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[04/19/05 - 12:00 AM]
Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") to Fill in for Jesse L. Martin of NBC's "Law & Order" Beginning April 20, 10-11pm ET/PT

[via press release from NBC]

MICHAEL IMPERIOLI ("THE SOPRANOS") TO FILL IN FOR JESSE L. MARTIN OF NBC'S "LAW & ORDER" BEGINNING APRIL 20, 10-11PM ET/PT

Imperioli to work four episodes while Martin stars in film version of "Rent"

"I'm glad to be on the right side of the law," said Imperioli.

NEW YORK -- April 19, 2005 -- Emmy Award winner Michael Imperioli ("Sopranos") will fill in for Jesse L. Martin on NBC's "Law & Order," while he stars in the upcoming film version of "Rent." Imperioli will play Nick Falco, the younger detective and partner of Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina) for the final four original episodes of "Law & Order's" 2004-05 season, beginning Wednesday, April 20th, 10-11PM ET/PT . Photos available at www.NBCUMV.com

Imperioli's first episode entitled "Publish and Perish," features the murders of an infamous porn actress and a maverick publisher, Devries (guest star Randy Graff ). Detectives Fontana (Farina) and his partner Falco (Imperioli) are plunged head-first into a sensational case that spirals upward to an ambitious and powerful police commissioner (guest star Kevin Dunn) who is up for the nation's top security post. But as District Attorney Branch (Fred Dalton Thompson) warns, McCoy (Sam Waterston) and the police must tread lightly given the high-profile players -- especially when they discover a more intimate link. Annie Parisse and S. Epatha Merkerson also star.

NBC held a conference call with Imperioli on April 12, 2005 regarding his new role in "Law & Order." Following are excerpts from the call. A full replay of the call is available at 866-373-4490.

On playing Nick Falco
Said Imperioli, "I think what I find interesting is that the character of Nick Falco probably comes from a similar background as my character on "The Sopranos;" economically and geographically and kind of culturally. The differences: they're both Italian-American; they're both New Yorkers; they come from middle class backgrounds."

"The character I'm playing on Law & Order, has a real passion for making the world safe and making the city safe for people. He wants to make sure that the bad guys go to jail and that justice wins out and I think he grew up with that reverence and lives with it."

On the subtle complexities of "Law & Order" characters
"You see these characters all the time on the job. You don't see them outside of work; you don't see their personal life. But it's how they do their job and how they interact with each other and how they interact with the people they're dealing with who are criminals or people they're interviewing as witnesses. It's how this interaction reveals them as human beings which is a very interesting challenge."

Martin is currently in his sixth season as Detective Ed Green on "Law & Order" and was an original cast member of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical "Rent," creating the role of Tom Collins, which he will be playing in the film version. He also appeared in recurring roles on the Fox series "Ally McBeal" and "413 Hope Street."

Imperioli is best known to television audiences as the hot-headed Christopher Moltisanti on the Emmy Award winning HBO series "The Sopranos." He won the Emmy last September for his high profile role and has also appeared in numerous films and television series. He stars in the upcoming ABC telefilm "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and he also appeared in a guest-starring role on "Law & Order" in 1996 and Dick Wolf's Fox series "New York Undercover" in 1997.

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





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· ALLY MCBEAL (FOX)
· FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, THE (ABC)
· LAW & ORDER (NBC)
· SOPRANOS, THE (HBO)





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