Angel may have earned a rep as one of TV's best hours, but Elisabeth Rohm still hesitated before sinking her teeth into the recurring role of vengeful cop Kate Lockley on the WB drama.

"When [series creator] Joss Whedon offered it to me — and he knows this, so it's not off the record — I wasn't sure I wanted to do it, being a serious New York actor," the theater-trained thesp tells TV Guide Online. But after meeting with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer sire, her doubts were put to death. "He's so Dr. Seuss. He's got these incredible metaphors woven into [stories with] all these vampires and demons, and I was so excited. I thought, 'This could be really interesting,' and I think it helped me as an actress."

Rohm will get no argument from Law & Order producer Dick Wolf, who tapped her to replace Angie Harmon as the show's new assistant district attorney beginning next fall. Still, despite the big break, the 28-year-old — who admits her new gig will likely preclude her from making any more Angel appearances — insists that she won't be spending her final summer of obscurity erasing any record of her soap star past.

"Hell no," asserts the former One Life to Live ingenue. "I am so proud of doing a soap; it taught me a ton. I got it right out of school and it was like being thrown into the fire. I had to memorize one act of a play a day — and I could not mess up. And now, [L&O co-star] Sam [Waterston] will say to me, 'Wow. You never go off of your lines.' And I'll say, 'That's because of One Life to Live.' God bless One Life!"