Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Farina out of "Law & Order"

With NBC's "Law & Order" almost as indestructible as the crazy knight screaming about his "flesh wound" in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," it really doesn't seem to matter to viewers who's in the lead roles.

The just-announced departure of Dennis Farina, along with a move from Wednesday to Friday nights, will test that theory to the max.

Personally, I can only take Farina in small bits, so this isn't terribly bad news. In a move that's certainly at least easier on the eyes, NBC will replace him with Milena Govich, who has guest-starred on "L&O" before and also appeared on Dick Wolf's "Conviction."

It's unclear exactly what role she will play, but it will be on the "Order" side like Farina, and she will most likely be the new partner for Jesse L. Martin's Ed Green.

Martin is my favorite of the current "L&O" crop, and he has really taken over the role of Det. Green in his seven years or so on the show.

If I had to pick a dream lineup though, for me it came in 1994-95: The late, great Jerry Orbach and "Mr. Big" Chris Noth on the "Order" side, and Sam Waterston and Jill Hennessy fighting for the "Law."

"Homicide" was hands-down the best cop show of all time, but Jerry Orbach's Lenny Briscoe was easily the coolest cop on TV. He is sorely missed by many more people than me. Waterston is just fun to watch full of bluster in the courtroom, and though Angie Harmon certainly has her partisans, I just though Hennessy was his perfect counterpoint. And though Benjamin Bratt was OK, Noth and Orbach had a natural repartee that was much more believable. Anyone care to share their perfect combo? Feel free, please.

Farina's exit follows the already-announced departure of Annie Parisse, who had played Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Borgia on the "Law" side since January 2005.

More important than all this, however, may be the move to the Friday night graveyard. I mean, really, does anyone watch TV on Friday night? I watch way too much, and even I don't.

Is this the end for Dick Wolf's mothership? Don't bet on it, but it may be in sight sooner than we think.


EmmaJ said...

I haven't watched the original L&O for quite a while, after being completely enraptured by the far more interesting Criminal Intent. I think Jerry Orbach's Lenny Briscoe was definitely the best character on the show- he was the quintessential New Yorker, and no one since has really been able to measure up to that. I have to say my favorite match-up was him and Jesse L. Martin- there was something absolutely perfect about the combination of Briscoe's working-class gumshoe personality and Ed Green's class.

carrie_lofty said...

Never been a fan of L&O, but you got it right about "Homicide". I recently gave props to Good Night, and Good Luck because - in addition to being a solid, entertaining and politically astute film - it featured a small role for Reed Diamond (Kellerman). Yay!

Reel Fanatic said...

Sorry I haven't gotten to you about your impressions of "Last Stand," Salome, but I promise I will! ... I loved "Good Night and Good Luck" ... And I agree with you, Emmaj, that Criminal Intent is a quality show, and Jesse L. Martin is a class act

1031 said...

"Homicide" was hands-down the best cop show of all time...

Hell yeah. Thank you for pointing this out. I get into a fight at least once a year with Brian Bendis (comic book writer for those not in the know) about this. He used to feel the same way, but now he's all, "The Shield is the best cop show ever." Feh, I say. Nothing tops Homicide.

And I hadn't heard that Farina was leaving L&O. That's too bad. I haven't watched the show very often the past few years (because it's always on, but I've always liked Farina. He was great in Out of Sight.

You're right, though, Lenny was the best.

(Once The Sopranos is done, they should bring Imperioli back as a regular cast member.)

(And thanks for the kind words about my X-Men review. It is much appreciated.)

Reel Fanatic said...

Imperioli would be fantastic, as he has proven on L&O already .. great idea

Vasta said...

Friday night is where TV shows go to die. This may be L&O's final hurrah, unless it picks up some Emmy Awards or something. Of course, we all knew it was coming after Orbach passed away. He was the heart and soul of the show (though I am a fan of Noth and Martin as well).

If they cancel L&O, they're still going to keep SVU on the air, right? I sure hope so.

themarina said...

I have to agree that my favourite pairing is Orbach and Noth. I haven't watched as much L&O over the last few years but I do catch an episode here and there and it just doesn't take me in as much as it used to.

Lotta said...

"Homicide" was hands-down the best cop show of all time"

no question.

LaReinaCobre said...

Good god, another Homicide fan here! I even went to Baltimore (to visit a family friend) and had to stop at Fell's Point and get my photo taken on the steps of the police station. Best cop show ever, and one of the best shows ever, period.

Your favorite lineup matches mine; I am a fan of Jesse L Martin, too, though. Parisse hasn't grown on me much, but I don't watch the show regularly these days. Farina's character I don't care for much. I'm just not feeling him. He doesn't matter to me.

Haha - yes, anything with Reed Diamond is good. What happened to some of those other guys? I really miss them. Andre Braugher's got that new show on cable that's supposed to be really good (Thief?); I don't have cable.

Well, I am rambling. Good stuff here!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Lareinacobre ... I have watched and enjoyed "Thief," mostly to see Andre Braugher .. It would be well worth checking out on DVD

Tony Kay said...

HAY-ull, yeah re: Homicide's unquestionable (and, sadly,way unsung) greatness. As for fave combos on the unsinkable Dick Wolf juggernaut,I'm still a Briscoe/Green guy when it comes to the L&O tagteams.

Thanks for peeking at my Doug McClure Blog, BTW. Glad you liked it.


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