‘Law & Order’ Star Jerry Orbach Loved When Real Police Officers Said One Thing to Him

by Katie Maloney

Who didn’t love actor Jerry Orbach on “Law & Order”? Orbach played New York City police detective Lennie Briscoe on “Law & Order” for 12 years before passing away in 2004. Fans absolutely loved Orbach’s portrayal of life as a man trying to uphold both law and order in bustling New York City. But diehard “Law & Order” fans weren’t the only supporters of Orbach. He also had support from actual New York City police officers. During an interview in 2004 on “Late Night” with Conan O’Brien, Orbach talked about his bond with real officers of the law.

First, O’Brien asked Orbach about his relationship with police officers.

“Real police officers treat you with a lot of respect,” said O’Brien. “They really do treat you like you’ve been on the force for 12 years rather than as an actor who’s played that part.”

Orbach agreed.

“Yea, it’s an amazing thing. They’re very sweet. The New York cops are terrific to me,” he said.

Orbach then added that there’s one thing he especially loves hearing from his police officer fans.

“And I love it when they say, ‘Keep making us look good,'” said Orbach. “So, that’s quite a compliment.”

Real Police Officers Often Gave Jerry Orbach a Ride Because of His Performance on ‘Law & Order’

But encouraging words weren’t all real-life police officers offered Orbach. When he was caught on one of those busy New York streets, trying to hail a cab, officers would often give Orbach a ride to his destination.

“And they actually sometimes give you a ride,” said O’Brien. “If you’re trying to hail a cab, they’ll give you a ride, is that true?”

The “Law & Order” actor confirmed that it was true.

“You know, I have actually had that happen,” said Orbach. “I told them that I didn’t want them to get in trouble, you know, giving me a ride.”

Orbach then shared, the police officers’ hilarious idea to keep from getting in trouble.

“And they said, ‘Well, sit in the back and keep your hands behind you, we’ll make it look like you’re a prisoner,'” said Orbach with a laugh.

Comedian Dave Chappelle just happened to be visiting the show as well and was sitting next to Orbach as he shared this story. Chappelle’s response was hilarious.

“I’ve heard that one before,” said Chapelle as the audience burst into laughter.

We wonder what Obrach’s character on the show would say about police officers giving actors free rides. Orbach continued playing Lennie Briscoe on “Law & Order” until his death in 2004. He was even slated to appear in the fourth spin-off series in the franchise, “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.” He appeared in the first two episodes of the series. Unfortunately, he passed before he could finish the season. Nevertheless, over a decade after his portrayal on the show, both fans and police officers still remember Orbach fondly today.

Jerry Orbach talked about his role on “Law & Order”