|NBC will make a major cast change in “Law & Order, Los Angeles” the newest entry in the network’s long-running “Law and Order” franchise, moving out the actor Skeet Ulrich in order to provide more air time for the better-known actors in the series, Alfred Molina and Terrence Howard.|
The moves were announced by Dick Wolf, the creator of the “Law & Order” shows, who said he was frustrated by having one of the show’s two “world-class actors” on the bench each week. The two actors had been in alternating episodes as prosecuting attorneys.
Some NBC executives had taken note that ratings for the first-year show, which replaced the long-running original New York-based “Law & Order,” seemed to be better each time it was Mr. Howard’s turn to play the district attorney. Mr Howard was nominated for an Oscar for the film “Hustle and Flow;” Mr. Molina had a celebrated run as the painter Mark Rothko in the Broadway drama “Red.”
In order to gain access to the two actors each week, Mr. Wolf and NBC will perform a little jiu jitsu and transform Mr. Molina’s character into a homicide detective. The show will work in a back story that Mr. Molina was a former policeman who moved on to the district attorney’s office, but thanks to some unhappy events there opportunities to go back to police work.
Mr. Ulrich has been one of the two investigating detectives on the show, paired with the actor Corey Stoll. Mr Moline will now become Mr. Stoll’s partner. Mr. Ulrich will depart the series in March, NBC said. Mr. Ulrich has completed several more episodes of the series and those will be broadcast.