The cops and lawyers of “Law & Order” mostly spent their time in the precinct, or courtrooms or various businesses. But occasionally, they’d run into a witness who was walking their dog. And I distinctly remember Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) stopping to pet every pup he met during an investigation.
Thanks to reruns on Sundance Channel and WE, I’ve been bingeing the Ed Green episodes. Sure enough, there was Ed with a dog in the 2000 episode “Fools for Love.”
As he and partner Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) talk to an older woman, Ed lights up as he sees the woman’s little dog. He pets the pooch as she holds it her arms, one bright spot in the middle of what ends up being a particularly unpleasant case. (You may remember Ellen Pompeo as the heartless woman who stood by while her boyfriend killed her sister.)
As I watched more episodes (I rewatched about 30 eps), I saw Ed handing out fist-bumps and hugs to fellow cops and friends, but no more dog encounters.
But what I didn’t realize is that the detective who’s there to pet all the animals is Lennie. In the 2000 episode “Turnstile Justice,” Briscoe and Green’s investigation takes them to a halfway house. One of the residents is holding a cat, which Briscoe reaches out to skritch the obliging kitty.
And then there’s the 2003 episode “Sheltered,” in which an abducted teen (Sebastian Stan) ends up being the sniper who shot four people. As they talk to Anna Rodriguez (Socorro Santiago), the wife of a victim, Lennie pets her chihuahua. Which looks a lot like the dog in “Turnstile Justice.” It even seems to be wearing the same fleece jacket. Perhaps it was one of the cast or crew’s pet?
But what really seals the deal for Lennie being the biggest animal lover? The 2004 episode “Payback.” When a man is killed at a horse stable, Briscoe and Green question two stable workers. Lennie strokes the horse’s nose as they talk and the woman tells him, “Gracie don’t like most folks. Looks like she’s taken a shine to you.”
Lennie, always quick with a self-deprecating quip, says, “So much for horse sense.”
In real life, Orbach was a big animal rights activist. In 2001, he narrated a Fund for Animals PSA against “canned hunts.” And when he passed away in 2005, sales of the book by his widow, Elaine, “How I Love You – Love Letters from an Extraordinary Marriage” benefited animal welfare organization Bideawee.
Today, Martin costars on “The Flash,” and is still hanging with the dogs. Costar Grant Gustin shared these photos of Martin with his pups on the set.
As for the other “Law & Order” characters, Detective Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) had a dog. (Perhaps a later post on that?) And Serena Southerlyn (Elisabeth Röhm) mentions during the 2003 episode “Patient Zero,” “I wish my dog were as loyal” as a too-devoted wife to a murder suspect.
The investigation continues!