|The producers of "Law & Order" are planning a sendoff for Jerry Orbach's "Law & Order" character, Lennie Briscoe, that befits the man who played him for a dozen years.|
Orbach had filmed two episodes of the newest "L&O" series, "Trial by Jury," prior to his death Dec. 28. The episodes will be the first to air when the show debuts Thursday, March 3 and moves to its regular home the following night.
Executive producer Walon Green says Briscoe's departure from the show will mirror the way Orbach lived his last days.
"Jerry ... was somebody who kept on the job, worked until the final hour," Green says. "And that's really the way the character goes out in the show. We'll reference it in a [future] scene that refers to a memorial ceremony that was held, and it will reflect the fact that Briscoe has died."
Orbach, who received a posthumous award from the Screen Actors Guild earlier this month, worked until a few weeks before his death. Although he was weakened physically, he remained in good spirits, Green recalls.
"People had said, 'Gee, do you think he's well enough ... should we write him out of a scene?'" Green told reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour in January. "And he had objected before to ever being written out because of his illness.
"I went down to the stage to see how he was, and he was showing ['Trial by Jury' star] Bebe [Neuwirth] how to kick a cane so that it rotates up and lands on your arm, which is an old music hall trick. And I thought, 'We won't be writing this guy out of anything.'"
Orbach's second episode was originally set to air later in "Trial by Jury's" 13-episode order, but NBC and the producers decided to move it up so fans of "Law & Order" and Briscoe could see his final shows back-to-back. Green says the reference to Briscoe's death will likely come in the show's fourth or fifth episode.