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Who's replacing Dennis Farina ...

Question: Who's replacing Dennis Farina and Annie Parisse on Law & Order? Answer: You'll be seeing lots more women on the set next season. Taking over from Dennis Farina as a lead detective will be Milena Govich, most recently from Dick Wolf's failed Conviction. Taking over the assistant-district-attorney slot will be Alana De La Garza, who last season had the bad luck of being betrothed to CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine for about 10 minutes before she was gunned down. Not that this role traditionally has much job security. ... read more

Big Changes Coming to Law & Order

Law & Order: Dennis Farina is out, Milena Govich and Alana De La Garza are in.

For its 17th season, the aging legal drama Law & Order will undergo an extreme makeover. The NBC warhorse moves to Fridays at 10 pm/ET in the fall and will add two new cast members, including — for the first time — a female street detective. After owning Wednesdays at 10 for more than a decade, L&O finally met its match the past two seasons against CSI: NY. Now NBC is going to see if the show will fare any better against another CBS hit, Numbers, on a night with lower expectations. Notoriously brusque creator and executive producer read more

Big Changes Coming to Law & Order

Law & Order: Dennis Farina is out, Milena Govich and Alana De La Garza are in.

For its 17th season, the aging legal drama Law & Order will undergo an extreme makeover. The NBC warhorse moves to Fridays at 10 pm/ET in the fall and will add two new cast members, including — for the first time — a female street detective. After owning Wednesdays at 10 for more than a decade, L&O finally met its match the past two seasons against CSI: NY. Now NBC is going to see if the show will fare any better against another CBS hit, Numbers, on a night with lower expectations. Notoriously brusque creator and executive producer read more

Will all of the Law & Order ...

Question: Will all of the Law & Order shows return as-is next year? Answer: Definitely not, and that brings me to this week's big-ass prattle poop. Dick Wolf sent out a memo to casting directors on both coasts last week alerting them that they will be "adding series regulars to all of the Law & Order shows for next season." Among the roles they're looking to fill: male and female cops, young and seasoned; male and female detectives, open age; male and female ADAs, young; male and female lawyers/DAs, open age. The memo went on to say that "the most important characteristic that your actors must posses is a very New York edge." Now, keep in mind that Wolf has already said that a major cast member will be leaving read more

Law & Order's Vance Is Guilty... of Love

Courtney B. Vance, Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Most actors would kill for a regular role on a series — particularly any piece of the criminally successful Law & Order franchise. But initially, Courtney B. Vance was skeptical when L&O creator Dick Wolf offered him the part of Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (on NBC, Sundays at 9 pm/ET) back in 2001. Not only was Vance reluctant to tie himself down to one project, he didn't like the idea of leaving his wife, Angela Bassett, back in Los Angeles while he shot the show in New York City. Eventually Vance signed on, and this past January, L&O: CI reached a major milestone: 100 episodes. The residuals alone co read more

I don't get it. How can ...

Question: I don't get it. How can Criminal Minds be such a hit? I would like to know your theory on how this show, which is not nearly as good as any other procedurals, attracts more than 12 million viewers each broadcast. I understand that on a quiet night some mediocre shows could succeed. However, Minds is against Lost, and that does not seem to pose a problem. Do you think America is taking this crime trend a little bit to far? I mean, when will the audience say "enough" to procedurals. I enjoy Without a Trace, Cold Case and CSI (with all of their spin-offs), but Criminal Minds is just setting a very low standard. Answer: I swear I did not plant this question, but I couldn't agree more. Not so much the Minds-vs.-Lost situation. I totally get why people who resist getting caught up in a show as dense and unusual as Lost would rather watch something as pat and self-contained as Criminal Minds. That's called effective counterprogramming. But from the mannered acting to the pretentious ... read more

Is it just me or are TV ...

Question: Is it just me or are TV critics taking schadenfreude in seeing NBC's slipups and misses for the past few seasons, especially now, during the Olympics, and with Joey's dismal ratings. While it's true that success does breed some sort of contempt from advocates of rival networks, TV critics should always have an objective approach. However, highlighting and then further underlining NBC's failures borders on playground teasing. Answer: Maybe it looks like critics are kicking a network when it's down, but really, NBC has been a juicy target ever since it fouled its airwaves with Fear Factor, failed repeatedly to find an adequate comedy to replace Friends (most notoriously with the ill-fated Joey), cloned Law & Order to the point of absurdity, failed to adequately promote and protect gems like Ed and American Dreams through their multiseason (and still too brief) runs — again, the list goes on. And lately, with the The Book of Daniel debacle, the twice-a-week Apprentice disaster ... read more

SVU Star Returns with Conviction

Stephanie March, Conviction

Tonight at 10 pm/ET, NBC premieres Law & Order creator Dick Wolf's latest legal drama. Set inside the New York City district attorney's office, Conviction even breathes new life into a onetime Law & Order: SVU player, Stephanie March, who is reprising her role of assistant district attorney Alexandra Cabot. How will Conviction set itself apart from other procedurals — including Wolf's own? And how is it that Alex was able to come out of hiding in the Federal Witness Protection program? TVGuide.com asked March those questions and more. TVGuide.com: When you left SVU, did you ever have any inkling that Alexandra Cabot might return on either that show o read more

What's this I'm hearing about ...

Question: What's this I'm hearing about someone leaving Law & Order?


Answer: It's true. Dick Wolf told Newsweek that he's planning another major cast change next season. My guess is it's either Sam Waterston or Jesse L. Martin, mostly because their characters are rumored to be closeted lesbians and well, we know what happens to them on L&O.

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I'm a big fan of the Law & ...

Question: I'm a big fan of the Law & Order franchise (more of Law & Order: SVU than the original), but I was wondering what the chances are that the new series Conviction will survive on Friday nights. Trial by Jury didn't do very well in that time slot, and, speaking as a future prosecutor, I'm very optimistic about this show. I was just wondering if you think it will do well or not, and if you've seen more than just the previews of the show in order to form an opinion about it. Thanks. Answer: Hard to know if it will survive on Fridays. Special Victims Unit did very well there, but that was before CBS found a winning formula for the night. I know I would much rather watch Numbers than Conviction, which seems to me a very clumsy effort by Dick Wolf to try to make a David E. Kelley-style series. (My review of Conviction will appear in the next issue of TV Guide, out later this week.) It may depend on how well Las Vegas survives the transfer to Fridays. If Vegas boosts NBC's Friday ... read more

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