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Saffron Burrows

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Basic Information

Saffron Burrows

Date of Birth: 22 October 1972
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Birth Name: Saffron Domini Burrows
Height: 6' (1.83 m)


Saffron Dominique Burrows (born 22 October 1972) is an English actress and former fashion model, who currently stars as Det. Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Early life

Burrows was born in London, England, to a politically active family; both of her parents are socialists. Her father is an architect and teacher and her mother, Susie, is a teacher and feminist. At 15, she was discovered by Beth Boldt, a modelling talent scout (Burrows stands about 6 feet tall), and began a successful modelling career.


Burrows made her film debut in In the Name of the Father (1993). Her first significant acting role was as an ambitious Irish woman in Circle of Friends (1995). Subsequently she appeared in Hotel de Love (1996). In 1999, she appeared in the sci-fi Wing Commander (1999), the thriller Deep Blue Sea, and the experimental film The Loss of Sexual Innocence. The following year she appeared in Miss Julie and Timecode.

In 2001, she had roles in Enigma, and Tempted. In 2004 she played the part of Andromache in the big-budget movie Troy. In January 2005 she created the role of Janey in the world premiere of Earthly Paradise at the Almeida Theatre, and on 30 October 2005 she appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in a 24-hour play, Night Sky, alongside Christopher Eccleston, Bruno Langley, David Warner, Navin Chowdhry and David Baddiel.

Burrows played attorney Lorraine Weller on ABC's Boston Legal (Season 4) from 2007-2008. She starred on NBC's new series, My Own Worst Enemy until its cancellation.

In 2008, she appeared in the independent film The Guitar, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as in a starring role in the heist film The Bank Job.

Starting March 30, 2010, she is starring as Det. Serena Stevens on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where she replaced Julianne Nicholson; who played the character of Det. Megan Wheeler until the end of season 8.

Personal life

Burrows is a close friend of politician Tony Benn. She is also a socialist and has spoken of her admiration for French Socialist politician Ségolène Royal. She joined an anti-racism group when she was 11 years old and she went on to become the Vice President of the National Civil Rights Movement and she is a campaigner for disabled rights and equality.

In a 1999 interview with Film Unlimited, Burrows revealed that she has had female lovers. That same year her former fiancé, actor Alan Cumming, revealed that he was bisexual. For a number of years, she was involved with film director Mike Figgis, and she starred in some of his films, including Miss Julie - one of the first films to experiment with multi-camera views, and Figgis' quad-screen film, Timecode. Prior to Figgis, she lived with her Circle of Friends co-star Alan Cumming for 2 years, while he was separated from his first wife; she attended his 2007 wedding to illustrator Grant Shaffer.

Since leaving Figgis, she has been romantically linked with another co-star, actress Fiona Shaw. Neither actress has publicly commented on the relationship. The two appeared together in the National Theatre's production of The PowerBook, a play based on the novel of the same name by Jeanette Winterson, in which they played lovers.

In 2006 the Independent on Sunday listed Burrows as the 90th most influential gay person in the UK. In a 2003 interview ex-boyfriend Alan Cumming said "I was really lucky that the first relationship I had after [my divorce] was with Saffron, who's really...understanding and a broadminded person. And who's now...As I'm sure you know...Well. She bats for both teams, too."

She is left-handed.


Year Film Role Other notes
1993 In the Name of the Father Girl in Commune
1995 Welcome II the Terrordome Jodie
Circle of Friends Nan Mahon
1996 The Shaman Short film
I Bring You Frankincense Sarah Brown Short film
Hotel de Love Melissa Morrison
1997 Lovelife Zoey
Nevada Quinn
One Night Stand Supermodel
The Matchmaker Moira Kennedy Kelly
1999 Wing Commander Lt. Cmdr. 'Angel' Devereaux
The Loss of Sexual Innocence English/Italian Twin
Deep Blue Sea Dr. Susan McCallister
Miss Julie Miss Julie
2000 Assumptions Short film
Timecode Emma
Gangster No. 1 Karen
2001 Enigma Claire Romilly
Tempted Lily LeBlanc
Hotel Duchess of Malfi
2002 Frida Gracie
Hideous Man Short film
2003 El Misterio Galíndez Muriel Colber
Peter Pan Story Narrator Voice Role
2004 Troy Andromache
Terrible Kisses Woman Short film
2006 Perfect Creature Lily
Klimt Lea de Castro
Fay Grim Juliet
2007 Broken Thread Jenny
Reign Over Me Donna Remar
Dangerous Parking Claire
2008 The Guitar Melody Wilder
The Bank Job Martine Love
T Takes: Room 117 The Guest in Room 117 Web series
2009 Shrink Kate Amberson
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Les cinq dernières minutes Daisy Episode: Meurtre en Ardèche
1995 The Big One Jules TV-Movie
1996 Karaoke Sandra Sollars 4 episodes
Cold Lazarus Sandra Sollars 4 episodes
2001 The Seventh Stream Mairead TV-Movie
2002 Flashpoint Dara TV-Pilot

Alternative title: E.I.S.: Epidemiologic Intelligence Service

2007 Marple: Towards Zero Audrey Strange TV-Movie
2007–2008 Boston Legal Lorraine Weller 20 episodes
2008 Wainy Days Lucy Web seriesEpisode: Nan and Lucy
My Own Worst Enemy Dr. Norah Skinner 9 episodes
2009 Kings Death Episode: The Sabbath Queen
The Eastmans Dr. Anna Eastman TV-Pilot
2010–present Law & Order: Criminal Intent Det. Serena Stevens

Awards and nominations

Blockbuster Entertainment Award

  • 2000: Nominated, "Favorite Newcomer Actress" - Deep Blue Sea

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 2008: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" - Boston Legal
  • 2009: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" - Boston Legal


  • Born to political active family, both of her parents are Socialists. Her father works as an architect and teacher, while her mother Susie is a teacher, supporting the feminist movement. In childhood, she sold the Socialist Worker newsletter for pocket money, attended marches and rallies after school with her activist mother and stepfather and even shared her home with striking miners.
  • She was discovered at 15 in Covent Garden, by the same scout who discovered Naomi Campbell, and embarked on a successful career as a model. She modeled in Paris and London for Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent and Vivienne Westwood. But she'd studied drama since she was a child and made her first film at the age of 17, leaving the catwalk behind.
  • 2006 UK newspaper "The Independent"'s Pink List - a list of the most influential gay men and women - placed Burrows at no. 90, citing a rumored relationship with "Harry Potter" and The Black Dahlia (2006) actress Fiona Shaw.
  • Good friends with politician Tony Benn.
  • Plays acoustic guitar.
  • Drives a Lexus hybrid car.
  • Favorite department store: Liberty of London (UK).
  • Favorite movies include: Julia (1977), Tootsie (1982) and Silkwood (1983), etc.
  • Lost out to Rosamund Pike for the role of Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (2002).
  • Became an American citizen in 2009.