Back in April, NYPD Blue
fans learned Charlotte Ross
would return from maternity leave... never
! Ross's manager hubby told TV Guide Online
she was "burnt on the character" of Det. Connie McDowell Sipowicz and had asked series creator Steven Bochco
to be released from her contract. So Connie — who's happily married to Dennis Franz
's Andy — ended up giving birth off screen. Here, Franz explains how Blue
will handle the problem of Andy's painfully MIA wife in the cop drama's 12th and final season.
TV Guide Online: Are you disappointed that your on-screen coupling with Charlotte was left without a resolution?
Dennis Franz: Yes, I am disappointed. We spent a lot of time having the audience accept that relationship and understand what the love was between us and ride the ride with us. Thankfully, the audience did, and they were right there with us and for us.
TVGO: What will happen to Connie?
Franz: We can't have Sipowicz go through another tragedy, so she can't be eliminated. So her character is going to be present, but physically not present. And that's a big miss, as far as Sipowicz's life, 'cause I don't get to go home to somebody. It's not gonna eliminate my story lines with the kids, particularly Theo. We will have story lines with him. I'll be able to pick him up from school or take him to a movie or go home — and Connie will be out for some reason.
TVGO: She'll be out food shopping or something?
Franz: [Chuckles] She'll happen to be shopping, yeah. That can only happen so many times...
TVGO: They can't really recast Connie, can they?
Franz: The same character but a different person [playing her]? They really don't do that. Stephen Bochco wouldn't buy that. Our show can't get away with that.
TVGO: I won't ask you to bad-mouth Charlotte, but it's been said Charlotte's a talented actress, yet a difficult personality to work with on the set. Is that true?
Franz: I'm just gonna say that Charlotte is an extremely gifted actress and that she... Her process is one that for her to give her best performance, she needs a lot of concentration. I respect that in her. She requires a lot of focus. She truly makes a big investment in her character and I respect that. Whatever she... I didn't have a problem with it. We all have our... You're not gonna get me to bad-mouth her. She's too good.