[UPDATE: Producer Dick Wolf has just announced that Milena Govich, a star of Wolf's short-lived Convinction, will join the L&O cast, and that she'll play a cop, though it's unclear whether she's technically replacing Farina.]
The bodies have hit the floor: Law & Order (original recipe) is now short two cast members, as Dennis Farina, after playing Detective Joe Fontana for two seasons, is bowing out. The other opening is in the DA’s office: Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Borgia (Annie Parisse) died in the course of a murder investigation in the season finale. Being Jack McCoy’s assistant is a high-risk profession — though, to be fair, the untimely death of Claire Kinkaid (Jill Hennessy) wasn’t directly job-related.
So… who ought to be on deck to replace Dick Wolf’s fallen soldiers? I doubt anyone will ever truly replace the late Jerry Orbach, but let’s not shoot for perfection. In fact, it might be time to get away from the crusty-old-white-veteran model, and try pairing surviving L&O flatfoot Jesse L. Martin with a different sort of foil. Michael Imperioli’s name is being bandied about this office — he came in to sub for Martin during the filming of Rent, and he was back this season. I could see an interesting chemistry there. Failing that, I wonder if a female homicide dick would be out of the question? How about a hard-boiled dame pounding the pavement with Detective Green? How about — and I realize this is out of left field — Lily Tomlin?
As for the new ADA… well, we know by now that Jack McCoy isn’t going to hire anyone who isn’t a) female and b) easy on the eyes. Personally, I’d like to see him establish a highly combative relationship with a real hard-case, someone along the lines of Mary Lynn Rajskub, better known as Chloe of 24.
I’ll shut up before I start getting into the really off-kilter casting choices. (David Cross! Amy Sedaris! Why do I want to see anarchist comedians in the most "establishment" show on TV?) I turn it over to you. Brain-trust away! I want a prospectus and two solid gallows-humor quips on my desk in an hour.