"Law & Order," which is as famous for its periodic cast shakeups as it is for its longevity, is shuffling the deck once again.
Dennis Farina, who's played NYPD Detective Joe Fontana on "L&O" since 2004, is turning in his badge. Farina has been a regular for the past two seasons and is leaving the show to pursue other projects, several news reports say.
"Dennis is the consummate professional, and I respect his decision to pursue other opportunities, and he will be sorely missed," "Law & Order" creator/executive producer Dick Wolf says. "I genuinely hope we work together again."
As of Wednesday morning, NBC hadn't announced a replacement for Farina, but The Hollywood Reporter says that Milena Govich -- who starred in Wolf's now-cancelled "Conviction" this season -- is joining the cast. She's reportedly being considered to play either the detective who replaces Fontana as Ed Green's (Jesse L. Martin) partner or as a new member of the force.
If the former turns out to be true, Govich would be the first woman to play one of the two primary detectives on the show -- though not its first female cop. S. Epatha Merkerson, the longest-serving current regular on "Law & Order," has played Lt. Anita Van Buren since the 1993-94 season.
Govich played Assistant District Attorney Jessica Rossi on "Conviction," which looked at the lives of young prosecutors in the Manhattan DA's office. The show ran for 13 episodes this spring but wasn't picked up for a second season.
"Law & Order," which will begin its 17th season in the fall on a new night, Friday, is also looking for a replacement for Annie Parisse. She played ADA Alexandra Borgia for the past season and a half, but her character was killed in the season finale.
Farina Off the Case at 'Law & Order'
'Conviction' star may fill his spot
Dennis Farina on 'Law & Order'