Ed Green

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Det. Ed Green
Law & Order character
Ed Green - L&O.png
First appearance"Gunshow"
Last appearance"Burn Card"
Portrayed byJesse L. Martin
FamilyUnnamed father
PartnerLennie Briscoe
Joe Fontana
Nina Cassady
Cyrus Lupo
Seasons10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Edward Green is a fictional character on the NBC crime drama Law & Order, created by René Balcer and portrayed by Jesse L. Martin. He appeared in 202 episodes (198 episodes of Law & Order, two episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and one episode of Law & Order: Trial by Jury).

Character overview[edit]

Ed Green is introduced as senior detective Lennie Briscoe's (Jerry Orbach) new junior partner, succeeding Rey Curtis (Benjamin Bratt).[1] Ed's willingness to bend legal rules to arrest a suspect does little to endear him to his superiors, and he initially thinks Briscoe is too old to investigate crimes effectively. Ed and Lennie have several heated disagreements about the latter's capabilities.[2] Later, however, Ed grows to trust and respect his partner, as well as tone down his unorthodox investigative methods. He and Briscoe often joke about their age difference, as well as Ed's Rolex watches and Lennie’s two failed marriages. His badge number is 3472.[3]

After they work together on the show for five years, Lennie retires, and Ed is more affected by his retirement than he expected.[4] It takes him a while to warm up to his next partner, Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina), whose style is more abrasive than Briscoe's. However, Ed eventually deflates some of the tension between Fontana and their lieutenant, Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson).[5]

Near the end of Season 15, Ed is shot in the line of duty and hospitalized for several weeks.[6] During his absence, he is replaced by Nick Falco (Michael Imperioli). The absence of Ed’s character from the show was occasioned in the real world by actor Martin's sabbatical to reprise his former Broadway depiction of Tom Collins in the motion picture version of Rent.

Ed is promoted to senior detective after Fontana retires. He is partnered with Nina Cassady (Milena Govich), over the objections of Van Buren, who thinks Cassady is too inexperienced to be a homicide detective.[7] Initially, Ed seems to have a similar opinion, but as time passes, their partnership becomes more solid and they become more relaxed and friendly with one another. Their relationship remains professional, however.

After Cassady's departure, Ed is next partnered with Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto).[8] Ed's reaction to Lupo is somewhat reserved at first, especially since the first case they work together is the suicide of Lupo's brother. Ed is opposed to Lupo's working the case at all, but Van Buren overrules him. However, after a short period of time, Ed seems to become more comfortable with Lupo as he does with his other partners. Around mid-season, Ed even takes to affectionately dubbing Lupo as "Loops".

Mid-way through Season 18, Ed is involved in a shooting that leads to his being indicted and tried, though all charges are subsequently dropped. Even though Van Buren assures him that he is welcome back on the force, Ed, unhappy with having "broken every rule in the book", decides to leave the squad.[9] Lupo is given Ed's position of senior partner, and Detective Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) of the Internal Affairs Bureau, who investigated Ed, becomes Lupo's new partner.


Green represents the L&O franchise's return to the wild, "Dirty Harry" type of character once popularized by Mike Logan (Chris Noth). Among the few personal touches made to the character are his affinity for gambling; he makes trips to Atlantic City often enough that Briscoe teases him about it. Subsequent episodes reveal that Green had stopped gambling but then fell back into it briefly after Briscoe's retirement and death.[9]

Green has occasionally mentioned that his family traveled around the world due to his father's work as an oil engineer, and that he had lived in the Middle East at some point. He has also mentioned that he grew up in a religious family and revealed that his father has Alzheimer's disease.[10] He has at least some family living in New York; in the episode "Deadlock", Van Buren recommends that Green's family be protected from an escaped convict, and he responds, "Way ahead of you. They're already upstate."[11]

Green is often a source of varied information in investigations. He speaks Spanish, some Russian—"Enough to pick up a date",[12]—and a little French,[13] and is up to date on popular culture; he appears to have a strong classical education.

He is a vegetarian, for which Briscoe often mocks him.[14]

He was a uniformed police officer in 1994.[15] He was working in the Narcotics Department in Midtown Manhattan by 1997.[16]

Character highlights[edit]

Racial issues have been connected to Green's character in some episodes. For example, when he and Briscoe investigate the shooting of a cop, they trace it to Stevie Thomas, a black boy whose brother Eric's murder was dismissed and effectively covered up by the police because he was black. Green interrogates Stevie solo at one point, speaking to him both as a cop and as a black man. He is called to testify in court, and at the end of the episode is seen reminding Van Buren that, while Eric Thomas' death creates guilt for those responsible, Eric is still dead.[17]

Another instance of racial issues connected to Green is the episode "Prejudice", wherein a racist kills a black man over a taxi. When Briscoe and Green search the suspect's apartment, Green attempts to arrest him. However, the suspect throws him off and says he will comply only for Briscoe ("Not for you; for him!").[18]

Like most other detective characters who join the series after 1993, Green carries a Glock 19 pistol as his service weapon.

Van Buren reprimands Green for getting personal while interviewing a suspect in the case of an abortion of a fetus thought to have Down syndrome. After Van Buren leaves, Green reveals to Lupo that he was once engaged to a woman who became pregnant; they ordered an amniotic test and "couldn't decide what to do". They eventually terminated the pregnancy.[19]

Awards and decorations[edit]

The following are the medals and service awards worn by Ed, as seen in "Gunplay" (season 15, episode 5).

American Flag Breast Bar.jpg American Flag Breast Bar
Mpd.jpg NYPD Meritorious Police Duty

Appearances on other TV shows[edit]

  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    • Season One
      • Episode 3: "Or Just Look Like One"
      • Episode 15: "Entitled"
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent
    • Season One
      • Episode 7: "Poison"
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury
    • Episode 8: "Skeleton"
  • Andy Barker, P.I.
    • Episode 5: "The Big No Sleep"


  1. ^ "Gunshow". Law & Order. Season 10. Episode 1. September 22, 1999.
  2. ^ "Marathon". Law & Order. Season 10. Episode 6. November 17, 1999.
  3. ^ "A Losing Season". Law & Order. Season 11. Episode 14. February 21, 2001. NBC.
  4. ^ "C.O.D.". Law & Order. Season 14. Episode 24. May 19, 2004. NBC.
  5. ^ "Paradigm". Law & Order. Season 15. Episode 1. September 22, 2004.
  6. ^ "Tombstone". Law & Order. Season 15. Episode 20. April 13, 2005.
  7. ^ "Fame". Law & Order. Season 17. Episode 1. September 22, 2006. NBC.
  8. ^ "Called Home". Law & Order. Season 18. Episode 1. January 2, 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Burn Card". Law & Order. Season 18. Episode 14. April 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "Talking Points". Law & Order. Season 17. Episode 13. February 2, 2007.
  11. ^ "Deadlock". Law & Order. Season 17. Episode 9. November 17, 2006.
  12. ^ "Fallout". Law & Order. Season 17. Episode 19. April 27, 2007.
  13. ^ "Hitman". Law & Order. Season 13. Episode 6. November 13, 2002.
  14. ^ "Slaughter". Law & Order. Season 12. Episode 19. April 10, 2002.
  15. ^ "Entitled". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 1. Episode 15. February 18, 2000. NBC.
  16. ^ "Deadlock". Law & Order. Season 17. Episode 9. November 17, 2006. NBC.
  17. ^ "Suicide Box". Law & Order. Season 13. Episode 16. March 26, 2003.
  18. ^ "Prejudice". Law & Order. Season 12. Episode 10. December 12, 2001.
  19. ^ "Misbegotten". Law & Order. Season 18. Episode 3. January 9, 2008.