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'Law & Order: LA' 2.0 Has Old Friends, New Gigs & Headline-Grabbing Stories

by AOL TV Staff, posted Apr 18th 2011 6:00AM
'Law & Order: LA'By Jane Murphy
In last week's two-part 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' -- the first new episode since the show went on a retooling hiatus Dec. 1 -- the reset button was officially hit for the freshman series.

For fans of the show (which has seen its fair share of drama, even though it's only aired 10 episodes to date) the revamp brings us something old, something new and something borrowed, hoping this marriage between the franchise and the City of Angels lasts a good long time.

And of course, there's also something blue with Alfred Molina's character Ricardo Morales leaving the DA's office in the aftermath of the shooting death of Det. Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) to come back to the beat as a detective.

AOL TV caught up with executive producer Rene Balcer, co-creator of the show with 'L&O' head honcho Dick Wolf, to hear all about Morales' big switch and other cast changes for what he's calling "LOLA 2.0."

"There are many factors that finally convince [Morales] he'd be a happier camper back as a cop ... It's about how the case is being handled, the political influences that come to bear on the prosecution."

Holding steady from the first half of the season are actors Molina, Rachel Ticotin, Terrence Howard and Corey Stoll. What's new is the title, now shortened to 'Law & Order: LA,' and Alana de la Garza, reprising her character of ADA Connie Rubirosa from the last seasons of classic 'L&O.' But despite the on-air hiatus, Balcer reminds that the cast and crew "stayed in production the whole time. For us, it's all one season."

A native of Quebec, Balcer is a nearly 21-year veteran of the 'L&O' franchise (he also created 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' with Wolf). He teased some upcoming storylines, including avenging the murder of Ulrich's character and an episode inspired by the murder of Ronni Chasen. There's also some disappointing news for anyone hoping for 'Law & Order: Montreal.'

Even though 'Law & Order: LA' took a break, high profile cases in L.A. did not.
Obviously, we are doing the Ronni Chasen story -- our own take -- but we'll go in a couple of different directions. We are doing a take on the Bell City Council corruption case. We're doing a story that was an item in the news a few weeks ago about this abandoned mansion up in the Hollywood Hills. It'll be the site of a rather gruesome series of events. Obviously, we're doing something about the Mexican drug wars.

Corey Stoll & Skeet Ulrich, 'L&O:LA'The storyline with Rex Winters and his wife (played by Teri Polo) was very rich in backstory. Will Teri Polo's character be making more appearances?
She'll be making an appearance in the season finale. The storyline continues mostly through the character [Det. Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski] played by Corey Stoll. His partner's killer is still at large.

You're closely associated with 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent.' That show has benefited from very inventive actors like Vincent D'Onofrio and Jeff Goldblum. Do you think Terrence Howard has that same quality?
Yeah, he's certainly counter-intuitive in terms of his choices. It makes him surprising and interesting to watch. It's paid off for us. He does not want to play the stereotypical lawyer/DA.

About blending in Alana de la Garza's character to 'LOLA' ... what facilitates Connie's move to L.A.?
Her mother has had a stroke so she's in need of care, and [Connie] moves back to LA. She had already passed the bar in L.A.

After we'd let Megan [Boone] and Regina [Hall] go, we were looking to recast and we weren't really getting anywhere. I just happened to be watching a 'Law & Order' from last year to watch an actress we were calling in. I was just looking at Alana and -- Alana and I are very, very distant cousins, I knew Alana was in L.A. and had a newborn to take care of and but she was starting to get back to work. I thought "Why not Alana?" So I told Dick, and he said "I'm so stupid! Why didn't I think of that?" So I beat him to the punch on that.

Funny ... when I suggested moving Alfred to the front of the show as a detective, Dick's first reaction was "That is the worst idea I've ever heard!" Then five hours later he thought about it and said, "That's actually a good idea".

Alfred Molina, 'L&O:LA'Alfred Molina can do anything.
If you were going to think: who is today's Jerry Orbach? Fred is the guy. Very approachable as a character, there's definitely the everyman quality about him, and as you say, he can do anything. He's as much a song and dance guy as Jerry was. [Laughs]

What about Linus Roache, who played ADA Michael Cutter on the original 'Law & Order'?
Linus is on a series now at HBO! ['The Miraculous Year,' a pilot directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow.]

So no Cutter cameos?
Never say never, but he's busy right now. He's a very talented guy.

Rene Balcer, 'L&O:LA' exec producerI was reading your bio, and considering we now have 'LOLA', 'Law & Order: U.K.' and of course all the New York incarnations -- what about 'Law & Order: Montreal'?
Much too cold.

It's cold in New York!
[Laughs] New York is nowhere near as cold as Montreal. It's more than I could stand -- that's why I moved away. Far too cold. New York is balmy compared to Montreal. New York bitched and moaned because it had three snowstorms this year. [Laughs] Montreal has three snowstorms every week.

WATCH LAST WEEK'S
EPISODE OF 'L&O: LA' HERE

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Alison

The main reason I watch LOLA of Skeet. I got hooked on him on Jericho. I think they need to look at their writers, not the cast. I like (sos) some of the characters, but a big .......... to losing Skeet!!!!!!!!

June 10 2011 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
darrell thomas

the detective that was fired wasA WHOLE LOT BETTER! why did you let him go?

April 23 2011 at 9:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
heatnlight

ulrich should havedbeen left on because he had that detective look and quality character, giving the show interest

April 20 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Suzanne

Actually, the news of the HBO pilot not going forward came out way back in November (see http://www.deadline.com/2010/11/miraculous-year-not-going-forward-at-hbo/ as an example). Surely that's long before this interview.

EIther way, I"m just nitpicking because I'm annoyed. I'm really trying to give LOLA 2.0 a chance. But I haven't warmed up at all to Terrence Howard. And knowing how excellent the chemistry was with De La Garza and Roache, I think the bar is set pretty high.

I don't really expect any Mothership actors to show up on LOLA this season in guest spots - I think the show needs to stand on its own two feet. But, if there's a next season - and that's a big if, I do hope Balcer stays more updated on Roache's availability than he appears to be now. ;)

April 18 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SteveW

Suzanne -- the interview was probably done in March -- before news that HBO wasn't picking up Linus' pilot was announced. The reporter here should have updated the info.

April 18 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SteveW

Suzanne -- this interview was probably done before news that HBO was not picking up Linus's pilot was announced.

April 18 2011 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
emoore66on

Skeet Ulrich was the best thing on L&O LA - Can't NBC do anything right?

April 18 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MS. OBSERVANT

Corey looked better with the mustache and I have no desire to watch Molina sloth his way through the crime scenes. There are 3 other shows on during that time slot I'd rather watch. They should have kept the mothership. Not even Alana is worth tuning in for.

April 18 2011 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MS. OBSERVANT

Corey looked better with the mustache and I have no desire to watch Molina sloth his way through the crime scenes. There are 3 other shows on during that time slot I'd rather watch. They should have kept the mothership. Not even Alana is worth tuning in for.

April 18 2011 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
diablogeek

time is here for putting our "hope and change" compliments of obama and his czars, commies,and other thugs under a high powered magnifying glass and reexamine how much more we can afford...the change in my pockets is getting so thin it is falling thru the weave, while our national debt is growing powerful tsunami wave, and is about to wash away our economy and the principles of freedom our great nation was founded under...we may soon need noah's arc to ride this out...i say forget his change and give us back our liberties, faith and prosperity...not to mention JOBS WOULD HELP TOO...

April 18 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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