Ulrich Leaves ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles,’ Molina and Howard Take Center Stage

Published 3 years ago by , Updated January 16th, 2011 at 3:00 pm,

skeet ulrich law order Ulrich Leaves ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles, Molina and Howard Take Center Stage

The Law & Order franchise has made a habit of changing horses midstream and the latest iteration , it seems, is no different.

Law & Order: Los Angeles will undergo its first major restructuring since the premiere by replacing Skeet Ulrich with Alfred Molina—despite the fact Molina is already one of the program’s main characters.

Ulrich, who plays police detective Rex Winters, will leave the show after just 14 episodes, along with actresses Regina Hall and Megan Boone who both play lawyers. Come episode 15 Molina’s character, deputy district attorney Ricardo Morales, will make the leap from courtrooms to crime scenes as Law & Order: Los Angeles’ new lead detective.

So, how is this possible? The show plans to reveal that Molina’s character had been a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, achieving the rank of detective during his tenure. His dissatisfaction with the district attorney’s office ultimately causes him to return to police work.

The casting shakeup will essentially make leads of Alfred Molina and the man with whom he split his screen time: Terrence Howard. Howard’s character, John Dekker, also a district attorney, will now star in every episode, as opposed to alternating with Molina.

Series executive producer Dick Wolf described the situation by saying:

We have the fortune of two world-class actors on LOLA, and it was frustrating to have one on the bench every week. It would be like having Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as your quarterbacks, playing alternate games.”

No stranger to a revolving door of cast members, the Law & Order franchise seems to thrive by pulling out its mainstays and introducing new actors every so often. This time, however, it happened earlier than most expected. NBC’s sudden overhaul of its highest-rated drama is a risky move, but one that is fueled by the show’s ratings reaching a plateau.

law order los angeles 0 2010 fall television preview Ulrich Leaves ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles, Molina and Howard Take Center Stage

Fortunately, Corey Stoll, who plays Ulrich’s partner, will stay on with Molina. While there has yet to be an announcement of who will be joining Terrence Howard in the courtroom, producers are currently searching for an actress to fill Molina’s roll as Deputy District Attorney.

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Law & Order: Los Angeles moves to Tuesdays @10 p.m, on Feb. 8th.

Source: TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly

Law & Order: Los Angeles
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  1. does anyone really watch this #^(@ anymore??

  2. I watched a few times, but only for Skeet Ulrich. I won’t watch it all now that he’s gone.

    • Me too! I liked watching Skeet and liked his character. Not to mention he was the easiest on the eyes! I’m not watching anymore either.

  3. I’ve been a long time fan of the original, and was pretty disgusted with the last couple of seasons. I begrudgingly gave “L.A.” a shot, and was pleasantly surprised. As much as I like both Howard and Molina, I’m already discouraged now to see them shuffle the cast so quickly. I think the only worthwhile entry in the franchise now is the “U.K.” one on the BBC channel. If you haven’t seen it, they’re (so far) rewrites of original “L&O” episodes, though updated. But they show how much better Britain is at reimagining our shows than we’ve been at reimagining theirs. If you were ever a fan of the original series, give “U.K.” a shot.

  4. I liked the show and like ulrich too. Great article but sad news!

  5. I liked this the author comments are the greatest!

  6. Wait wait Molina and Howard are on Law & Order?! Man,I should turn on the tv once in awhile.

  7. I am a rabid L&O fan…. I watch it pretty much whenever it’s on, rerun or new episode. And I love L&O:SVU (yes, I love that series too).

    But for some reason, L&O:LA just never got me. It never FELT like a Law and Order show. There was something off-putting about it, an almost “CSI: Miami” look to it (minus the hand on the hip and the incessantly moving sunglasses).

    This massive change-over in actors doesn’t sound like good news for the show. I’m wondering if it just hasn’t caught on with the “real” Law & Order fans because of this radically different tone?

    • How come every time I start watching a show and fall in love with the characters, they go and take off my very favorite. why on earth did they kill off Skeet Ulrich?? He was really good and I liked the chemistry between he and his partner. Now I have to look at Alfred Molina every week? Yeah, he’s a good actor but I just don’t get Dick Wolfe. Does he think more ppl will watch now because he has “two world class actors”??
      If he had any sense he would have kept Skeet along with his partner,
      mad Molina the head ADA aka Fred Tomlinson on the original L&O, made
      Terrance Howard the lead ADA along with a female cast member and then
      everyone would be happy. I just don’t get their changing in the cast.
      Frankly it “pissed” me off and I won’t be watching anymore of L&O, LA.
      Hope Skeet gets another series soon, which I will be watching should that happen . Dick Wolfe sucks.

  8. Skeet was one of the reasons that I, like many people, tuned in the show. He was, in my view, absolutely brilliant, and now I’m having doubts about whether to continue with the show or not.

  9. PS: You need to correct this: It’s Megan Boone, not Boon.

    • Bill,

      Thanks for pointing that out, it’s been fixed. I hate when those get through.

      Vic

  10. Vic, thanks for that. I’ve been reading the site for ages, but I’ve only started posting recently. I don’t know if there are other “Bill”‘s on here, perhaps I should start using the name Bill M.

    In any case, keep up the good work, my man.

    I wonder if they’d consider bringing Ulrich back for a second run… they’ve done that before with Richard Brooks and Carey Lowell’s characters on the original, Stephanie March’s Alexandre Cabot on SVU, an most recently D’Onofrio and Erbe’s characters on CI.

    I hope we’ve not seen the last of Skeet’s Rex Winters.

  11. Has anyone ever heard of “quit while you are ahead”? Stop with all the Law and Order stuff. It USED to be good. It had its run, now stop it!

  12. You are kidding me Skeet is brilliant. Why dump him. I too only tuned in for him. He should go get a new show and they can wind up cancelling the show. That would show NBC does not have a clue.

  13. I only really watched for Skeet i loved L&O but i really did not like L&O LA after the first few episodes but i was going to continue to watch because of Skeet and hope that it got better as it went along but now that he is leaving i will stop watching after episode 14.

    • I agree with all of the above comments. I love Skeet and Terrence Howard.
      no accounting for what the networks and producers want. Skeet was super and to have him get shot and die in front of his little girl was the ultimate in bad taste.
      To top this off, just like White Collar(another fave of mine) is on at 10:00 Tuesdays against this Law & order LA, both are opposite The Good Wife which I will stay with hands down. It is terrific. but I certainly would have liked all three at different times and Skeet still in the mix.
      I do NOT record! and doubt I ever will.

  14. Skeet Ulrich is why I started watching. And Terence Howard is absolutely brilliant. I’ll prob still watch for Howard, but if they lose him too, i’m gone. They always get rid of the good ones.
    Jericho was an awesome show, very American, and made you remember what its like to be proud of that. But Hollywood, in all its wisdom, canned that.
    So now, we’ve canned a good actor, who actually made you believe. Way to go, Dick. (sarcasm dripping)
    Again, Howard is awesome and he will keep some of the ratings.

  15. I also only tuned in to LOLA to watch Skeet Ulrich. I missed him on Jericho and though his character was supposed to be the serious straight man and TJ was the sarcastic on and got all the lines, I thought it actually worked. They were developing a nice genuine chemistry and if the writers allowed Ulrich to inject just a bit of his real personality (which is quite engaging in interviews) then they would have kicked it up a notch. Howard is melodramatic and annoying on screen and should be cast in a soap opera. Molina is a strong actor and was the superior DA. They SHOULD have kept Molina as DA, booted Howard, kept Hall, Boone should have been a social worker and kept Ulrich and Stoll as partners. This is a horrendous cast shuffle and now they are trying to make amends by bringing in an original L&O cast member. Not going to work. Too little, too late in my opinion and without Ulrich, it isn’t worth tuning in for me. Why get attached to characters and their partnerships when they will be pulled FOR NO GOOD REASON in a few months? Bye Bye LOLA.

  16. I also agree with many of the above fans. No Skeet, no more LOLA for me. I was hoping when I read in the paper today that MAYBE. JUST MAYBE, some network had the gonads to bring Jericho back with the original cast and maybe that is why Skeet was leaving. But NO, more stupid network decisions. Why Do I Pay for cable and or dish when these people are so dumb. Maybe someone out there will see this and bring JERICHO back. However, I do like Stoll. He’s a very good actor and I wish him better success in network television than Skeet and Jericho got.

  17. I have watched all L&O since the beginning. I think I OD on the show and then I found Skeet. Fantastic actor, can play any scene too bad–you did it again—NO MORE L&O FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just got rid of the backbone of the show. Skeet would have carried the show for you. When you have a good show, a good actor quit while you have all the marbles. Hey, maybe you need better writers. Now I have to track down Skeet again and watch his new show.

  18. The show will not be good w/o Skeet!!! We only watched it because he was on it….so bye bye Law & Order: Los Angeles.

  19. I, too, am disappointed! Best wishes Skeet.

  20. Nobody’s gonna watch now that Skeet is gone. He was the main character of the show. Killing his character will kill the show for sure. Without Skeet there is no L&O:LA. Putting Howard as main character will not bring popularity to the show. Well there goes another L&O I’ll be cancelling. Thank God there’s still L&O:SVU with most of their original characters.

  21. Does anybody else ever notice that Terrence Howard always sounds like he’s about to cry when he talks?
    World Class Actor? Really?

  22. I’m a 20 year fan of the original Law & Order. I was very excited when L&O Los Angeles started up. We just started getting into the characters and the show’s format, then it disappeared for a long stretch. The show finally comes back with one of the worst episodes ever aired on tv. A police officer is gunned down in his own home in the arms of his very, very young daughter, then the show proceeds to rack up horrific deaths of children? What sick, twisted writer thought that one up? I now join the legions of viewers who have banned this show from our homes. We’ll stick with CBS, Fox, USA and TNT. Plenty of good shows on tv to watch with sinking to the muck that has become NBC.

  23. Dick wolf is a very talented man and this series was so refreshing and so disappointed that NBC cancelled this show
    I only hope it will be picked up on USA.

  24. I am from Australia and am very disappointed to see Skeet leave L&O LA. I won’t be watching anymore. The actors that play the DA’s are over the top and drive me insane I only liked the scenes played by the police and only tuned in for Skeet. I can’t understand why American series are dropped (Jehrico was fantastic), roles changed with no warning (I kept thinking they were just pretending Skeet’s character was dead as leverage)and other crap just keeps getting made. I am over it.

  25. It was a blessing that Skeet is no longer on this show. He is now making a movie,cant wait to see it.

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