After spending 18 years as a Chicago police officer, actor Dennis Farina ironically earned a career onscreen playing supporting roles as criminals and mobsters, often to great comedic effect. Farina made his debut with a small part as a henchman in Michael Mann's crime thriller "Thief" (1981), which led to joining the Chicago theater scene that included a stint at the Steppenwolf Theater alongside the likes of Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. Following an acclaimed, but short-lived stint as a cop on "Crime Story" (NBC, 1986-88), he landed a higher-profile supporting role in "Manhunter" (1986), the first of several serial-killer movies featuring Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox). From there, he delivered strong performances in a series of television movies and feature films until finally breaking out with an uproarious turn as self-serious Miami crime boss Ray Barboni in the surprise hit "Get Shorty" (1995). Now on Hollywood's radar, Farina had memorable turns in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) and "Out of Sight" (1998) before landing his own drama series, the unfortunately short-lived "Buddy Faro" (CBS, 1998). He returned to series television some years later to replace Jerry Orbach on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), while continuing to dazzle in a wide array of supporting roles in features. These diverse film and television parts marked Farina, who died in 2013, as being one of the most highly prized character actors working in the business.