Skeet Ulrich’s Detective Rex Winters headed to the big procedural in the sky on last night’s Law & Order: Los Angeles, joining a surprisingly small number of L&O-franchise characters to have died: George Dzundza’s Sergeant Max Greevey way back in 1991 didn’t make it to the original series’ second season; Jill Hennessy’s ADA Claire Kincaid died in 1996; Annie Parisse’s Alexandra Borgia was killed off in 2006; and Eric Bogosian’s Danny Ross was murdered on Criminal Intent in 2010. That’s only four characters over four different series and 43 combined seasons — which is incredibly low. Every CSI franchise has killed off at least one major character (combined 27 seasons), and compared to, oh, NYPD Blue, where characters died with alarming regularity, Dick Wolf is running some kind of character-immortality factory. Which isn’t to say characters don’t leave Law & Order shows. They do. In droves! Serena Southerlyn’s “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” farewell line might have been ridiculous and frustrating, but it sure beats sighing to death while Teri Polo gives you weak, bendy-armed CPR. Lock those elbows, Teri!
But even competent first aid wouldn’t have been enough for poor Rex Winters. This is what happens when you cross a Mexican drug lord/fail to launch a franchise spinoff effectively: You get shot in a drive-by.