Patrick Swayze by Stephen Lovekin/ Patrick Swayze by Stephen Lovekin/

A&E has ordered 13 episodes of The Beast, a drama series starring Patrick Swayze as an unorthodox FBI agent dogged by Internal Affairs. Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year but has been responding well to treatment, and his doctors cleared him to return to work.

"I have searched for quite a long time to find a character that is this multilayered, unpredictable and downright entertaining," says Swayze in a statement, "as well as a project this current and cutting-edged."

The Beast and Ben Bratt's The Cleaner (premiering July 15) mark A&E's first original scripted dramas in six years. Production starts this summer in Chicago, says the Reporter, with an eye on an early 2009 bow. - Matt Mitovich

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