Law and Order

Lennie Briscoe

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Briscoe Right to Counsel
Name Leonard W. Briscoe
Title Detective
D.A. Investigator
Affiliation New York City Police Department
District Attorney's Office
United States Army
Division Homicide Department
Precinct 36th Precinct, 27th Precinct
Family Cathy Briscoe (daughter) (deceased)
Julia Briscoe (daughter)
Unnamed grandchild
Ken Briscoe (nephew)
Harry (uncle) (deceased)
Unnamed ex-wives
Status Deceased
Actor Jerry Orbach
First Appearance Point of View
Last Appearance 41 Shots
Detective Leonard W. "Lennie" Briscoe was a member of the New York City Police Department for more than thirty years, starting as a so-called "beat cop" in the late 1960s.

Briscoe first teamed with Detective Mike Logan after Logan's partner Phil Cerreta was shot by a black-market arms dealer and was forced to retire. Since Logan was expelled to Staten Island for assault in 1995, Briscoe has worked with Detective Rey Curtis and later Ed Green.


Briscoe had two daughters named Cathy and Julia. His nephew, Ken Briscoe was also an NYPD detective. His daughter Cathy was arrested for drug possession and was murdered after testifying in court against the dealer. (L&O: Damaged)


Lennie was a recovering alcoholic. He only fell off the wagon once, after witnessing an execution; Claire Kincaid drove him home, and was struck and killed by a drunk driver. (Aftershock)

Briscoe had a rather cynical view about people. [citation needed] His cynicism was especially pronounced around marriage and fidelity, and he would frequently make bitter references to divorce, the futility of love, and lawyers.[1] He was also known as a wisecracking honest cop.

He also maintained good relationships with his former partners and colleagues such as Mike Logan, Don Cragen, Rey Curtis, Jack McCoy, Ed Green, John Munch, Anita Van Buren, Hector Salazar, Elliot Stabler, Olivia Benson, Tracey Kibre and Abbie Carmichael

Skills and AbilitiesEdit

Briscoe was an excellent pool player (a real skill of Jerry Orbach). He ran a pool table while undercover in Everybody Loves Raimondo's.

He also ran another pool table while interviewing a suspect in a gambling-related homicide, winning $10 from the suspect (which he gave back to him as thanks for information). (L&O: Season 4, Wager)

In a 2005 episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent "Diamond Dogs" Detective Mike Logan tells a suspect "my old partner was a wizard with the stick."

Briscoe's revolverEdit

His duty weapon is a Smith & Wesson Model 36 .38 Special, snub-nosed revolver. He carries the Model 36 as his sidearm since he was a long serving veteran police officer with the NYPD having been a "Member Of the Service" (MOS) prior to 1986.

In 1986, the department started issuing Smith & Wesson Model 64 .38 Special revolvers to MOS. All NYPD officers who were hired after 1986 had to carry stainless steel finished revolvers.

After 1992, the NYPD started issuing 9mm semiautomatic pistols (certain authorized S&W, Glock, and SIG Sauer 9mm pistols) to their officers.

The Model 36 was a very popular revolver with NYPD detectives and plainclothes officers because it is reliable and easy to conceal and the .38 Special cartridge has a good reputation among police officers for reliability.

Early lifeEdit

Lennie was born January 2, 1940.[2]

He grew up in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. A veteran of two failed marriages, Briscoe has two daughters, the elder Julia and the younger Cathy.

He also has a nephew, Det. Ken Briscoe (played by Orbach's son, Chris). He mentions being a grandfather and Cathy is shown to have no children so they must be Julia's.

Briscoe was an alcoholic, although in recovery. Many references are made to his former problems both in his personal and work life because of his alcoholism.

He often makes references to being a "friend of Bill W." which is a reference to his having attended Alcoholics Anonymous.

His family is fairly dysfunctional, due to his alcoholism, he was often absent from his daughters' lives and they have distant, fractious relationships with him as adults. At some point, Lennie parked cars at the Atwater Hotel. (L&O: Censure)

Law and OrderEdit

Lennie Briscoe is introduced in the 1992 episode "Point of View " as the new senior detective in the New York City 27th Precinct.

His boss during his first season on the show is Capt. Don Cragen ; a year later, Lt. Anita Van Buren takes over the 27th Squad.

He was previously assigned as a detective in the 116th Precinct in Queens.  Briscoe joins the squad after Mike Logan's partner, Sgt. Phil Cerreta, is shot by a black market arms dealer and transfers to a desk job in another precinct.

After Logan is transferred to Staten Island in 1995, Det. Rey Curtis becomes Briscoe's partner.

Four years later, Curtis goes into early retirement to take care of his multiple sclerosis–stricken wife, and he is replaced by Det. Ed Green in 1999. Briscoe retires in 2004.

After leaving the homicide division of the NYPD, Briscoe joined the District Attorney's office, becoming a DA Investigator alongside Hector Salazar. He died in 2005, after only a couple of months at that post.


In 2005, the Briscoe character was written out after the second episode of Trial By Jury coinciding with Orbach 's death on December 28, 2004 from prostate cancer.

The character's departure from the show was originally to be in the episode "Baby Boom" where members of the DA's Officeattend a memorial service for him after dying from an illness.

This scene was in fact filmed, but never actually made it into the episode before its airing, leaving Briscoe's whereabouts after his last appearance in the second episode unknown.

In the 2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Diamond Dogs " (Chris Noth 's first episode as a regular cast member), Logan (questioning a burglar's fence in a pool hall) is clearly referring to Briscoe when he says that a former partner was a "wizard with the stick."

In the 2007 Criminal Intent episode "Renewal", Logan says that Briscoe has died but he still sees him alive in his dreams. 

In 2008, Green explains he returned to gambling briefly after Briscoe died. In a 2008 episode of Criminal Intent, a Catholic priest who was a friend of Briscoe approaches Logan after a prisoner's deathbed confession to a 16-year-old double murder in The Bronx.

In the 2009 Law & Order episode "Fed ", Briscoe's old partner Rey Curtis returns to New York to bury his deceased wife Deborah, who had finally succumbed to MS, next to her parents.

Anita Van Buren was able to come to the tail end of Deborah's funeral and meet with Curtis where Curtis revealed that he had spoken with Lennie Briscoe just before his death and that Lennie was his old wisecracking self right up to the end.

Character highlightsEdit

Briscoe is one of many characters on the show to have served in the military; he was at one point a corporal in the United States Army. On several occasions he has referred to his service in the Vietnam War.

After leaving the Army, Briscoe joined the NYPD in the 29th Precinct in Manhattan and walked a beat there with stops at the 31st and 33rd Precincts, also in Manhattan, and the 110th and 116th Precincts in Queens, at some point reaching the rank of detective.

It is also revealed in the 1999 episode "Marathon", that he spent three years in the Anti-Crime Unit. Briscoe's detective shield number is 8220.

Briscoe typically has a wise-crack or joke about the victim or circumstances of death at the close of the opening scene, with the joke usually exhibiting a very deadpan delivery while at the same time being highly "on target." He likes music, but mostly music that was popular in his youth.

In Season 9, Curtis chides his musical taste for stopping with Bobby Darin. Briscoe used to read Langston Hughes back when he was a beatnik "for about five minutes" and "it used to work pretty good on Jewish girls."[3]

Many of Briscoe's former partners and colleagues outside the series (offscreen before Briscoe joined the 27th Precinct) have been or ended up becoming corrupt. In the 1993 episode "Jurisdiction", Lieutenant Brian Torelli forced a confession from a mentally-challenged man; at the end of the episode Briscoe is present when Internal Affairs arrests Torelli for suborning perjury and obstruction of justice.


Video Game AppearancesEdit


  • Briscoe did not vote for George W. Bush, or so he told Randy Porter during a search of Porter's home. (L&O: Hitman)
  • Briscoe's detective shield number is 8220. [citation needed]
  • He occasionally attended Jewish services as a courtesy to his first wife. (L&O: Blood Libel)
  • Since Jerry Orbach passed away in 2004, it would seem fair to say that Briscoe had passed away as well.
  • Briscoe was the 3rd most liked Law and Order detective under Olivia Benson and Robert Goren.
  • Bravo named him the 30th most liked television character
  • He is the longest detective to be on the original law and order.
  • Briscoe died at age: 64 or 65
  • Orbach's son Chris played Detective Ken Briscoe on Law and Order SVU
  • Ed Green said he went back to gambling because Briscoe died.
  • Like Briscoe Orbach's father was Jewish and he was raised Catholic by his mother.
  • Orbach originally auditioned for the roles of Det. Sgt. Max Greevey and Det. Sgt. Phil Cerreta.
  • In 1995, he claimed the last time he spoke to his ex-wife was July 17, 1994 at 2:35 P.M. (L&O: House Counsel


  1. In Divorce, he once told Rey Curtis that divorce lawyers were "God's way of telling you to stay single." in Couples, he once referred to love as "a dangerous disease instantly cured by marriage." In Privileged, when a lawyer asked if Lennie knew how many matrimonial attorneys were attacked last year, he responded: "I know one that should have been."
  2. Law & Order episode "Virus", originally aired April 21, 1993.
  3. Law & Order episode "Slave", originally aired April 21, 1996.

Icon L&O Law & Order - Main Characters

Senior Detectives: Max GreeveyPhil CerretaLennie BriscoeJoe FontanaEd GreenKevin Bernard

Junior Detectives: Mike LoganRey CurtisEd GreenNick FalcoKevin BernardCyrus LupoNina Cassady

Commanding Officers: Captain Donald Cragen • Lieutenant Anita Van Buren


Executive Assistant District Attorneys: Benjamin StoneJack McCoyMichael Cutter

Assistant District Attorneys: Paul RobinetteClaire KincaidJamie RossAbbie CarmichaelSerena SoutherlynAlexandra BorgiaConnie Rubirosa

District Attorneys: Adam SchiffNora LewinArthur BranchJack McCoy


Elizabeth OlivetAlfred Wentworth

Icon TBJ Law & Order: Trial by Jury - Main Characters

Characters: Arthur BranchLennie BriscoeKelly GaffneyTracey KibreChris RavellHector Salazar

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