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SYFY WIRE Resident Alien

Who is Lennie Briscoe? 'Resident Alien' pays hilarious homage to 'Law & Order' in SYFY's Season 2 premiere

"I've got news for you, Cosette."

By Josh Weiss
Resident Alien Jerry Orbach GETTY PRESS

We've got news for you, Cosette... Resident Alien is officially back for its second season on SYFY! But you can't move forward until you know where you've been. In an absolutely hilarious callback to Harry's arrival on Earth, Season 2 opens with our extra-terrestrial protagonist (the great Alan Tudyk) sustaining a serious head injury after his ship crashes... again. Kung! Kung!

After waking up in the hospital, Dr. Vanderspeigle has lost his memory, convinced that he is Detective Leonard "Lennie" Briscoe of the New York City Police Department and that Asta (Sara Tomko) is his prostitute informant, Cosette.

Both names should sound familiar to anyone who caught the first episode of the first season in which the newly-arrived alien watches reruns of Law & Order to hone his human speech. At one point, Harry name-drops Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) — both of whom headlined the 1999 spinoff Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Lennie Briscoe, of course, is the veteran cop played by the late Jerry Orbach over nearly 300 episodes across 12 seasons of the original Law & Order TV show that first began airing in 1990. Known for his sarcastic sense of humor, Detective Briscoe served on the NYPD for more than three decades prior to his retirement in 2004. The character was ultimately written out of the story due to Orbach's real-world passing in December that same year.

"The New York cops are terrific to me and I love it when they say, 'Keep making us look good,'"  the actor said in a 2004 interview with Conan O'Brien. "So that's quite a compliment." He went on to reveal that some officers had even given him rides across Manhattan if he was unable to hail a cab. "I told them I didn't want them to get in trouble, giving me a ride. They said, 'Well, sit in the back and keep your hands behind you — we'll make it look like you're a prisoner.'"

Cosette, on the other hand, was a one-off character (played by Colleen Clinton), who appeared in the 2003 episode "Bounty," directed by Matthew Penn and co-written by Dick Wolf and Michael S. Chernuchin.

Fun fact: Orbach was also the voice of Lumière in Disney's animated version of Beauty and the Beast.

Be our guest and check out the Season 2 premiere of Resident Alien Season 2, which is now streaming on the SYFY app and available next day on Peacock.