Chris Noth, <EM>Law & Order: CI</EM> Chris Noth, Law & Order: CI

Chris Noth is certainly keeping busy. But in between shooting the long-awaited Sex and the City movie and new episodes for the seventh season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent (tonight at 10 pm/ET, USA), the handsome, down-to-earth actor squeezed in a few moments to answer some questions. Were you at all hesitant to continue CI when you heard it was moving from NBC to USA?
Chris Noth:
No. I think the cable networks are the future of TV anyway. I think USA, AMC, TNT, FX [have] the more interesting shows. I don't know if that will change or not, but right now they're willing to go outside the box a little more. Does the switch change the show at all?
Noth: Only in the enthusiasm that USA is showing in terms of bringing us aboard. We are what we are. They've really welcomed us — we've had more promotion in the last week than we had in six years on NBC. Last season ended with Logan finding a potential love interest, but then she had a violent death. How is he holding up?
Noth: He's moved on. You know, at least so far, they don't go back into it. It's very hard — there's kind of like a straightjacket of procedure that's hard to get around. It's always tough for an actor dealing with a sort of dry form like [this]. I think each episode has a little less or more of it and I think this year we'll see a judicial balance, but it's always tough for an actor to personalize procedure. Do real-life detectives say they can relate to you?
No, no. [Laughs] They don't say they relate to me — they either enjoy the show or think it's baloney. [Laughs] They like that we're taking a stab at it. I think they're amused by it more than anything — they may tolerate [Laughs] the fact that we're trying to impersonate them, but I don't get any kind of fan club from detectives. How's your new partner?
Noth: It's been great [with] both my partners — Julianne [Nicholson] will be back [after maternity leave]. This year Logan is seeing a little of his younger self in this female partner, [Alicia Witt's] Falacci. It's not that he's mellowing out, [but] I think he may have learned a few hard lessons and it's now fun to see someone come up through the ranks and sort of make the same mistakes he did. I think it's an interesting partnership. Alicia has great energy, she's a real team player, and she really embraces the work. It has been a real delight. You've been playing Logan since 1990 — is it still fun and a challenge for you?
Well, when it's not, it's time to leave. So far, they've been coming up with some pretty good stuff in the last two years. I didn't think I was going to make it in my first year — I think it was pretty much a different show then for me. But that's changed since last year — we had a new group of writers, a new head writer and a new show-runner, and they've opened it up quite a bit — they're just more sensitive to the actors. They're attempting not to just be a slave to story and procedure, but Law & Order is intrinsically that, so it's not easy. The pictures of you and Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of SATC are just adorable.
Noth: Oh, my god, the freakin' paparazzi on every location we're at is unbelievable. I mean, it's really sad, because when I come to the Law & Order set, no one really cares — they're so used to us over the years. It's really like night and day. For whatever reason, [Mr. Big] sort of ignited some kind of chemical combustion in people's heads [Laughs], and so it's like I never did Logan. Is there anything about the movie you can tell us?
No, I can't tell you anything — only that it exceeds all expectations in terms of the writing and it's going to be a great one. Are you having a good time?
Noth: It's a lot of work. I'm doing both at the same time, so I'm just trying to keep up with it and not look like Mike Logan when I'm doing Sex and the City. [Laughs] We don't care what Mike Logan looks like because he's supposed to be a detective, but in Sex and the City, I've got to look halfway decent around these gorgeous girls. I'll have to cut it down to just two glasses of wine instead of a bottle. [Laughs] You've created two characters that audiences just seem to want more of....
Noth: I don't overanalyze them. I sort of understand the parts of myself that I use for each one and without agonizing over it, I slip on the Gucci suit, or in terms of Logan, the Moe Ginsburg suit, [Laughs] and get to work. I have a working-class attitude toward acting — be in the moment, get out of your head, trust your instincts. Any other projects?
Noth: I'm working on something with [writer] John Milius, for AMC, based on the book Requiem [about] the photojournalists killed in Vietnam. That's a ways away, but that's what we're working on.

Check out Chris Noth as Law & Order: Criminal Intent's Detective Logan in our Online Video Guide.

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