Ah, what would a new TV season be without Dick Wolf tinkering with his casts?
This fall on Wolf's indestructible Law & Order, Oscar winner Dianne Wiest will replace Steven Hill's District Attorney Adam Schiff, the 10-year-old show's resident grump since Episode 2.
And, in Wolf's NBC spinoff Law & Order: Special Victims Unit _ which is supposedly set in Manhattan, but films most interiors in North Bergen, New Jersey _ some new faces are also popping up.
Actor and Grammy-winning rapper Ice-T _ who made waves with a 1992 song called Cop Killer _ will play Detective Odafin Tutuola, the new partner of Richard Belzer's quirky John Munch.
"I came from Narcotics, and I just believe in getting it done. Richard's kind of laid back, so now he's got somebody to reach out and hit the guy, to step across that line," says Ice-T, who nonetheless sees a friction-free dynamic in this duo. "I think Munch is happy to have me."
The other new face on SVU is less familiar. It belongs to Stephanie March, a striking young blond actor who had a small but noticed role in the Broadway production of Death of a Salesman. On SVU, she'll play the show's new assistant district attorney, Alexandra Cabot.
"She's very ambitious, which is something I want to fight against just a little bit, because I don't want to make her too much of a television villainess," March says. "But she's very aggressive, she's a well-educated, blue-blood New England girl who's on the way up through the political ranks of New York City."
_ Times wires