Little is known about Lemansky outside of his job as a Strike Team member, although his surname is of Polish origin. In one of the series DVD commentaries, Michael Chiklis mentioned that all the characters are from the same areas the actors are from, implying that Lemansky was originally from New Haven, Connecticut. His tombstone, shown in season five, indicates he was born in 1963. Ronnie implies in season five that Lem's parents are "trailer trash" - very poor people who live in trailers or mobile homes.
Lem was the moral compass of the Strike Team. A good-natured detective, he was recruited after being vouched for by his good friend, Detective Shane Vendrell. His main mode of transport when off-duty is a low-rider motorcycle or 'chopper' and he is active in arm wrestling tournaments. Well-liked by many for his loyal and selfless personality, his recruitment into the task force was to be the 'muscle' of the Strike Team. Despite this, Lem and teammate, Detective Ronnie Gardocki were not included in the plot to kill Detective Terry Crowley, due to Lem's conscientious nature. Upon hearing of Terry's death, a visibly distraught Lem shouted, "No!" and punched through a van window, severely lacerating his right fist.
Lem further showed his strong convictions later in the first season in the episode Throwaway, which showcased Lem's strong sense of morality, his willingness to help others and his need to do the right thing, which sometimes got under Vic and Shane's skin.
In his time in the Strike Team, Lem found himself increasingly troubled by the illegal activities the Strike Team engaged in and he was constantly getting dragged into. He was the first to object to the plan to rob the Armenian mob's money laundering operation, nicknamed 'The Armenian Money Train' or 'Money Train' but reluctantly went along with the decision for the sake of team unity.
Lem was also highly empathetic and spurred into action whenever he saw human or animal suffering. He has often been seen performing CPR on blood and vomit covered victims while the rest of his team members look on disgustedly. Highly fond of animals, he's often seen playing with them, whether cockerels saved from a cockfight or a suspect's pet pit bull. Once when raiding a suspect's house, he was visibly distraught and upset with fellow team member, Shane, for shooting and killing a pit bull terrier. Despite being a 'dirty cop', Lem was a genuinely caring person and even joined the Youth Authority to help wayward juveniles after the Strike Team was disbanded at the end of Season Three. Even when on the run, the events that led him to eventually being killed stemmed from him trying to comfort an injured child, which resulted in his cover being blown and his hiding place discovered.
Lem's empathetic nature to aid people or animals in suffering and his steadfast loyalty to the Strike Team is his defining point. He was willing to protect them at the cost of his own freedom and career. Lem had stated on many occasions that he considered the Strike Team to be his 'family' and it was the sole reason why he put aside his moral objections and joined in on the team's various illegal schemes. It was all to preserve team unity and maintain harmony with his 'brothers.'
One example of the above was when Lt. Jon Kavanaugh of Internal Affairs tried to coerce Lem to rat on the Strike Team. Lem replied "You're asking me to betray my family" and steadfastly refused to budge from his decision. Kavanaugh himself expressed admiration for Lem’s loyalty and steadfastness. A day before Lem was to be imprisoned, Kavanaugh showed up at his doorstep to have a final chat with him. Saying, "...you weren’t supposed to get the worst of this thing here," Kavanaugh voiced his regret that Lem was the one who ended up being the most affected by his inquiry into the Strike Team. It wasn’t how Kavanaugh had planned it. He merely planned to scare Lem with the threat of jail so he could use it as a ‘wedge’ to get him to rat on the Strike Team because, "...cops always give it up at the threat of jail… always. But not you, not Curtis Lemansky.” Then, expressing regret that, “...we didn’t become friends sooner", Kavanaugh struggles inwardly and vocalizes that, "...maybe, uh, I’d pull this in another direction if I’d just… I’d just made a..."
Then, regaining his composure, Kavanaugh extends his hand to Lem and says, "...any man’d be lucky to have you in his corner." After a long pregnant pause, Lem reaches out and grasps Kavanaugh's hand and Kavanaugh leaves after wishing Lem good luck and telling him to take care of himself.
Though his character is morally conflicted, there are numerous examples of Lem's willingness, even eagerness to bend or break the law in the best interests of the team. His agreement with the decision to kill Armenian hitman Margos Dezerian, his involvement in the murder of Armadillo Quintero, and the set-up of Hector Estanza are but a few.
As the point man for the Strike Team, Lem is the vanguard during an assault scenario. He leads the team in and clears the room of possible assailants. Due to his role as the lead person during an assault scenario, he is equipped with a shotgun as his primary firearm.
Before Season 1Edit
Lem was brought to the Strike Team by Detective Shane Vendrell, who vouched for him to Vic Mackey. When they first met, Mackey told him and Ronnie Gardocki to familiarize themselves with the Farmington neighborhood. Their first job was a drive-by shooting allegedly by drug dealer Lionel Phipps.
Lem, Ronnie, Vic, Shane and Terry Crowley (the team's newest member) raided a house, belonging to drug dealer Two-Time. Lem went through the window behind Ronnie and pursued Two-Time's girlfriend, while Vic, Shane and Terry searched the house for Two-Time. A shootout erupts between Vic, Shane and Two-Time, and ends with Two-Time getting killed in the process. Vic then picked up Two-Time's gun and shot Terry in the face, killing him. Vic and Shane then lied to Lem and Ronnie that Two-Time had shot Terry and there was nothing that could be done to prevent it, while in reality Vic and Shane (after being informed by Ben Gilroy) had plotted to kill Terry due to the fact that he was an informant for David Aceveda. When he found out about Crowley's death, Lem broke a van's windshield with his fist. According to himself and Mackey's testimony to Internal Affairs, they failed to clear the room which resulted in Two-Time killing Detective Crowley. He was interrogated by IAD Agent Frances Housely, like the rest of the Strike Team.
When the Strike Team busted basketball player Derrick Tripp, Ronnie, Lem, and Shane were in charge of keeping him under custody. Lem and Ronnie even brought some basketballs for him to sign, while they placed bets on the game knowing that Tripp's team would lose without him.
Several nights later, Lem and Danny Sofer were giving security at Chez Club during the album release party of Kern Little. When a shooting ensued, Lem and Vic Mackey started working the case. He went with Mackey to interrogate suspects Rondell Robinson and Kern Little. When Mackey decided to end the war between T-Bonz and Kern, Lem helped him to trap the two inside a freight container. The next morning, when they checked them out they found out Kern had killed T-Bonz. Lem tried to help cover the evidence at the place, but Kern assured him that his people would deal with it.
Some days later, Vic and Ronnie broke in the house of a member of the Armenian Mafia to put a wiretap while Lem and Shane waited in the car. Shane explained to Lem that they wanted to hear details about a drug deal with the intention of taking some of it, give it to Rondell Robinson and earn some money for their "retirement fund". When Ronnie and Vic got out, they met with Shane and Lem. They then heard a conversation between the Armenians, but they couldn't understand it.
After Vic and Shane found someone to translate, they convinced someone to make a fake statement to justify a search warrant in the house. Lem was present during the raid when they arrested Margos Dezerian and two other associates. As they were cleaning up, Lem and the rest of the Strike Team kept two bricks of cocaine to themselves while delivering the rest. Lem and the team later found out that someone had stolen the Lincoln Navigator where Shane had hidden the bricks of cocaine. After Vic got information that a guy called Freddie had taken the cocaine, Ronnie and the Strike Team broke into his house only to find him dead from an overdose. As Aceveda got in, they quickly cleaned the evidence and took the two bricks of cocaine.
Some time later, when Sally Struthers was found dead, Vic and the Strike Team went to look for clues on the murderer. Ronnie and the team went into a restaurant where they found drug dealer Sam and asked him about Sally. After he gave them some information about a night club that she worked at, Vic went in to check it out. After seeing what happened inside, the Strike Team raided the club. Back at the Barn, Vic asked Lem to check out some "Cherry Popper" films they found at the club, to see if anyone featured Sally Struthers. When he found one, he called Vic.
Lem and Ronnie dealt with a truck hijack a couple of days later. When they questioned the truck driver, he described the tattoos that the main robber had. Lem and Ronnie realized it was a gang hit from Los Mags and decided to call Vic, who had the day off. After one of Vic's informant told him the tattoo belonged to a man called Hector Estanza, Vic and the Strike Team staked out the house of his ex-girlfriend, Tigre Orozco. When they saw a young man coming inside the house, they assumed it was Hector and broke in. The man quickly tried to escape through the backyard, and Lem and Vic went after him. During the pursuit, Lem thought the man was drawing a gun to shoot at Vic, so Lem shot him first. When they realized he didn't have a gun, Vic planted a gun on him. As they were taking him on an ambulance, they all realized the man was Tigre's brother and not Hector.
After that, Lem went to the hospital to get a statement from Tigre. When he asked her about her brother and Los Mags, she told him that Chaco had left the gang three years ago. She also told him that Chaco was protecting her from Hector. To verify her statement, Lem contacted Chaco's parole officer, Brian Holbert. When he arrived at the Barn, Lem asked him about Chaco. Brian told him that Chaco was one of his best parolees and that he had indeed stayed out of trouble for the past years. Lem told what he had found to Vic and Ronnie and they decided to talk to Chaco. In the hospital, Chaco explained to them why he had run from them and how he was trying to protect Tigre. He also told them that this would be his "third strike" to his parole.
As they went out, they started pondering how to fix what they had done to Chaco. Vic told Lem to watch over Tigre, while he and Ronnie staked out Hector Estanza's house. At Tigre's house, Lem assured her that he would protect her. However, when Tigre showed her a scar that Hector had left on her torso, he got so angry that he rode his motorcycle to Hector's house to fight with him. As he started beating him up, Vic and Ronnie ran to help and managed to held Hector's men who had just drawn their guns. After they surrendered their guns and left, Vic blasted Lem for ruining their stakeout. After he returned to Tigre's house, she healed the wounds on his fists. As she did it, Lem felt guilty for what was happening and confessed to her that he was the one that shot Chaco. Tigre got angry at him and threw him out of the house.
While Ronnie and Vic tried to get the planted gun out of the evidence room, Lem convinced Tigre to go to a hotel to be safe from Hector's men and took her to the Roadside Inn. When Vic told Lem that they couldn't get the gun, they agreed to hijack the evidence truck as it left to get the gun. To distract Hector and his men, Lem went to his house. When one of Hector's men came out, Lem challenged them to a fight that night. Vato agreed and Lem left. After that, they hijacked the evidence van and while Vic held the driver down, Lem found the gun in the back of the truck. After tagging the van with Los Mags initials, they left. As the police arrived to investigate the hijack, Lem and the Strike Team pretended not to know anything. When the driver misidentified Hector as the main attacker, Vic asked Captain Aceveda for a warrant to search his house and arrest him. After Aceveda authorized them, they went to Hector's house. As they rounded him and his men, he claimed they wouldn't find anything. However, Lem planted the gun and presented it as evidence for Hector's arrest.
That night, Lem went to Tigre's house to tell her that everything would be alright now. After she thanked him, Lem felt guilty again and finally confessed that they had also planted the gun on Chaco. She started kissing him and thanked him for fixing his mistake.
Some time later, the Strike Team was investigating a series of muggings outside a strip club that might involve the dancers inside. To lure the muggers, each of the members of the Team took turns going inside to receive a private lap dance and see which one might try to assault them. After Detective Vic Mackey's turn, he returned to the van and Lem and the guys joked about how he had pleased the dancer. After Vic left to check out on Connie Riesler, Ronnie went in. As the dancer was trying to seduce him, Lem and Shane heard how he got nervous and wasn't impressing the dancer. Because of this, Shane went to take his place. As Ronnie was justifying himself with Lem, they heard Shane being taken outside by the dancer. Suddenly, they heard Shane being attacked by someone. Lem and Ronnie ran to help him and found Carl trying to rob him. They then arrested both of them.
Back at the Barn, Shane commented to Lem that he felt the stripper might be attracted to him for the way she touched him. Lem tried to convince him that it was probably nothing, considering what she was doing. While Shane interrogated Tulips, Lem interrogated Carl. When Vic stopped by the Barn for a moment, they couldn't agree on who was the mastermind of the muggings. As Shane went back to Tulips, Lem interviewed all the dancers again and they all agreed that Tulips was responsible for the muggings, and not Carl, as she wanted Shane to believe. Unfortunately, Shane had sex with her while in the interrogation room and she threatened to blackmail him with that to get a deal.
Meanwhile, Lem and Shane went up to see Dutch Wagenbach interrogating Sean Taylor, a suspect of being a serial killer. Although everyone felt that Taylor had the upper-hand against Dutch, he eventually proved him that he was the killer of several prostitutes and made him confess. Lem and the rest of the officers were surprised by Dutch and as he walked out of the room, they congratulated him. When they went back down, Vic made fun of the way Shane had handled their case, while Shane made fun of Lem's relationship with Tigre. When Connie Riesler went to the Barn after her drug relapse, Lem was holding her son Brian, while Vic talked to her. He then gave the baby to Vic who was about to return him to Connie, but she decided to leave him on foster care.
Some time later, Lem and the Strike Team organized a raid on the property of Gabo, a cockfight runner, to capture a gun dealer called Cethru. After they apprehended him, Lem saw the roosters Gabo had in cages and told Vic how sorry he felt for them knowing they'd be killed. After being arrested, Gabo offered them a bigger gun dealer called Pazi Arambula. Vic agreed and started setting a plan with Shane and Lem to go undercover in the cockfight circle to capture him.
When Ben Gilroy appeared after being involved in a "Hit-and-Run", Vic asked Lem to drive Gilroy home, while he had his car fixed. Later, Lem accompanied Shane to Gabo's backyard where he would teach them anything they had to know about the birds to go undercover. When they returned to the Barn, Shane met with a bounty-hunter called Jojo Rizal, and introduced him to Lem. When Shane told Lem that he wanted to hand Pazi to Jojo to collect half of his fee, Lem got angry at him for trying to scam money out of the situation.
Shane and Lem then went to the Dos Dias de Sangre cockfighting festival, where they would meet with Pazi. After Shane's rooster won the first fight, he told Lem that Pazi hadn't come, but that Gabo had told him he'll come tomorrow. The next day, after Shane met Pazi and where about to trade roosters for guns, Shane tried to get Pazi unconscious. However, Pazi overpowered him and drew a gun on him, until Lem appeared to arrest him. However, as Lem was cuffing him, Shane knocked him out with a wood stick. When Shane told Lem he was still planning to scam the money from the bounty, Lem got angry again. After Jojo took Pazi, Shane gave Lem a cut of $10,000. Reluctantly, Lem took the money, but asked Shane not to do it again.
When they were returning to the Barn, Vic called Lem and Shane and asked them to check out if Gilroy's mistress was staying at a motel called Gardner Bungalows on Sunset. When they arrived, they found out she never checked in. They went to the Barn and told Vic what they had found. As they were wondering what to do with him, Corrine called Vic and told him Ben was at their home waiting for him. Knowing that Ben wanted to threaten him for what he knew, they all went to Vic's house. When they arrived, Ben had already left.
The money train
Lem was involved in the money train robbery and was the member of the Strike Team most fearful for their safety after the robbery was completed. He began to behave in an extremely paranoid way, particularly after it was discovered that some of the money was not only marked, but had been released back into circulation. Though he did mellow a bit when the money was purged of marked notes and a known criminal named Neil O'Brien given some of the tagged money, Lem's terror reached new heights when O'Brien was found murdered and the team was forced to dispose of his body.
Lem began voicing his concerns to his fellow Strike Team members, which led to a dramatic moment where Lem, without any warning, leaned over and began vomiting blood out of his mouth. Shocked, Lem confessed that the stress of hiding the money train loot and the group's various morally questionable actions had resulted in his developing potentially fatal ulcer problems. While Ronnie and Vic realized the severity of Lem's health problems and wisely backed off from attacking him for his critical comments, Shane refused to show concern for Lem and angrily attacked him for being scared.
However, when it was discovered that the Armenian mob had their identities and photos, Lem stole the remaining cash from the money train and burnt most of it, believing that he was protecting the team. Lem, as it turned out, believed that so long as the Strike Team possessed the money, the group would forever be hounded by those parties looking for the stolen loot. Lem's decision ultimately was the breaking point for his friendship with Shane Vendrell.
Shane refused Vic's attempt at a reconciliation with the team and Shane and accused Vic and Ronnie of hating Lem as much as he did. Lem quit the group as a direct result and this triggered a confrontation between Shane and Vic that led to the Strike Team dissolving.
Return to the barnEdit
After the team was broken up, Lem transferred to a different agency and began to work with juvenile offenders. However, he soon found himself missing his friends Vic and Ronnie. It was heavily implied that the two had came to a sort of understanding with Lem regarding his departure from the Strike Team after Shane's antics. As a result, Vic and Ronnie contacted Lem and revealed to him that Shane seemed to have developed a relationship with one-niner drug and gang lord Antwon Mitchell and that the entire team was at risk if Shane used the team to bargain a deal should he get caught by IAD. Afterwards, Lem began to pass relevant information to Vic that he obtained via his contacts with various juvenile offenders to ensure that Vic could stay informed to Shane's actions. Ultimately Vic convinced Lem to work with him in the newly reformed Strike Team in order to keep closer tabs on Shane, which created conflict with Lem since this meant that he would be unable to transfer back to the Barn due to the animosity still between him and Shane.
Things came to a head when Lem came up with information that led to a massive drug bust, severely crippling Mitchell's business. When his 14-year-old informant Angie suddenly went missing after having provided information that led to the bust, Lem became immediately suspicious of Shane. He openly accused both Shane and Vic of working for Mitchell and being responsible for Angie's death. In order to prove himself, Vic let Lem back into his inner circle and arranged for his transfer back to the Barn. Vic also revealed some incriminating footage from a bug planted in Shane's car; this showed how he knew of an earlier confrontation between Shane and Lem that ended with Shane, once Lem had left camera range, openly lamenting the fact that the two former best friends had turned into mortal enemies.
Theft of heroin
During the search for Angie, whom they learn was murdered by Antwon Mitchell, Lem raided a criminal informant's house in search of information. One of the residents of the home had a package of heroin and Lem stole it in order to provide leverage for information concerning Angie's disappearance. However, Lem's theft was seen by Emolia Melendez, a police informant, who subsequently reported it to Internal Affairs. The heroin was confiscated from Lem's car during the night and replaced with a fake bundle. Though this initially caused some trouble, the affair was put behind them and eventually the Strike Team came back together. Shane and Lem both reconciled after Lem was attacked by the hands of a trio of criminals who had intel on the location of an El Salvadorian drug kingpin.
In Season 5, the theft of the heroin would come back to haunt Lem. Using the brick as evidence, IAD Lieutenant Kavanaugh used this evidence as leverage to make Lem wear a listening device, primarily to gather evidence about the Strike Team's role in the death of a police officer, Terry Crowley. Kavanaugh stated he would imprison Lem for not only the drug theft but also for intent to sell the drugs, which would potentially land Lem in jail for 10 years. Kavanaugh also interrogated Lem about the murder of Detective Crowley. To Kavanaugh's amusement, Lem revealed that he was not involved in the plot. Kavanaugh decided to use this knowledge as a way to drive a wedge between Lem and Vic. Lem pretended to go along with Kavanaugh's plan, but managed to secretly tip off his friend Vic by staging a fight between the two that temporarily disabled the listening device and allowed him to inform Vic of what had happened. He also confronted Vic about Terry's death and when Vic hesitated before responding, Lem refused to let Vic answer the question, knowing that the answer would mean that Vic was responsible.
Despite this, Vic worked diligently to save Lem from Kavanaugh's clutches and ultimately convinced Lem that Terry's death was only indirectly Vic's fault due to him accidentally dropping his guard during the raid. With Lem's help, the team tried to outmaneuver Kavanaugh, which successfully resulted in Kavanaugh's humiliation during a botched sting operation. During a raid on a Salvadorian grenade factory, Lem heroically saved Kavanaugh from an active grenade tossed in his direction by rushing to grab the grenade and throwing it away from Kavanaugh seconds before it exploded. Kavanaugh responded to this act of selfless bravery by continuing to pressure Lem into turning against the Strike Team. Lem sharply refused to turn his back on his friends as Vic confronted Kavanaugh's cold treatment towards Lem, who could have easily let Kavanaugh be killed by the grenade but had risked his life to save him.
Things came to a head when Vic and Lem entered the security monitor room to have a private conversation only to see via the monitors, a rather private conversation between Kavanaugh and Kavanaugh's distraught, mentally ill ex-wife. Viewing their disturbingly private moment on the closed-circuit television, Vic remarked that they had found Kavanaugh's weakness. Kavanaugh eventually noticed the security camera in the room and the possibility that his conversation with his wife was being observed by his enemies led him to rush out of the interrogation room. While Vic and Lem fled the room before Kavanaugh could catch the two red-handed, the now enraged Kavanaugh ordered that Lem be arrested for possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Lem was handcuffed in front of his shocked fellow officers, placed in lockup with other criminals, processed, and sent to a detention center. Unknown to Lem at the time, Kavanaugh had seemingly arranged for him to serve time at the same prison as gang leader Antwon Mitchell, who wanted to have him murdered while in custody. Lem's bail was set at one-hundred thousand dollars while most of the Strike Team's assets were frozen under suspicion of lawlessness. This led the remaining three Strike Team members to turn to their friend Smitty to bail Lem out, using money they stole from a small-time pot dealer as bail money.
Lem soon became weary of just not knowing what would happen to the others, and the fears started aggravating his ulcer problem. In a move to seal the rest of the team off from prosecution, he plead guilty to theft under color of authority to serve 18 months before parole of a 5 year sentence. Although he and the team came to realize that being sent to the same prison as Antwon Mitchell was an idle threat, they still had to deal with Mitchell's One-Niners gang being spread across almost all California prisons; Lem's life would be at risk either way. Further, even if Lem did manage to survive 18 months, he would have to be dealing with constant conflict with One-Niners, making it unlikely he would qualify for early release. As Vic struck a deal with Mitchell to keep Lem safe, Lem entered the official plea, much to Kavanaugh's dismay. As the investigation came to a close, Kavanaugh paid Lem a final visit to apologize and explained that he had always thought Lem would finally give up Vic; he never wanted Lem to go to prison. He told Lem that, "...any man would be lucky to have you in his corner".
Soon after the plea was entered, however, Vic found that Kavanaugh had played his last card, starting an investigation of Lompoc Federal Penitentiary, which was causing Antwon to lose all the creature comforts he'd enjoyed. Additionally, Kavanaugh told Mitchell that Vic had been bragging about getting the better of Antwon, and a furious Mitchell told Vic that Lem was dead as soon as he came into the system. Desperate to save his friend from certain death, Vic convinced Lem to skip town on the eve of his court date, where he would plead guilty and be sent to prison. Vic prepared to transport the fugitive Lem to Mexico to hide after the group were told that Lem's original deal was now null and void and that the only way for him to receive any break in terms of sentencing would be if he gave up the Strike Team. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh convinced Councilman Aceveda to go to Vic and to lie about Lem agreeing to turn against the Strike Team in exchange for a new plea bargain in order to try and track the Strike Team to Lemansky. Vic refused to accept Aceveda's lie and continued to believe that Lem had not betrayed the Strike Team. Meanwhile, Lem was forced to abandon Vic's original plans for hiding him after he risked his freedom to help out a young child who had been left alone by his parents and had seriously hurt himself in his home's kitchen. Lem ultimately contacted Vic and arranged for a meeting with his friends, with Vic preparing the final details to get Lem across the border and into hiding.
However, Kavanaugh used Aceveda to imply to Vic that Lem had revealed information about the "Money Train". Upon learning this, Shane Vendrell secretly decided to kill his best friend using a stolen grenade in order to prevent Lem from implicating the team in any illegal activities. While Vic and Ronnie were occupied with losing the IAD officers tailing their vehicles, Shane, who was not being tailed, was able to meet up with Lem and whisk him away to an abandoned garage.
Shane made one last ditch effort to convince Lem to go along with Vic's plan to relocate him to Mexico but Lem refused to go into hiding, and even argued that fleeing to Mexico, cutting ties with his friends and isolating himself from the rest of the world would be worser than going to prison. With this declaration, Shane went through with his grim task. Changing the subject of conversation to the fact that his wife Mara was pregnant with the couple's second child, Shane brought Lem a sandwich to his car and quietly dropped one of Guardo Lima's grenades in the front seat, blowing up Lemansky. When the smoke cleared from the explosion, Lemansky witnessed Shane breaking down emotionally and begging for forgiveness before dying from his injuries, sustained from the grenade.
Fallout from deathEdit
Upon arriving at the abandoned garage where Lem's body was found, a distraught Vic, in a rare showing of grief, attempted to touch the dead body of Lem only to be stopped by Dutch, who reminded Vic that touching Lem's body would contaminate the crime scene. As he moved away from his friend's body, Vic was cruelly taunted by Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh, in a bitter tone, repeatedly asked Vic if he was happy that Lem was dead (since Lem's death effectively closed the IAD investigation of the Strike Team). Vic responded by charging at Kavanaugh and the two men fought for a few seconds before being torn apart by the various patrol officers who had arrived at the crime scene in respect for Lem.
Claudette Wyms assigned Dutch Wagenbach, her "best detective", to investigate the murder with it implied that Claudette suspects that Lem was murdered by the El Salvadorian mob. Salvadorians had recently began to use grenades to kill their enemies and the Strike Team had successfully shut down several of the syndicate's operations.
As Vic was led away by Ronnie and Shane, Vic vowed to find and kill those responsible, a plot line expected to figure prominently into season 6. As Vic walks off camera, the shot focuses on a clearly distraught Shane following Mackey. Season 6 is set to begin with the Strike Team ruthlessly hunting Lem's killer and Shane struggling with the repercussions of killing his friend.
In the 15 minute "promosode" for Bud.TV it was revealed that Lem did not receive a motorcade or police funeral. Instead Claudette was forced to hold all officers on overtime so that no one could attend. This is similar to the manner of funeral that former Assistant Police Chief Ben Gilroy was given. Claudette informed Vic that she was told that Lem's lack of a department funeral and motorcade would prevent news headlines about Lem's "dirty dealings". However, the sixth season premiere showed in fact that the heroin fiasco was featured prominently both in the newspapers and in a televised statement by Councilman David Aceveda, where he assured the public that the department wouldn't tolerate corruption.
Shane has been overcome by guilt and becomes reckless and suicidal since murdering Lem. Kavanaugh refuses to let the case die and resorts to planting evidence and coercing witnesses to lie about the Strike Team and specifically, Vic as he believed that he killed Lem just like how he killed Terry three years ago. Dutch and Claudette begin to suspect his integrity and Kavanaugh finally confesses to his actions and finds himself under arrest.
Vic learns from Claudette that the Chief plans to force him into early retirement — and vows to wreak bloody vengeance on Lem's killer before losing his badge. The season concludes with the breakdown of Vic and Shane's friendship after Vic learns that Shane killed Lem and Shane getting in over his head with the Armenians whom he inadvertently informs of the Strike Team's role in the Money Train robbery.
While trying to make peace with the Armenians, Vic and Ronnie attempt to have the Armenian leadership and Shane killed in order to stop the Armenian Mob from vengeance and as well as to avenge Lem.
While the Armenians are killed, Shane survives and attempts in turn to have Vic and Ronnie killed, but the plan backfires as the thug he hired to kill Ronnie failed his task and informed the police of the whole plot. Shane, Mara, and Jackson then go on the run which adds more pressure to Vic and Ronnie as they fear that Shane might get caught and inform the police about their dirty dealings.
Being left with no other choice and as part of an immunity deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Vic admits to every crime the Strike Team has committed and implicates Shane and Ronnie enough to send them to jail for life (he also exposes Shane as Lem's killer). After learning from a vicious Vic over the phone that now there is no way to escape prison and fearing that his family will be torn apart, Shane poisons his pregnant wife and two-year old son and then shoots himself in the head just as the police arrive to arrest him for Lem's murder.
In the series finale, Vic is seen placing a picture of himself and Lem on his new desk at ICE headquarters. Though originally, the picture was of all four members of the Strike Team, Vic seems to have cropped Shane and Ronnie out of the frame, unable to reconcile himself with Shane's betrayal of Lem and subsequent suicide and his own betrayal of Ronnie, leaving his friendship with Lem as the only one "untarnished" in his mind.
- Jeffrey Cole - Killed in self-defense
- One of Andrei Tretiak's men - Killed in self-defense
- Weebo - Killed in self-defense
- The character of Curtis Lemansky was not a part of the original series pitch for "The Shield". It was created by Shawn Ryan specifically for actor Kenneth Johnson after he auditioned for the role of Detective Terry Crowley.
- A promotional campaign for the sixth season of the show stated Lem's date of birth as July 14, 1963 and the date of the character's death as being March 21, 2006, which was also the air date of the episode where the character died. Moreover, Kenneth Johnson was born July 13, 1963; one day before his character's alleged birthdate.
- Lem carried a Beretta 92FS as his main sidearm. He also carried a Mossberg 500 Cruiser shotgun.
- Lem has a small tattoo on his lower back, visible during a scene in "Co-Pilot".
Much like fellow character Danny Sofer, there has been debate over the character's name among viewers. While the character's given name is 'Curtis Lemansky', the character is generally referred to as 'Lem' or 'Lemonhead'. This is a play both on the character's last name and the fact that actor Kenny Johnson has blonde hair.
The early episodes heavily use the 'Lemonhead' nickname (also used by the writing staff, who still refer to the character by that name in the shooting scripts). However, in later Season One episodes, the character is referred to by the shorter 'Lem'. Eventually, 'Lem' became the defacto name for the character from Season Two onwards. However, the 'promosode' between seasons 5 and 6 (albeit set some time before the events of season 5) have his fellow officers chanting 'Lemonhead' when he won the arm wrestling championship.
Little is known about Lemansky's personal life. In Season One, he had a relationship with Tigre Orozco, sister of a reformed gang banger and in Season Five, Ronnie Gardocki implied that Lem's parents were "trailer trash" and so poor that the Strike Team didn't even bother asking them to help post bail for Lem after his arrest by Internal Affairs.