For those of us who write about Lennie
A while back I was asked to write an updated profile of Lennie Briscoe. I thought I'd post it here. I think it might help some writers when they have questions about when certain things happened in his career or about ages of his daughters etc.
When asked to write a profile of Lennie Briscoe I thought, why re-invent the wheel. The late Leslie Rampey did a great job of creating a profile for Lennie, as many who visit Apocrypha know, but the profile hadn't been updated since her death, so I've updated it and revised it. I certainly do this in her memory and as a tribute to the character we all love. I must extend a thank you to all those who helped point things out that made this even better.
Detective Leonard (Lennie) W. Briscoe
Played by: Jerry Orbach (Jerome Bernard Orbach)
Introduction Scene: L&O, Season 3 Episode 53, " Point of View " (11/25/92)
First Lines: Emerging out of street vent steam, he says to crime scene police about a piece of evidence, "Put it back, exactly where you found it." Detective Mike Logan asks, "Beeper not working?" Lennie responds, "What I was doing, I don't wear a beeper."
First Exit Scene: L & O Episode 325 "C. O. D." (5/19/2004)
Final Lines: As he's carrying his things out of the squad room in a cardboard box he stops to shake Lt. Van Buren's hand "Lieu … OK" he stops and looks back over the squad members he's leaving behind, the camera pans to his name plate left behind on his desk.
Final Exit Scene L & O Episode 2 "41 Shots" (3/4/2005 several months after Orbach's death) "They got him" His last lines are whispered, because actor Jerry Orbach's voice was badly affected by Chemotherapy, his fellow actors also whispered their lines, because although Jerry said he'd come back later to "loop" his lines, the line producer was afraid there would be no later.
10 Police Square, New York, NY 10001
Badge Number: 8220 (I think- I've looked and looked, I'm sure of the last 3 digits the first might be a 3 instead of an 8)
Partners at the 27:
Mike Logan (1992-1995)
Rey Curtis (1995-1999)
Ed Green (1999-2004)
Partner at the DA's office:
Hector Salazar (2005)
Professional Skills/Idiosyncrasies/Quirks :
A compassionate toucher, Lennie often reaches out physically to victims' family members and witnesses with a hand on the shoulder or occasionally even a hug.
Despite his supposed shortcomings as a father (L&O Episode 110, "Switch" 05/17/95 and L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" 05/22/96), Lennie is really good with children he encounters during investigations. See, for example, his questioning of Laura Rudman in L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (02/02/94), or his and Rey's comforting the Rankin children in L&O Episode 135 "Causa Mortis" (09/18/96).
Although the department switches to automatic handguns ("Glocks") Lennie never gives up on his .38, although he does have to "qualify" using an automatic L&O Episode 139, "Corruption" (10/30/96)
Normally restrained at crime scenes, Lennie has been known to explode. In L&O Episode 194, "Hunters" (02/10/99), he punches one of the Georgia bounty hunters who have just killed two innocent women (one a pregnant young nurse) by their indiscriminant use of shotguns.
When murderers are on the loose, Lennie is not unwilling to use intimidation and force on female suspects. In L&O Episode 116, "Hot Pursuit" (11/08/95), he yells at a very pregnant woman and slams Leslie Harlan to the floor during a grocery store robbery.
Thoroughly pragmatic, Lennie will cut corners and bend rules if it gets the job done. He even comes within what he describes as "a foot, foot and a half" of perjury in L&O Episode 175, "Stalker" (04/15/98), because he thinks he owes the victim for having misread a situation that led to her death.
Lennie has some times been portrayed as a technophobe. In L&O Episode 268, "Access Nation" (02/27/02), when Lennie comments on not opening e-mail, Green snorts and says, "Don't nobody send you no e-mail anyway!" In L&O Episode 113, "Rebels" (09/27/95), he follows new partner Rey Curtis around in bewilderment as Curtis tracks a suspect by e-mail. He does finally get a cell phone, and apparently ME Rodgers is one of the first he gives his number out to.
He realizes that his age is becoming an issue in his work: After Curtis effortlessly hops over a low wall, Lennie turns to Lt. Van Buren and says, "You want me to carry you or you want to carry me?" L&O Episode 126, "Encore" (02/28/96). He also is frequently winded when he needs to run to chase suspects. See, for an example, L&O Episode 158, " Thrill " (09/24/97). (Note: Jerry Orbach said in an interview that 'although he's older than his character, he has to act winded because he is more fit than his character, and much more aware of nutrition'.)
Practically a walking atlas of New York City, Lennie can reel off the street addresses of not only restaurants and bars (of course!), but also other places, such as a church in L&O Episode 199, "Juvenile" (04/14/99), and an S&M club (though he of course swears he's never been in the latter) in L&O Episode 170, "Castoff" (1/28/98).
Lennie served in the U.S. Army as a corporal ("making the shores of New Jersey safe"). L&O Episode 132, " Pro Se " (05/08/96), and L&O Episode 241, " Teenage Wasteland " (02/07/01)
He worked in the 116th Precinct in Queens from approximately 1988-1991 L&O Episode 139, "Corruption" (10/30/96)
Lennie worked vice at the 13th Precinct. L&O Episode 142, "Family Business" (11/20/96)
He also worked in Midtown South out of Hell's Kitchen (this is from the Homicide: Life On The Streets Episode "For God and Country" which was a crossover from Law & Order it completed a two part story started on L & O Episode 124 "Charm City" (2/6/1996)
Lennie's tenure on the police force is a bit of a mystery but it's definitely over 25 years: "30 years on the job" L&O episode 155, "Passion" (05/07/97); "28 years experience" L&O episode 175, "Stalker" (04/15/98). In Corruption (10/30/96) Flynn says he and Lennie have 45 years together on the force and then someone says Flynn has 22 years giving Lennie 23 years). In the episode L&O Episode 94 Competence (11/2/94) the IAB officer investigating Lt Van Buren's shooting of the young black teenager says Lennie has 25 years on the force. In the L&O Episode 93, "White Rabbit" (10/19/94), Lennie knows to the penny what a rookie cops take home pay was in 1968. All of these give us starting dates for Lennie somewhere between 1967 and 1973 (the writers really lacked continuity on this issue, of course it leaves us fan fiction writers to propose some very interesting reasons for all these dates to sort of be correct.)
In episode "Charm City" which aired in 1996 Lennie says he's worked 15 years in homicide so that places him working in homicide since 1981 from what he's said he must have worked in vice before that, although from the way things worked early on in L & O, maybe he also worked other major felonies than homicide like kidnapping and rape.
Blood type is AB-negative. L&O Episode 94, "Competence" (11/02/94)
A recovering alcoholic, Lennie apparently drank for a very long time. In L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock " (05/22/96), his daughter Cathy remarks to him, "I was seven years old when you stumbled out of my life." (She was born in 1971 so that would be 1978). We know that he was still drinking five years before the events in L&O Episode 139, " Corruption " (10/30/96), which is about two years before Cathy's death at age 26, as indicated by her gravestone in L&O Episode 181, " Monster " (05/28/98). So, Lennie probably was drinking for at least 13 years. In an early episode (sometime in the third season (in 1992) Lennie tells Mike he spent the better part of 20 years inside the bottle, and in the episode "Slave" he says one of his daughters was Daddy's little helper, (comparing one of his daughters to a suspect's daughter who tried to hide her father's drunkenness by getting rid of the liquor bottles) so it's likely he was drinking quite a bit before he stumbled out of Cathy's life too, and fairly likely that he sobered up shortly after the events alluded to in the episode "Corruption". After he is sober, Lennie falls off the wagon once, in L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (05/22/96). Subsequent to this relapse, he dates it, in true AA style, as a February 5th almost five years previous to the events of L&O Episode 236, "Amends" (11/29/2000).
During a conversation with former boss Don Cragen (also a recovering alcoholic) in Law & Order SVU Episode 4 "Hysteria" (10/11/99), Lennie confesses to having hit bottom when he "woke up crying like a baby staring down the barrel of my service revolver", this hitting bottom and then turning to AA to help him gain his sobriety apparently happens shortly before his transfer to the 27th precinct in 1992.
One has to wonder at the wisdom of the NYPD allowing Lennie Briscoe to remain on the streets after being involved in a auto accident where a colleague was the victim of vehicular homicide or manslaughter, let alone letting him remain on duty when two years later the man's daughter is murdered by a drug dealer. He continued working as a homicide detective for 6 years after his daughter's death and we've never even seen any evidence that he's had any psychological evaluation or treatment.
Lighter notes about Lennie's health
Apparently Lennie has a cast iron stomach; he never turns down food. Rey teases him about this in L&O Episode 172, "Faccia a Faccia " (02/25/98): When the M.E. recites the contents of the victim's stomach as "veal picata, capers, risotto, asparagus, salad --could be arugula, could be spinach -- peanuts, red wine, expresso, and before that, corned beef on rye, mustard, and french fries," Rey quips, "Guy eats like you, Lennie!"
He likes his pretzels extra salty and his coffee regular, which apparently means sugar and cream (and he drinks lots of coffee), he's been known to eat hotdogs, hero sandwiches, many a slice of pizza; his idea of fusion is hamburger meets fries.
He used to smoke cigars but quit and now waves away Rey's smoke. Preferred brands were Monte Cristos and Ramon Allones. L&O Episode 144, " Legacy " (01/15/97)
He hates doctors and hospitals (his blood pressure spikes right before its time for his check up). L&O Episode 89, " Second Opinion " (09/21/94), L&O Episode 197, " Harm "(03/03/99) He got shin splints when he walked a beat. L&O Episode 61 (3/3/93) "Conduct Unbecoming"
Date of Birth: unknown Some people say Lennie's birth date is January 2, 1940 that comes from the L&O Episode 63 "Virus" (4/21/93), because in that episode a computer tech inputs that date into a medical computer program as Lennie's birthday; however, the tech just wanted to put some date into the program and doesn't ask Lennie what his birth date is. If that were Lennie's birth date he would have reached mandatory retirement age for the NYPD (62) a year and a half before he actually retired, so that can't be his birth date. Note: Lennie's birth date also does somewhat depend on when Lennie began with the NYPD as he had to be at least 21 to start on the force. So if he started in 1967 (the earliest date suggested by his years on the force), his birth date must be at least by 1946 (Nice baby boomer birth date, which matches up well with his Dad being a WWII GI - see Family History)
Father Jewish, Mother Catholic, he was raised as a Catholic. Lennie tells Jack McCoy this in L&O Episode 119, "Blood Libel" (01/03/96). In L&O Episode 108, "Bad Faith " (04/26/95), he mentions having an aunt who "says the Rosary every morning." In L&O Episode 186 " Agony " (11/04/98), he uses the exclamation "Mother of God!" upon discovering an unusually gory victim.
Sufficient knowledge of the Bible to recognize the Book of Numbers as part of the Old Testament L&O Episode 100, "Progeny" (01/25/95).
Unknown for sure, but when he first appeared in the episode Point of View there seemed to be some suggestion that he was Irish, and Jerry Orbach had a rather elaborate explanation of Briscoe being a Sephardic Jew (like Orbach's father). The explanation led to the Spanish armada and the Black Irish. Lennie's supposed Irish ethnicity might explain why the only time we ever heard Lennie sing, while drunk in the episode Corruption, it was a few bars of "Danny Boy".
"Old Spice," used occasionally by Ed Green, but Lennie says he doesn't like nicknames. L&O Episode 206, "Gunshow" (09/22/99) Called "Stretch" by a shopkeeper. L&O Episode 176, " Disappeared " (04/22/98) Called "Poppa" by a parking attendant. L&O Episode 243, " A Losing Season " (02/21/01)
Childhood Events/Family History:
Father was a GI with the first regiment into Buchenwald. L&O Episode 57, "Night and Fog" (02/03/93)
Lennie says that in the 1920s his grandfather brewed gin in the bathtub and sold it door-to-door. L&O Episode 232, "Dissonance" (11/01/00)
Grew up on Upper West Side. L&O Episode 70, "Profile " (10/13/93) Also, when in a morgue looking at bones, he says it reminds him of home, and then when his partner and the ME give him a strange look, adds that he grew up in the meat packing district.
Lennie has two ex-wives L&O Episode 53, "Point of View" (11/25/92)
He must not have been married to either of them over ten years, because in L & O Episode 325 "C. O. D." (5/19/2004) he notes that the 11 years that he and Van Buren have been together is the longest he's ever been with any woman. Apparently one of his ex-wives FINALLY remarried, because when the crazy crime boss Frederico Rhighetti asked after Lennie's wife (A tall redhead-sounds like Cathy's mom), Lennie said he wouldn't know, Rhighetti would have to ask her new husband. L&O Episode 313 "Payback" (1/14/2004)
Lennie had two daughters. Cathy was born June 23, 1971; Julia was probably born in 1975 (this based upon Lennie saying his daughter was 17 in L&O Episode 54 "Consultation" (12/4/92) and agreeing with Mike that she was 18 in the Episode 73 "Apocrypha" (11/03/1993). Both daughters were in college at one point. L&O Episode 87, " Doubles " (05/18/94). In L&O Episode 117, "Paranoia" (11/16/95), Lennie remarks that one of them (probably Cathy) is "two years into a nursing degree."
Daughter Cathy, a nurse (played brilliantly by Jennifer Bill), appears in three episodes: L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (05/22/96); L&O Episode 178, " Bad Girl " (04/29/98); and L&O Episode, 179 " Damaged " (05/06/98).
In the episode Bad Girl, Cathy is arrested for possession with intent to sell drugs. She's been stealing the drugs from the hospital she works in. Lennie learns that she also has an addiction to methamphetamines. The Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, the borough she was arrested in, is anxious to make cases, so he wants Cathy to set up her ex-boyfriend/drug dealer and then testify against him. Lennie realizes that she is being penalized for being the daughter of a white cop, which is made even worse by the fact that father/daughter aren't close. Lennie can't even remember the name of her former live-in boyfriend (not the drug dealer) who he belated learns she hasn't been seeing for the last 8 months anyway.
In the episode Damaged, despite Lennie's attempts to get Cathy out of having to set up the drug dealer and testify against him, she carries out the sting bravely and testifies well too. The defense uses Lennie's past and other tricks to cloud the issue. The trial ends with a hung jury, and the judge declares a mistrial. The drug dealer Danny Jones goes free. Cathy feels utterly defeated and won't let her father help her; all he can do is ask the detective involved in the case to watch out for his daughter. At the end of the episode, Cathy is found murdered. We see Lennie come to the crime scene with his partner Rey, not as an investigator, but as the devastated next of kin of the victim.
In L&O Episode 181, "Monster" (05/28/98) Eddie Soto, a CI of Lennie's, makes him a tempting offer, if Lennie can somehow get the detective who arrested Sotto to go easy on him, so he doesn't go away for a long time as a repeat offender (the 3 strikes and you're out rule), then the CI will see to it that the drug dealer, Danny Jones, who murdered Cathy, is killed. Lennie struggles with this during the episode; we see him call the detective and arrange to meet with him. At the end of the episode, we see a Jewish graveside service for Cathy. Lennie's ex-wife is there with him, as are Rey and Deborah Curtis, Anita Van Buren and Tony Profaci. As the service ends we see Detective Spivak, who Lennie needs to talk to to make the deal, come up to Lennie. Lennie ask the detective to give him a few moments and meet him at his car, but we don't see the conversation, so we don't know at the conclusion of that episode whether Lennie did or didn't do what would be necessary to set into motion the drug dealer's death. We do know that weeks (or maybe months) later the drug dealer dies of an overdose. (I don't know if this ambiguity is due to a missing scene due to shortening of the episode for syndication as I don't remember seeing the uncut version, or if the ending was intentionally left vague, leaving us to wonder whether Lennie would seek vengeance for his daughter's death or whether he might think she wouldn't want that.)
About 18 months later, a defense attorney brings up the matter of Cathy's drug involvement during a trial in which Lennie is testifying, and his pain is palpable. L&O Episode 215, "Loco Parentis " (01/05/00)
His pain is also often quite visible when he is dealing with cases where a young woman has been killed. Sometimes he even uses his pain to reach out to a victim's family or even suspects during investigations. On at least one occasion, he has been less than enthusiastic to pursue a case because of his feelings about drug dealers. L&O Episode 289 "Under God " (02/05/2003) (In this episode when Lennie talks to the suspect, a father whose son died of an overdose and therefore had a motive to kill the drug dealer murder victim, he says Cathy was 24 but her gravestone shows she was 26)
His other daughter, (her name is Julia L&O Episode 98, "House Counsel" (01/04/95) was rarely mentioned until after Cathy's death, she lives in Florida.
Lennie says he is a grandfather. L&O Episode 119, " Angel " (11/29/95) I'm fairly sure that the grandchild is not Cathy's based on the conversation he and she have in Aftershock, in which he wonders why she and Martin don't get married. When she asks for one good reason, he mentions children and she is definitely not enthusiastic. If the grandchild is Julia's, it's interesting that at one point he says both daughters are in college, because she'd be going to college and raising a child.
Lennie has a nephew, Ken Briscoe (played by Chris Orbach) who also is with the NYPD. SVU Episode 3, " Or Just Look Like One " (10/04/99) and SVU Episode 15, " Entitled (1) " (02/18/00). Ken must be the son of the brother of whom Lennie says, "I love my brother, but I can barely get through Thanksgiving Dinner".
Apparently he has a very good relationship with his mother: "Any mother too good to be true probably is -- except mine." L&O Episode 26, " Born Again " (03/0602), but not with his father, "a schmuck." L&O Episode 283, " Hitman " (11/13/02). Lennie's father died of Alzheimer's L&O Episode 77 (1/05/95) "Golden Years". Lennie seems fearful of ever having Alzheimer's like his father, asking his partner Mike to shoot him if he starts to drift.
Mentions his ex-wife -- singular -- in connection with child support, apparently indicating that the two daughters have the same mother, L&O Episode 141, "Deadbeat" (11/13/96). That is also supported in Lennie's interrogation of Marty Willach, in which Lennie's comments imply that his two daughters lived in the same household. L&O Episode 95, "Precious" (11/09/94)
John Flynn of the 116th, but Flynn lies about Lennie in front of the Hellman Commission because he perceives that Lennie has crossed him. L&O Episode 139, " Corruption " (10/30/96)
Former police detective Ted Parker. L&O Episode 81, " Kids " (02/09/94) Ted's son is in trouble and he wants Lennie to help him out. (Ted comments that Lennie has aged better than he has)
Brian Torelli of the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn. Lennie is present when the IAB arrests Torelli for suborning perjury and obstruction of justice in L&O Episode 60, " Jurisdiction " (03/03/93)
"Old boss" Tommy Brannigan. Now retired, Brannigan has to admit that 20 years ago he let murderer Michael Sarno walk in exchange for a promotion. L&O Episode 236, " Amends " (11/29/2000). Tommy asks if Lennie forgives him and Lennie answers "All day long Tommy, all day long."
John 'Pot Belly' Podbielski currently a PI with whom Lennie worked vice in the 13th precinct, they "collared $5 hookers together" L&O Episode 142 "Family Business" (11/ 20/96)
Reds Carpenter cop he walked a beat with is among the buddies he has a "drink" with after the Mickey Scott execution. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (05/22/96)
Partner Mike Logan
Mike is reassigned to Staten Island after punching Councilman Kevin Crossley Law & Order Episode 111 "Pride" (5/24/95)
Partner Rey Curtis.
Rey takes Lennie home with him when his daughter Cathy is killed. L&O Episode, " Damaged " (05/06/98);
After Rey commits adultery with the girl he met in the park, Rey seeks out Lennie at his apartment (Lennie's not there as he's at a bar getting drunk). L&O Episode 134, " Aftershock " (05/22/96)
When Rey and his wife are separated, and he and Lennie are out in LA on a case, Lennie "sets up" Rey on a date with a movie studio executive. When Rey learns that his wife has MS, Lennie gets information about support groups from his daughter.
Lennie has a curious rapport with Baltimore detective John Munch considering the first time the two men met, Munch discovered, much to his chagrin, that Lennie had had a brief affair with Munch's ex wife Gwenn and then Lennie beat him in five straight games of 8ball for $500 dollar. L&O Episode 45, " For God and Country " (03/27/97), H:LOTS Episode 82
Lennie has two ex-wives L&O Episode 53 " Point of View" (11/25/92) Says that Cathy's mother cheated on him. L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock " (05/22/96)
Yet he remarks that he cheated on his first wife in L&O Episode 137, "Good Girl" (10/07/96).
Caught his first wife in the shower with a natural redhead Episode 53 " Point of View" (11/25/92), and said thanks to an insurance agent he knew all about his second wife's boyfriend before he went to court.
Had an affair with married policewoman Betty Abrams five years prior to the events of L&O Episode 139, "Corruption" (10/30/96), which she broke off because she wanted to save her family. Lennie still feels protective toward her. He threatened to kick Jack McCoy's "butt from here to Hoboken" if he didn't take her off the stand when she went in to testify before the Hellman commission to give Lennie an alibi when John Flynn accused him of having stolen drugs from the 116 property room. After Hellman made her look like a slut and a liar, Lennie would have physically assaulted the judge had there not been a couple of other men present to restrain him.
It might be worth noting that during his drinking days, Lennie didn't seem to have much trouble disregarding departmental policies and general standards of morality. He signed in for duty, and then went home to sleep off a hangover, apparently arranging with a buddy to sign out for him when his shift was over. Thus he was in dereliction of duty, then to compound matters, Betty came over to his apartment to spend the night with him (must be some guy if he's still worth having sex with when he's drinking), she's a fellow officer (for some reason I recall believing she was his partner) and she's married. So he's adding on fraternization and adultery.
Lennie dated a girl named Katrina for two months. He said she took him "to hell in a hand basket, but oh what a two months that was" and that "if she called him up for a date tonight he'd be on the sidewalk waiting". L&O Episode 74, "American Dream" (11/09/93)
Whoever his current girlfriend is, she requires chocolates and flowers when he is apologizing for something.
Tries to pick up a hospital nurse, but she turns him down by implying she is gay. L&O Episode 164, " Blood " (11/19/97)
Tries to take a woman named Cele (?), who is apparently a beautician, to a Knicks game, but on the phone she tells him she is busy (This in some ways harks back to Jerry Orbach's Emmy winning performance in the Broadway Musical Promises, Promises where he sing the song She Likes Basketball). L&O Episode 83, "Mayhem" (03/09/94) (By the way he never gets to the game either, because he and Logan have a horrifically busy day)
Obviously exaggerating, he claims that the last time he "got lucky" was in 1986. L&O Episode 208, " DNR " (10/06/99)
In L&O Episode 103, " Seed " (02/15/95), he mentions a woman named Gloria with whom he apparently is intimate enough to know that she has to spend one day a month in bed -- could be a current girlfriend or maybe one of the ex-wives.
As previously mentioned, he had an affair with Det. John Munch's ex-wife Gwen. H:LOTS Episode 45, " For God and Country " (02/09/96), and H:LOTS Episode 82, "Baby, It's You" (11/14/97). (Lennie may have a preference for redheads - Gwenn Munch is described as having Auburn hair and one of his exes is described as being a tall redhead who looked good in a tight skirt).
Lennie seemed a bit embarrassed when the waitress in John Munch's Baltimore tavern came on to him by asking if he's "heavily armed too", but he seemed to recover as the day went by and seemed more receptive to her comment about his "good stick". H:LOTS Episode 45, " For God and Country " (02/09/96)
Lennie mentioned taking a taxi into the precinct and before he could make the point he wanted to make, Ed pointed out that that had to be an expensive trip from where Lennie lives, Lennie retorted that he didn't say he was coming from his place, the expression on Ed's face seemed to indicate that Ed had forgotten that his partner might be a lot older than him, but that didn't mean Lennie couldn't still have a sex life. L&O Episode 271, "Under God" (02/05/2003)
PS 189 (and apparently his father went there too because he says hey I'm a legacy too or something along those lines) L&O Episode 86, " Nurture " (05/04/94)
CCNY, where he says he never finished reading Melville's novel Moby Dick L&O Episode 117, " Paranoia " (11/15/95)
Knowledge of African-American poet Langston Hughes; Lennie quotes a portion of Hughes' poem "Motto" to Lt. Van Buren in L&O Episode 130, "Slave" (04/21/96). He claims it worked well on the Jewish girls from Riverdale (perhaps where his wife was from) and Anita tells him it WORKS pretty good on girls from Jackson Heights too.
Lennie has traveled to London where his first wife wanted to stay at the expensive Hotel Connaught, he figured they had enough money for about an hour. L&O Episode 166 " Burned " (12/10/97)
He is able to recognize Arabic script. L&O Episode 167, " Ritual " (12/17/97)
In a witty exchange with Ed, Lennie demonstrates he is familiar with the basic thought of philosopher Rene Descartes L&O Episode 280, " True Crime " (10/16/02)
May possibly tend toward the politically liberal. In an effort to placate an anti-immigrant shopkeeper, he refers to "your boy Newt." L&O Episode 119, "Angel" (11/29/95)
In L&O Episode 130, " Slave " (04/21/96), he likens his conservative partner Rey to Pat Buchanan.
In L&O Episode 93, " White Rabbit " (10/19/94), he says of the FBI's obsession with political activists during the '60s, "Every once in a while they actually tangled with a criminal."
Lennie is ambivalent about the death penalty. L&O Episode 114, "Savages" (10/18/95), and L&O Episode 134, "Aftershock" (05/22/96)
Lennie isn't in favor of legalizing drugs. L&O Episode 59, "Mother Love" (02/24/93)
He's probably not a friend of the gun lobby. Upon finding a militia's huge cache of arms, Lennie suggests, "Take a picture, and send it to Charlton Heston!" L&O Episode 162, "Nullification" (11/05/97)
Lennie is generally tolerant, or at least not judgmental, of homosexuals. In L&O Episode 65, "Manhood" (05/12/93), he and Mike Logan risk their careers to get to the truth about a gay cop who was killed because he didn't get the backup he requested.
His feelings about the ethics of what is being done to embryos at a fertility clinic in the episode "Scrambled" L&O Episode 187 (11/1198) leads to a conversation between himself and partner Rey Curtis made strained by his daughter's death and Curtis' wife's illness (MS).
Since 9/11 a U. S. flag lapel pin has joined Lennie's Detective's Association pin.
Lennie is obviously angry about the 9/11 attacks: to Green "Hey, take a look, partner -- there's supposed to be two towers standing over there!" L&O Episode 277, "Patriot" (05/022/02)
Didn't vote for George W. Bush. L&O Episode 283, "Hitman" (11/13/02)
Demonstrates his extraordinary prowess at pool in L&O Episode 87, "Wager" (03/30/94), and H:LOTS Episode 45, "For God and Country" (02/09/96), "Everybody Loves Raimondo's" (04/14/2004) (In this last episode in which we see Lennie Briscoe shoot pool, he is asked who taught him to shoot and Jerry Orbach names real pool playing legends, whom he has played with, and of course the incredible shots you see him make are not camera tricks but simply Jerry's own natural ability to "shoot stick".)
He's a fan of rock-and-roller Fats Domino. L&O Episode 80, "Censure" (02/02/94) and of jazz great Mose Allison. L&O Episode 54, " Consultation" (12/09/92).
Has pronounced opinions on food. Doesn't approve of mayo on corned beef. L&O Episode 270, "Girl Most Likely" (03/27/02); likes his pretzels "extra salty" L&O Episode 116, "Hot Pursuit" (11/08/95); wonders "what's the point?" of decaffeinated cappuccino with skim milk. L&O Episode 97, "Scoundrels" (11/30/94) Wants his hot pastrami "with extra mustard, and don't trim the fat." L&O Episode 147, "Matrimony" (0219/97)
Lennie is knowledgeable of typical male sports - football, baseball (a Mets fan – but admonishes Ed Green "love 'em, don't bet 'em"), basketball (Knicks fan), boxing. Participates in off-track betting (Some of his daughter Cathy's best memories are of collecting his winnings at the OTB, but Ed Green criticizes Lennie's betting schemes for example he always bets on grays and other such superstitions), golf, and poker (he taught his daughter to play poker and she beats the doctors at her work– "straight draw none of that wild card crap, that's for frat boys and blue-haired old ladies")
Lennie is a Zane Grey fan, L&O Episode 155, "Passion" (05/07/97)
Apparently he does not care for the beach: "Not a sand and sun-block kind of guy." L&O Episode 283, "Hitman" (11/13/02), although he does say he plans to soak up some sun in retirement L&O Episode 325 "C.O.D"
Lennie seems very fond of animals as he is always petting any cat, dog or horse that he comes across in the line of duty. He even tried to be friendly to the killer pit bull!
Catch Phrases/Personal Quirks:
Lennie is something of a grammarian. PUNK SUSPECT: Hey, man -- we wasn't doin' nothin'! LENNIE: Oh, yeah? And just where wasn't you doin' it?" L&O Episode 123, "Trophy" (01/31/96).
PUNK SUSPECT: Look, man -- I don't know nuttin' about nuttin'. LENNIE: See, we already know that because if you did know anything about anything, you'd know not to keep a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol in a shoebox under your bed!" L&O Episode 243, "A Losing Season" (02/31/01)
In numerous episodes, Lennie seldom misses an opportunity to share his cynical quips about marriage. Though he frequently makes it clear to Ed green it's marriage he's cynical about not love.
Stereotypical New Yorker: "New Hampshire -- I spent a year there one weekend." L&O Episode 83, "Mayhem" (03/09/94). And "I hate going to Jersey!" L&O Episode 156, "Past Imperfect " (05/14/97)
Clearly doesn't appreciate playing the straight man -- see scene in morgue with M.E. Rodgers. L&O Episode 250, "Brother's Keeper" (05/09/01)
An apparent fondness for the epanodos (or anadiplosis ): "Great, if we knew who it was, we'd know who it was" L&O Episode 102, "Performance" (02/08/95); "You know, Mike, if I didn't already know you don't have kids, I'd know you don't have kids" L&O Episode 103, "Seed" (02/15/95); and "If we'd been a little more alert the first time, maybe there wouldn't have been a first time." L&O Episode 277, " Patriot " (05/022/02)
Quite the mimic, Lennie imitates the elevator engineer in L&O Episode 136, "ID" (09/25/96), and the talking TV horse Mr. Ed in L&O Episode 122, "Corpus Delecti" (01/17/96).
Lennie has a rarely seen enormous smile that seems to be especially reserved for the children or grandchildren of friends. L&O Episode 117, "Paranoia" (11/15/95), and L&O Episode 236, " Amends " (11/29/2000)
Prefers ties with oval or circular patterns; some paisley or splash patterns, occasionally geometric, but never stripes or plaid.
Engaged in some sort of curious french-fries rivalry with Lt. Van Buren. L&O 184, "Bait" (10/14/98) and L&O Episode 232, "Dissonance" (10/18/00)
Other Appearances of Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe
H:LOTS Episode 45, " For God and Country " (02/09/96)
H:LOTS Episode 82, " Baby, It's You " (11/14/97)
H:LOTS Episode 115, " Sideshow (2) " (02/19/99)
SVU Episode 3, " Or Just Look Like One " (10/04/99)
SVU Episode 4, " Hysteria " (10/11/99)
SVU Episode 15, " Entitled (1) " (02/18/00)
CI Episode 7, " Poison " (11/11/01)
TBJ Episode 1 Abominable Showman 3/3/2005
TBJ Episode 2 41 Hits 3/4/2005
Jerry Orbach was first seen on Law & Order
L&O Episode 24, " The Wages of Love " (09/24/91), as Attorney Frank Lehrman.