One of the things that makes Detective Lennie Briscoe the single most badassed cop on TV is how simply believable he is as a hard-nosed tough-as-shit NYPD homicide detective. He doesn't run around like a wayward idiot sprinter chasing criminals down escalators, jumping off rooftops or firing unquantifiable amounts of ammunition into unsuspecting jaywalkers like some sort of bad action movie reject - he's just a straight-forward, cynical hardass cop who makes his living by tracking leads, interrogating suspects and relying on the sort of perceptive and accurate hunches that can only come from decades of experience on the force. He's everything you would expect from the precinct's top homicide investigator; he's jaded as hell from years on the street and a one-time drinking problem, and he constantly cracks jokes about a veritable harem of angry ex-wives. His withering sarcasm and permanent grimace make him a force to be reckoned with ALL THE TIME. When he's being nice he's also a little intimidating, even when you stop to realize he was once on the receiving end of a mighty pronunciation by way of Patrick Swayze: "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!"
You can't catch Briscoe off-guard or get under his skin - he's seen everything in his years on the streets and has a smug smartass retort for anything you could throw at him. He's jaded, bitter and doesn't have time to play games or put up with peoples' bullshit. When he's out on the street he uses by-the-book police work supplemented with his own wisdom and guile to outsmart the cleverest of criminals, and when he's questioning suspects back at the precinct he knows how to get the information he wants and make the arrest, whether it's by roughing up some punk bitches or playing the "good cop" role. His dry humor often lightens up the most serious of homicide investigations, and his no-bullshit attitude commands respect from cops and criminals alike.
I know I wouldn't fuck with him.
Lennie From 'Law & Order' Says Farewell
The Lennie Briscoe One-Liners Page
Law & Order: A Coloring Book Adventure