2004_04_dennisfarina.jpg

No one will ever be able to truly replace Jerry Orbach on Law & Order, but the casting folks are definitely working in the right vein to maintain the aura of wise-cracking, seen-it-all detective if early reports are true. Apparently, Dennis Farina is in talks to join Law & Order. This is fabulous, as Dennis Farina is one of the greatest character actors around. Disregarding the stupid NBC sitcom and work-for-hire roles, his bread and butter has been portraying cops/detectives or bad guys (much like Jerry Orbach did pre-L&O), with his blunt looks (especially that broken nose) lending any story a certain grittiness. His portrayal as Lieutenant Mike Torello in the seminal 1986 cop-and-mob show, Crime Story, is one of the high watermarks of television.

Crime Story is available on DVD; the guest stars on Crime Story include Julia Roberts, Gary Sinise, Vincent Gallo, Deborah Harry, Jann Wenner, David Hyde Pierce, and Dennis Haysbert. Farina also played Special Agent Jack Crawford in Manhhunter, the un-official (and much better than the Brett Ratner version) adapatation of Silence of the Lambs prequel, Red Dragon. Michael Mann produced Crime Story and directed Manhunter; it goes without saying that Farina appeared on Miami Vice.

Gothamist on Jerry Orbach's departure from L&O (but he'll probably go to the 3rd spinoff, Trial by Jury) and Orbach's last day of filming.