while before transferring out, probably to put some distance between herself and John.
Sherry had the shortest tenure of anyone to appear in the "NYPD Blue" opening credits, but she may be one of the most famous, thanks to the job she took after leaving the 15th precinct.
Born on June 24, 1967 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sherry and her family moved around the American southwest before settling in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas. In high school, she was both a jock and a theater geek until a teacher convinced her to quit the track team to focus on a musical. She graduated from the Acting Conservatory of New York at Purchase in 1989 and was working in a Manhattan theater box office when she got a chance to audition for the CBS soap opera "Guiding Light," where she spent three years turning heads as the evil Blake.
In 1993, she was cast to play John Kelly's ex-wife Laura on "NYPD Blue," but her character quickly ran out of story space, especially after audiences responded so strongly to recurring guest star Sharon Lawrence's ADA Sylvia Costas, who wound up getting many of the district attorney scenes intended for Laura. Three quarters of the way through the first season, Sherry asked producers Steven Bochco and David Milch if she could just be let out of her contract; with no real plans for Laura, they had no problem granting her request.
A few months later, Sherry went from the world of law-enforcement to the world of medicine when she was cast as Dr. Susan Lewis on "ER." The sunny, easy-going demeanor that never really fit in on "NYPD Blue" went over huge with fans of "ER," which would quickly become the most popular show on television -- and make Sherry one of TV's most popular actresses.
Popularity wasn't enough for Sherry -- or maybe it was too much -- and after two seasons of long hours and lack of privacy, not to mention a strain on the relationship with her then-boyfriend, she again made a request to get out of her contract. The "ER" producers weren't quite as pleased by the request -- they had big plans for a romance between Susan and Anthony Edwards' Dr. Greene -- but eventually complied, with the caveat that Sherry wouldn't be able to do any film or TV work until her "ER" deal would have expired normally.
Sherry moved back to New York, but her relationship broke up anyway (she later married science writer Larry Joseph, and they have a daughter named Phoebe). After five years away from the spotlight, she decided she was ready to go back to work -- and the "ER" producers, concerned over all the original castmembers who were planning to leave, eagerly signed her to come back for three years.