It's shake-up time for Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Sources from the L&O galaxy say that stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian are expected to be phased out at various points during the series' upcoming ninth season.
Julianne Nicholson already has departed because she is having a baby. Executive producer Dick Wolf is turning to Jeff Goldblum, who joined the cast last season, to remain as lead detective in the series, along with Saffron Burrows, who was recently cast to replace Nicholson as Goldblum's partner.
It's a big change for a show that has weathered a lot of casting shifts since it began in 2001. D'Onofrio and Erbe have been there since the beginning, and Bogosian joined in 2006. Since then, the original pair have had to make room for Nicholson and Chris Noth, who left last year. Goldblum arrived in 2008.
D'Onofrio has been popular in his role. But L&O:CI is a USA Network show, after running on sister channel NBC. And USA, insiders point out, prefers lighter fare. Compared with D'Onofrio, Goldblum is more in the tradition of Tony Shalhoub's comic-dramatic Monk.
Details about D'Onofrio, Erbe and Bogosian's exits are still unclear as the actors' deals are being worked out. It's possible that D'Onofrio will reprise his character in guest stints.
The network only recently renewed the series for a ninth season, slated to premiere in late spring with a two-part episode.