Jerry Orbach Tours the Law and Order Set (SLYT)
February 18, 2014 3:59 AM   Subscribe

That is perfectly awesome. The attention to detail on sets like that never ceases to amaze me.
posted by jquinby at 4:20 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

I'll watch just about anything starring Jerry Orbach as himself. My love for him is nearly limitless.

I even named my cat Detective Lenny Briscoe!
posted by waterisfinite at 5:19 AM on February 18 [12 favorites]

For the first few years L&O's interior "police station" sets looked like actual, dingy, disgusting, nasty NYC municipal spaces. Then it got all plush, with mood lighting and wood paneling and super computers and such and became mimetically laughable.

I'm also always amused by their "college" sets, where humanities professors are always old, distinguished white guys who have a staff of like 9 people fielding inquiries, pushing the cops away, and secretly plotting to sell the professor's research by blackmailing him for killing coeds, or whatever. The college offices are always palatial and meticulously designed to be plush and luxurious.

posted by spitbull at 6:01 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]

I miss that guy.
posted by 4ster at 6:19 AM on February 18 [7 favorites]

Warning: he doesn't sing.

I don't understand this world where Jerry Orbach videos exist without showtunes.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 6:48 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]

Fun fact spitbull, L&O used my SO's office and classrooms all the time, but never as what they where, which where fairly utilitarian administrative offices and classrooms - they where always "Labs" or sleazy manager offices.
posted by The Whelk at 6:58 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

My interest in the show died when he died.
posted by Renoroc at 7:08 AM on February 18

My favorite part of any stage/screen tour is when you go behind a perfectly detailed, realistic-looking set and see plywood and 2X4s. It's part of why I love to do theater. I love being behind a false wall that an audience has been entirely convinced is real. It's kind of magical.
posted by xingcat at 7:09 AM on February 18 [4 favorites]

Missing the "dun-dun" tag.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:22 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]

My hate for Dirty Dancing clouded my judgment on Jerry Orbach for far too long. I miss watching him on L&O.
posted by Silvertree at 8:17 AM on February 18

Crazy to think that video is ten years old. I miss L&O.
posted by HiddenInput at 8:20 AM on February 18

> For the first few years L&O's interior "police station" sets...

5-6 years ago I stumbled across a re-run from the first season of Law & Order. The sets were, as you say, dirtier and messier. Not everyone was beautiful, and the beautiful cast members weren't quite as beautiful. It also seemed looked like the sets were busier then, as if they had been doing more location shots.

I'm pretty sure I had watched L&O back then, but the sleek later version had completely eclipsed my memories of the earlier seasons.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:39 AM on February 18

I always enjoy Jerry Orbach's relaxed, sincere charm. (Miss you, Jerry!) And it's interesting to get that subconscious feeling of how he's so Jerry there, Jerry-the-actor, not Lenny Briscoe--even though Briscoe is a realistic/naturalistic and unshowy bit of acting, there are so many subtle things about him that set him apart as not-Jerry.

I noticed a few things on the walls, right outside and also inside Jesse Martin's dressing room, that seemed to be blurred out--any sense of what kinds of things those might have been? NSFW things? Or if not, what other types of stuff would a behind-the-scenes NBC/Universal promo piece need to blur out? Ads for other things that don't belong to them??
posted by theatro at 8:50 AM on February 18

*comments on post while continuing to perform job-related task*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:04 AM on February 18 [3 favorites]

Lenny Briscoe one-liners.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

I even named my cat Detective Lenny Briscoe!

I also know of a pair of cats who were named Briscoe and Logan. Great minds, etc.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Reading up on his funeral and eulogies delivered, I was touched when it was mentioned how he'd be in a scene with a terrified day player who was playing some minor character, and they were forgetting their lines, and Jerry would whisper the lines to them.
posted by jscott at 9:37 AM on February 18 [5 favorites]

He wrote a poem to his wife every day.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 AM on February 18 [7 favorites]

Okay, let me be first to endorse Chrysostom's link as being "freakin' adorable."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on February 18

I'm binge watching L&O:CI and the one thing it needs is Jerry Orbach.
Yes, I know he wasn't in CI but all L&O needs more Jerry Orbach.

Miss you, Jerry.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 10:56 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]

as if they had been doing more location shots.

The whole Law & Order franchise is extremely location-heavy.

The precinct is a set, the DA's offices are a set, and there are also standing Riker's Island and courthouse sets (because shooting on location in a prison or a courthouse is very impractical). There would also be one or two "swing" sets for any given episode.

When I worked on CI, we were 5 days out and 3 days in, which gives you a sense of how much was shot on location.

If anything, what may have changed over the years might have been that they went on location more. My sense of 90s TV is that a lot of shows didn't ever go on location at all.
posted by Sara C. at 12:28 PM on February 18

The video in the FPP states they originally filmed the courtroom scene at an actual courthouse, and later built a set.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:41 PM on February 18

Yeah, that's how it usually goes down.

I did a pilot for a law firm oriented series, and we shot the courtroom in the pilot on location. Had to shoot on a Saturday*, super sensitive and difficult location, and not cheap. When the show went to series they almost certainly either built a standing courtroom set or found one that could be rented as needed.

When I worked on CI, we used "the mothership's" coutroom set as a matter of course. SVU came across the river from Jersey to use that set as well (and that's now their home base). After CI ended, the Prime Suspect pilot used the Major Case Squad precinct offices and probably also that same L&O courtroom, prison, etc. we all relied on over the years.

For a long time I was sure that Brooklyn 99 was shooting in New York in that same space.

*I think in Los Angeles there are a few disused courtrooms that can be used as locations on a weekday, but in New York this is not the case.
posted by Sara C. at 1:23 PM on February 18

I'll also say that the most fun I ever had in the art department of any show was doing the research to build a replica of an existing place as a standing set.

much screencaps

very detail

so wallpaper sample book
posted by Sara C. at 1:26 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

"We'll leave them to their dark designs."
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:35 PM on February 18

Brush-with-fame name-droppy filter - I went to the same acting studio in college with Jesse Martin and can attest he is indeed just as friendly and adorable as he comes across in this clip. We never were in the same class, only just saw each other passing in the hallways of the acting studio, but that was reason enough for him to always give me a big smile and say "Hey, how ya doin'?" whenever he saw me anywhere else on campus.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:01 PM on February 18

The Whelk, yeah they shot on my campus too. But they did things like make the palatial, ornate, gilded main room of a rare books library into a professor's "office" peopled by his busy "staff" of model/actress/PhD students.

At the time I inhabited a windowless attic cell, myself. (I'm back in the attic after finishing my term in the corner office, but now I merit a window, at least.)

Also I don't think L&O ever portrayed a professor who wasn't an evil sleazeball hooking up with half his students. I imagine they don't do any better with other occupational archetypes. I'm damn sure their portrayals of nurses and doctors were ridiculous.

Random observation: did you ever notice how every interrogatory conversation btwn the cops and a suspect on any L&O flavor that does not occur in a station house room always ends with the suspect declining to talk any more and walking briskly away (or insisting the cops leave). Do you know anyone who would turn on their heel and walk away from an NYPD detective interrogating you about a crime to which you have any even peripheral connection? Doesn't matter whether it's a drifter or a CEO.

Also, it's always the evil mother's fault. There is always an evil mother somewhere in the plot. Dick Wolf must hate mothers almost as much as he hates professors.

My retrospective take on the show, to which I was as addicted as anyone else once, is that it was a terribly right wing operation, in the worst tradition of glorifying police brutality and exceptionalism and vastly exaggerating the capacities of the state. Looking back I now find that show to be fascist.
posted by spitbull at 5:51 PM on February 18

The real lesson of Law & Order is that all human beings who are not that particular episode's detectives and ADAs are shit.

There is always an evil mother somewhere in the plot.

If you're ever watching Law & Order and there's a woman in the episode who is not part of the detective/ADA team, and who is not the murder victim, and who has more than like 2 lines, she's probably the baddie. It's really an incredibly misogynistic show, if you start watching and analyzing.

And, spitbull, having worked on it and read scripts year in and year out for a lot of my 20's, you're spot on about the fascism thing. I have so many personal conspiracy theories that involve police procedural TV shows.
posted by Sara C. at 6:01 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

There is always an evil mother somewhere in the plot.

It's just like an Agatha Christie novel, where the murderer was always the lowest class character in the room. If it doesn't initially appear that the murderer was of a lower class, it turns out that they were actually a lower class person in disguise (or an illegitimate child).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:04 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Or if not, what other types of stuff would a behind-the-scenes NBC/Universal promo piece need to blur out? Ads for other things that don't belong to them??

They were probably just standard, ordinary pieces of wall art/posters, and they figured it was easier to blur them out than go to the trouble of obtaining the necessary clearances. I don't pretend to know a lot about the topic, but as I understand it, anything that's part of a set and intended to be in front of the camera will either have been taken from a stockpile of hassle-free pre-licensed material, or created in-house, so that nobody has to worry about such things during production. (Or in the rare case that the script calls for a certain work specifically, rights will be negotiated.) But random things found in the backstage production offices wouldn't necessarily have been cleared and would have needed to be blurred.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:18 PM on February 18 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for posting this. I love Jerry Orbach and L&O will always have a dear place in my heart.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:33 PM on February 18

Man, every time I forget that Jerry Orbach is dead and obviously they're going to bring him back to have a do-over of the entire L&O series, something like this comes up and I get a sad.

Broadway should dim their lights for him every year.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on February 19

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