Rey Curtis

Rey Curtis
Det. Reynaldo "Rey" Curtis
Law & Order character
Rey Curtis - L&O.png
First appearance "Bitter Fruit"
Last appearance "Refugee (Part 2)"
"FED" (guest star)
Portrayed by Benjamin Bratt
Time on show 1995–1999, 2009
Preceded by Mike Logan
Succeeded by Ed Green
Partner Lennie Briscoe

Reynaldo "Rey" Curtis is a fictional character on the TV drama Law & Order, created by Ed Zuckerman and played by Benjamin Bratt from 1995 to 1999.

Character overview

Curtis is introduced as homicide detective in Manhattan's 27th Detective Squad.[1] While his predecessor, Mike Logan, was unpredictable and sometimes crossed into legal and ethical gray areas, the conservative, devoutly Catholic Curtis does his job strictly by the book, and views it in strictly black and white terms: He believes that if someone breaks the law, they deserve to go to jail, regardless of circumstances. This unwavering, moralistic work ethic initially causes a lot of friction with his partner, Lennie Briscoe.

After about a year on the job, however, Curtis' values are tested by a series of personal tragedies. Distraught after witnessing the execution of a man he helped prosecute, Curtis, who is married and has three children, cheats on his wife, Deborah, with a college student (played by Jennifer Garner).[2] For the next few years, their marriage teeters on the edge of ruin as they undergo marriage counseling. Just as they are in the process of reconciling, Deborah is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.[3] This throws his life into further disarray; he feels responsible, as if God is punishing her for his sins. It is then that he really bonds with Briscoe, a veteran of two failed marriages, and begins to soften his worldview.

By 1999, Deborah's MS has worsened considerably, to the point that she can hardly hold a toothbrush on her own. Curtis takes early retirement to care for her, [4] and is succeeded by Det. Ed Green.[5]

He returns for a brief guest appearance on the December 11, 2009 episode, "FED.", 10 years after his departure from the precinct. The episode reveals that Deborah has died due to complications of MS, and he and his daughters have returned to bury her on Long Island, where she and her family are from. The Curtis family had moved to California some years before. Curtis tells Lieutenant Anita Van Buren that Deborah died at home in his arms.


Curtis is politically conservative, disapproving of in vitro fertilization, media violence, and especially affirmative action. Curtis, who is of mestizo origin (Peruvian on his mother's side[6]) feels he has made it on his own merits and resents what he sees as the suggestion that minorities need an added advantage. He is a supporter of former New York Governor George Pataki. However, Curtis in a 1996 episode says that he likes Bob Dole, because he "guarantees four more years of Clinton".[2]

He is also considerably more computer-literate than Briscoe; his familiarity with the Internet is the linchpin in solving several cases.

While sifting through compact discs at an outdoor store, Curtis mentions that he likes the band Oasis.[2]


  1. ^ Law & Order episode "Bitter Fruit".
  2. ^ a b c Law & Order episode "Aftershock", originally aired May 22, 1996.
  3. ^ Law & Order episode "Thrill".
  4. ^ Law & Order episode "Refuge (2)".
  5. ^ Law & Order episode "Gunshow".
  6. ^ Law & Order episode "Corruption".

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