Skeet Ulrich Skeet Ulrich

"There's a little more character development at the offset than usual," promises Law & Order: Los Angeles executive producer Rene Balcer. So if you're champing at the bit to learn about the cops and lawyers that will populate the West Coast entry of the venerable franchise this fall, here's some exclusive scoop direct from Balcer, a longtime showrunner for the franchise's mother ship.

The Cops

Det. Ray Winters (Skeet Ulrich) "When he was a rookie, Winters witnessed the failure of the police both in the Rodney King incident and the first hours of the ensuing riots. It made him take his role as a cop more seriously and rely on himself more than his colleagues. He's married to his former partner that he was having an affair with while he was married to his previous wife. Her prior involvement in the police force will lead to some complications. They have two kids."

Det. Tomas ("TJ") Jaruszalski  (Corey Stoll) "He's a younger guy who thinks that being a cop is probably the most fun that someone can legally have. His attitude is you get to match wits with the bad guys and go places that nobody ever sees. He hasn't yet been beat up by the job like his partner." (A source says that most likely we'll learn that TJ grew up in the movie industry with a father who was a cinematographer.)

The Lawyers

Deputy DA Morales (Alfred Molina) "He has a deep abiding sense of justice. He got his work ethic from his father, a groundskeeper at Hillcrest Country Club who took great pride in his work. Like most LA DAs, he has an eye for politics and he's very media savvy."

ADA Evelyn Price "Morales's second chair, she's an African American who grew up in the upper middle class LA area of Baldwin Hills. Her father's furniture store was burned down in the King riots. Though she has a healthy skepticism of the LAPD's treatment of minorities, she believes the anarchy she saw was worse than anything that the LAPD might do. She's right of center on law and order issues compared to Morales."

Law & Order: Los Angeles premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 10/9c on NBC

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!