Diane Neal is an actress and politician from America. She has garnered popularity for portraying Casey Novak in the TV series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ She is also known for her role as Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Abigail Borin in the NCIS television franchise. Originally from Virginia, Neal had aspired for success in the world of glamour since she was a child. When she was 18 years old, she began modelling but later quit to go back to school to complete her education. She made her acting debut in an episode of ‘Ed’ in 2001. She had her big screen debut two years later, in the 2003 film ‘Second Born’. She initially joined the cast of SVU as a guest star but later landed the role of Novak in season five. For her performance in SVU, Neal was nominated for a Prism Award in 2007. She became a recurring cast member of ‘NCIS’ in 2010 and later started appearing in its spin-off, ‘NCIS: New Orleans’, as well. She has also portrayed Allison Holt in ‘Suits’, Cynthia Sheridan in ‘Power’, and Lisa Campbell in ‘The Following’.
Diane Neal’s first screen appearance was in a season one episode of NBC’s comedy-drama TV series ‘Ed’ in 2001. That year, she also appeared in an episode of the short-lived show ‘Fling’. She began 2002 by lending her voice to Cleopatra in the English version of the French-Italian fantasy comedy film ‘Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra’. She also appeared in the pilot episode of Fox’s short-lived political drama ‘The American Embassy’ and a season one episode of CBS’ crime drama ‘Hack’.
In 2003, she worked with Jason Scott Lee and Jason London in the direct-to-video horror film ‘Dracula II: Ascension.’ Later that year, she made her big-screen debut in the drama film ‘Second Born’. Her first telefilm, ‘Future Tense’, was released that year as well. In 2005, she reprised her role as Elizabeth Blaine in the third film in Dracula series, ‘Dracula III: Legacy’.
Her first appearance in NBC’s ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ was in a 2001 episode. She played Amelia Chase, a successful stockbroker who is eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape and murder. The producers later cast Neal as the Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak. She debuted as Novak in the season five episode, ‘Serendipity’ (2003). Her character served as the replacement of Stephanie March's Alexandra Cabot. Neal left SVU in season nine (2008) after the New York State Bar censured her character in the show. In season 12 (2011), she made a return as a temporary DA. Neal last appeared in the show in the season 13 (2012) episode ‘Valentine’s Day’. She has also guest-starred in a season one episode of ‘Law & Order: Trial by Jury’ (2005).
Neal played the recurring character of Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent Abigail Borin in six episodes of CBS’ ‘NCIS’ (2010-14) and three episodes of ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ (2015). She portrayed Allison Holt, a lawyer and partner at Bratton Gould, in three episodes (2012-14) of USA Network’s legal drama series ‘Suits’. In Starz’s crime drama series ‘Power’, Neal was cast as Cynthia Sheridan in 2014. In 2015, she played the recurring character Lisa Campbell in Fox’s mystery thriller series ‘The Following’. Her notable cinematic credits include ‘Dirty Movie’ (2011), ‘Newlyweds’ (2013), ‘Mr. Jones’ (2013), ‘Santorini Blue’ (2013), and ‘After’ (2014).
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Diane Neal has stated she considers herself “a little libertarian, I'm a lot liberal, mostly progressive”. However, she has added that she can “take really complicated policy and break it down into edible sound bites”, which is something most progressive liberals are unable to do.
On February 8, 2018, she revealed that she was going to contest for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 19th congressional district as an independent candidate. She ended the election with 1% of the vote.
Family & Personal Life
Born on November 17, 1976, in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, Diane Neal is one of the three daughters of Colleen and Christopher Neal. Her mother has worked as a mathematics teacher while her father has been a federal attorney. She has two older sisters, Erin and Leigh. She and her sisters grew up in Littleton, Colorado, and Ohio.
After graduating from Heritage High School at the age of 16 in 1993, she relocated to Hawaii in order to major in pre-med. However, she dropped out when she decided to try out modelling. At the age of 18, she was featured in Pond’s skin-care and Shiseido commercials. In 1999, inspired by Indiana Jones, she quit modelling and went to Egypt and Israel to learn about biblical archaeology. In 2009, she enrolled at Harvard University's Extension School, earning her associate’s degree in May 2018. She has also completed a six-week acting course at the Atlantic Acting School in New York.
Neal married Irish actor Marcus Fitzgerald on July 9, 2005. The couple divorced in 2014.
Neal was part of her high school’s competitive figure skating program.