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[05/17/04 - 12:00 AM]
2004 Broadcast Upfront Presentations: Nbc, Part 2
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

NBC ANNOUNCES DENNIS FARINA TO BECOME SERIES REGULAR IN NETWORK'S ORIGINAL FRANCHISE HIT 'LAW & ORDER'

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- Dennis Farina ("Get Shorty," "Out of Sight") will join the cast of NBC's venerable "Law & Order" (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) -- the original drama that began television's most successful series franchise. The announcement was by Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Universal Television Group and Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.

"I've known Dennis for 20 years, and he's a terrific actor, a consummate professional and a truly nice guy," said Dick Wolf, the executive producer of the all of the "Law & Order" series.

Essentially, Farina will replace the departing Jerry Orbach (Detective Lenny Briscoe) in a similar role as a New York City police detective.

Owing to its two-year extension earlier this month for a 15th and 16th season through 2005-06, "Law & Order" is now set to become the longest-running police series and second longest-running drama series in the history of television. Filmed entirely on location in New York City, this realistic program looks at crime and justice from a dual perspective. Sam Waterston, Jesse L. Martin, S. Epatha Merkerson, Elisabeth Rohm and Fred Thompson star. Orbach, who portrayed Detective Lennie Briscoe for 12 seasons, will depart the series in this month's season finale.

Farina, who stars in the upcoming HBO movie "Empire Falls," also starred last year on the NBC comedy "The In-Laws."

Farina's extensive feature-film credits include "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight," "Saving Private Ryan," "Snatch," "Sidewalks of New York," "Reindeer Games," "The Mod Squad," "Another Stakeout," "Manhunter" and "Thief."

In addition, Farina initially gained notice for his starring role in producer Michael Mann's "Crime Story" followed by another drama, "Buddy Faro." Among his other TV credits is Mann's Emmy Award-winning miniseries "Drug Wars: Colombia."

A veteran of the Chicago theater, Farina appeared in Joseph Mantegna's "Bleacher Bums" and "Tracers."

"Law & Order" is a Wolf Films production in association with NBC Universal Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer, Matthew Penn, Eric Overmyer, Peter Jankowski and Roz Weinman are executive producers.





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· EMPIRE FALLS (HBO)
· IN-LAWS (NBC)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)





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