Expected Departure Accompanied by Welcome Addition
In the extensive and eventful Law & Order universe, yesterday brought a widely reported development that was more or less predictable. Yes, former Republican Tennessee Senator and, until recently, resident L&O cast member Fred Dalton Thompson is indeed leaving the franchise, presumably to pursue his goal of becoming the next president of our United States. The career politician and respected occasional actor not only portrayed New York District Attorney Arthur Branch for five seasons, but he also appeared in all four of the franchise’s series in the same role, including the 13-episode 2005 failure Law & Order: Trial by Jury (not to mention NBC’s similarly themed but quickly canceled non-L&O crimes-and-law series Conviction in 2006).
The only L&O player who can possibly top Thompson’s feat is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit veteran Richard Belzer, who has famously played the same character, Detective John Munch, in an unbelievable seven different TV series (Arrested Development, The Beat, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and The X-Files) on three different networks (Fox, NBC, and UPN) since it was first introduced on Homicide: Life on the Street in 1993.
But I digress. This post is about the latest L&O casting news, in which the ever-revolving roster of regular actors has experienced yet another shakeup. As I have been continually hoping all this seventeenth season long, Milena Govich, the wooden refugee of that other failed Dick Wolf series on NBC, Conviction, has decided to move on as rumored and let another, better actor take her place alongside Jesse L. Martin‘s crowd-pleasing Detective Ed Green.
And what a better actor has series creator Wolf gotten ahold of—none other than Six Feet Under alum Jeremy Sisto, who has also appeared in such fare as NBC’s recent undeservedly canceled serial drama Kidnapped and the 2007 Sundance Film Festival success Waitress, co-starring Felicity‘s Keri Russell and Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, and written and directed by the tragically murdered filmmaker and artist Adrienne Shelly.
Although I’m sad to see a female character in the testosterone-heavy L&O franchise fade away, at least viewers will still have surprisingly engaging and convincing Alana de la Garza around to help tip the scales of justice as A.D.A. Connie Rubirosa.
Sisto—who actually guest starred in Law & Order‘s May 18 seventeenth-season finale as a defense attorney—is a great casting catch, and I look forward to seeing what he’ll bring to the series as an NYPD detective next fall. There may no longer be a gender balance, but this is the first time we’ll have two relatively young male partners from the same generation, which should yield an interesting dynamic in and of itself.
Jeremy Sisto photo courtesy of Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com
Milena Govich photo courtesy of Wisdom Digital Media