Production on the upcoming Season 13 is due to get underway soon and, according to Deadline.com, 'SVU' creator/executive producer Dick Wolf and NBC have narrowed the field to a short list of five.
The actors, who have all doubtless just spent a sleepless night in the Big Apple rehearsing their lines, have been named as: Danny Pino ('Cold Case'), Kevin Alejandro ('True Blood,' 'Southland'), David Conrad ('Ghost Whisperer'), Michael Raymond-James ('Terriers') and Rhys Coiro ('Entourage').
Each one will test today with Meloni's co-star, Mariska Hargitay, who plays Det. Olivia Benson on the drama. Both Alejandro and Raymond-James recently guest-starred on 'SVU,' so could be feeling like they've got the edge.
'Combat Hospital' stars movie vets Elias Koteas ('The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' 'Shutter Island') and Deborah Kara Unger ('Crash,' 'The Hurricane') in their first TV roles. This isn't the first time they've worked together -- they both starred in David Cronenberg's 'Crash' in 1996, and were thrilled to team up again.
"I adore Deborah. She's probably the smartest person in the room at any given time," says Koteas. Unger is happy they're both losing their TV virginity together. "This is an exciting adventure for us," she says.
Michelle Borth (Hawaii Five-0'), Arnold Pinnock ('Life With Derek'), Luke Mably ('The Gates') and Terry Chen ('Almost Famous') round out the primary cast.
Also in the news today: Production on 'The Beautiful Life' gets delayed, while Sean Bean learns to play the 'Game.'
See more of today's top TV headlines after the jump.
Something was amiss during the last three seasons of Law & Order: SVU. With Mariska Hargitay's pregnancy leave, changes in Christopher Meloni's character, the introduction and departure of some cast members, and the demotion of Detective Munch to a desk, the show seemed to have lost its way. It was tough to watch as more melodrama seeped into the show and pushed away the criminal procedurals that have made this Law & Order franchise so popular.
However, change may be on the horizon. With the first two episodes of the tenth season now under their belt, there's a feeling of normalcy that has returned to the show. A sense that the producers may be done tinkering with the program for the time being, despite the introduction of Michaela McManus as new A.D.A Kim Greylek. Some melodrama is still there - they are human beings after all - but the cases are first and foremost for the show.
Adam Beach, who was also excellent in the Clint Eastwood feature Flags of Our Fathers as the troubled serviceman Ira Hayes, uncomfortable with the acclaim he received as one of the men who rose the flag at Iwo Jima, received a number of award nominations for his role on the HBO mini-series Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. It was on that project that he worked with producer Dick Wolf.
"From the first day I met him on the set of Bury My Heart, I was knocked out by his commitment, dedication and total immersion in the film's most crucial role," said Wolf.
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