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Dennis Farina gets lucky with ‘L&O’

Veteran actor, former cop gets a good break with the crime drama
/ Source: The Associated Press

Actor Dennis Farina’s luck is beginning to turn around.

The former Chicago police officer hadn’t appeared in any major projects for some time, and then was forced to withdraw from “Collateral,” the thriller starring Tom Cruise, after a car accident.

“He was starting to doubt that there was going to be anything really worthwhile on the horizon,” Chuck Adamson, a friend and retired Chicago police sergeant told The New York Times in Sunday editions.

Then, Farina was recruited to join the cast of “Law & Order,” after longtime fixture Jerry Orbach announced he was leaving to join a spinoff.

Farina says he was already a fan of the show and liked the emphasis on the crime stories rather than the characters’ personal lives. He also was not worried about competition from other crime shows like “CSI.”

“I just think ‘Law & Order’ is the gold standard,” he told The Times. “History is going to show that it’s probably one of the best series of shows that has been on television.”

On the set, Farina draws on his personal experience. During an airport scene in an upcoming episode, Farina was supposed to run through a crowd with gun drawn. As he did, he held the weapon behind his back.

“I didn’t write that,” said William Fordes, writer and co-executive producer, but “it looked just great. So I asked Dennis about it. And he says, ‘Yeah, I would never show my gun out. I don’t know who in that crowd is going to be a nut job, get spooked and pull out a gun and shoot.”