LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - NBC's "Law & Order" was strong before Jerry Orbach and it will probably be strong without Jerry Orbach, but that doesn't mean that fans of the long-running series won't really miss Detective Lennie Briscoe when he's gone.
After 12 years on the beat, Orbach will reportedly depart Dick Wolf's venerable crime drama at the end of the season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Orbach is preparing to join the ranks of George Dzundza, Paul Sorvino, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Moriarty, Chris Noth, Angie Harmon, Carey Lowell and Jill Hennessy in the rogue's gallery of lamented former "Law & Order" stars.
Of course, every time an "L&O" star leaves, another rises up to take their place. Although Orbach has the most seniority of any cast member, joining the club in 1992, S. Epatha Merkerson (member since 1993) and Sam Waterston (member since 1994) remain in place. Jesse L. Martin (member since 1999) and Elisabeth Rohm (member since 2001) are also still around under further notice.
While Orbach may be leaving the mothership, the possibility remains that his character might return for the recently announced fourth installment of the franchise, "Law & Order: Trial by Jury," which may incorporate familiar faces from several of the "L&O" shows.
Orbach earned his only "Law & Order" Emmy nomination in 2000. The Broadway vet's other notable credits include "Dirty Dancing" and voice work on the animated "Beauty and the Beast."