Dennis Farina Turns in 'Law & Order' Badge

Dennis Farina is leaving NBC's crime drama "Law & Order" after two years, while Milena Govich, who co-starred in "Conviction," Dick Wolf's midseason drama for NBC, has come on board Wolf's flagship "L&O" series.

On "L&O," from Wolf Films and NBC Universal Network TV, Farina played Detective Joe Fontana, who investigated crimes and apprehended suspects with partner Edward Green (Jesse L. Martin).

"Dennis is the consummate professional, and I respect his decision to pursue other opportunities, and he will be sorely missed," Wolf said. "I genuinely hope we work together again."

Farina had succeeded longtime "L&O" star Jerry Orbach, whose character on the show, Detective Lennie Briscoe, transitioned to Wolf's "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" until Orbach's death in late 2004.

Govich is said to be considered for two roles on "L&O" -- the new partner of Detective Green and a new cop joining the department -- with sources indicating that she likely would fill the void left by Farina and work alongside Martin.

Reps for Dick Wolf and NBC Uni TV declined comment on the issue Tuesday.

Farina's departure and Govich's hire are part of a major talent overhaul of the 16-year-old series that also includes the exit of Annie Parisse, who played Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Borgia.

After airing Wednesdays since its launch in 1990, "L&O" will move to Friday in the fall.

Farina recently wrapped the indie "You Kill Me" and also appears in Edward Burns' "Purple Violets."

Govich, who guest-starred on "L&O" in 2005, also had a recurring role on FX's "Rescue Me."

She is repped by the Gersh Agency and Bleecker Street Entertainment.

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Nellie Andreeva writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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