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Dick Wolf says Skeet Ulrich's exit from 'Law & Order: L.A.' was 'very painful'

Dick Wolf, the creator of the "Law & Order" franchise, has seen more than his share of actors come and go from his dramas. But his decision to remove Skeet Ulrich from "Law & Order: L.A." was particularly hard.Dickwolf

"Sometimes someone has to die so that everyone else can live," Wolf said during a conference call to promote the April 11 return of the drama, which has been off NBC's schedule since last November. "It was a very, very painful call to make."

Wolf continually praised Ulrich, who was the first actor cast for the Los Angeles version of the landmark police/legal drama. Ulrich, who played a homicide detective, was one of the leads of the ensemble series.

But Wolf and Bob Greenblatt, NBCUniversal's new president of entertainment, agreed that the series was not living up to expectations, and that changes had to be made. Greenblatt told Wolf that the first half of the hour, which concentrates on the police investigation of the crime, was "not clicking."

Part of the problem was the rush to get the series on the air in time for the fall schedule. Wolf said some hasty decisions were made.

Greenblatt was also concerned about the handling of Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, who appeared in alternating episodes as deputy district attorneys. Greenblatt was bothered that "we had two world-class movie actors who we were only seeing half the time."

When "LOLA" (the informal name for "Law & Order: L.A.") returns, Molina, who plays deputy district attorney Ricardo Morales, will return to the police force as a detective. Molina and Howard, who plays Jonah Dekker, will now appear in each episode.

Wolf said the rhythm of the series "is different and better." He added that he would gladly work with Ulrich again in a situation that was a better fit for the actor. 

Said Wolf, "When something isn't working, it's my fault."

--Greg Braxton

 
Comments () | Archives (81)

Canceling the origional L&O and now this? What a disappointment! I was skeptical about LA but gave it a shot because of skeet -- but now they've lost me.

I just want to say that I think Skeet is sick, or having some kind of emotional/mental trauma. I saw it in his eyes the last couple episodes - and I just want to say that I hope I am wrong but CMON, why else would he look sick and be leaving?

Hope I am wrong!

You got it wrong Mr Wolf. Skeet was the reason LOLA was worth watching. You could have killed anyone else off barring Skeet & Molina. You sure hav e messed up and lost a regular Law & Order watcher who has been a fan for years. The network screwed up dropping the original and now the LOLA debacle. No longer a follower or a watcher....................c'est la vie.


The Terence Howard character shoulkd have been killed off

I am so sad that you have fired Skeet Ulrich, he is the reason I have watched the show. What ever bonehead wrote that script should be the one who is fired. I will now switch back to watching Castle.

Ooops! there they go messing things up again. The main reason for watching was Skeet Ulrich and his partner.

Well, I guess I can delete that from my DVR recording line up.

Watched the first hour and saw how Skeet was let go..... my opinion was letting him go was a BIG MISTAKE. Tried watching the second hour..... much too boring....at least there is always Hawaii 50 on the other station. Without Skeet to watch the LOLA isn't worth watching. ;-(

Gee,all the posts so far seem to be on the same page! It was not Skeet's fault by any means. He is the only reason I started watching to begin with. I thoroughly dislike Molina and he does not fit well with things at all. Changing his character will not make it sync better,especially if the show just plain sucks. I wanted it to work for Skeet,but I was unimpressed after episode one. This one is not even in the same league as say,SVU(the best). Skeet is better off with this behind him as far as I am concerned!

What a disappointment to see Skeet Ulrich killed off. I have watched every L & A throw off that has been brought out but the only reason I wanted to watch this one was because of Skeet. He is a great actor and more personable for the show then any of the others. I will not be watching it now.

I have to agree with all the comments. I also enjoyed Skeet in Jericho and was disapointed when it was cancelled. The problem is the the most networks do not give a show much of a chance to "hook" an audiance. I must admit that I tuned into this show because of the casting of Skeet, but how can you grow a following when you remove it from the airways for months. NBC needs to take a page from their sister network USA. They have some great shows and though theirs season are short, the network stands by their shows.

you are an idiot Wolf. Skeet has teh biggest fan base . No more Law and order LA for me

killing the best of the 2 detectives is a grievious mistake---he like LO-SVU HAS THE FAMILY VALUE ADDED PART OF THE FAMILY DETECTIVE AND BRINGS MY HEART into LO--YOU JUST KILLED THAT WITH GETTING THE KILL OFF THE ULRICH CHARACTER- HE WAS/IS MOST HANDSOME, HAS A FAMILY AND NOW HE IS DEAD--CLOSING OFF A GREAT PART OF THE SHOW. FOR WELL OVER 10 YRS I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING MULTIPLE LO SERIES AND THIS is THE MOST POOR DECISION I VIEW THAT YOU HAVE MADE. too bad you dudes fail to visualize a total concept----

karoljo@comcast.net

Mr. Wolf... What were you thinking! Skeet Ulrich was the best thing about the show. The "not clicking" isn't the first half hour it's the second. I didn't find Molina believable in his role as a DA and I'm finding him even less believable as a cop. This is just one more reason not to watch the yawnfest known as NBC.

I am really disappointed in the return of LOLA - not the same with Skeet gone. I enjoyed the earlier episodes and was waiting for it to return - until I found out you were killing Skeets character. The second episode was not worth watching. I think you made a big mistake in your casting.

I'm the only one in my family who has been a long time fan of all the Law and Order series. Because of Skeet Ulrich, my mom and I found one Law and Order show we could watch together. Where is the actor going next, because that's the show we will be looking forward to watching?

I like Molina. I like Howard. However, it was a stupid move to have Skeet Ulrich's character die. After all, he is the embodiment of a LA personality/character. I agree with others when it was hard to find the show due to various time slots, plus the script/s could be much stronger. The fault did not lie with Skeet Ulrich.

I kept hoping my leg was being pulled and that Jericho was just seriously wounded and that his demise was fake because of a twist in the plot to catch Cesar.

I hope you bring Jericho back from the dead.

I love Molina and Howard as actors and will watch anything with them in it, but the reason I started recording LOLA was because of Skeet. I protested and fought with others to keep "Jericho" on the air as long as we could and was excited that Skeet was back on TV. Now I'm not so sure anymore about continuing the show. My wife may watch, but I'll probably go read a book until Skeet lands another role.

For some reason my first comment has not been printed from 24 hours ago.
Skeet and the other detective were the best part of the show.
I was fine with Molina with only 3 minutes an episode.
Howard was ok but the second part of the show was poorly written.
I predict the show will be canceled before the rest of the episodes are shown.

I have enjoyed the new LA version of Law and Order, but I was disappointed to see the removal of a good actor,Skeet Ulrich. I read the reasons given and don't quite understand. Why not have the other detective killed off and do the story the same? I liked that you made Molina a detective and Howard the main attorney, but you could easily have kept Ulrich and taken the other actor. So what was the real reason you fired Ulrich?

What a HUGE mistake. Skeet was the only reason I watched LOLA. Love Skeet in everything I've ever seen him in. Can't stand Terrance Howard or Molina. Howard is just awful, and Molina is just a big zero. I was just starting to like Skeet's partner some, though. Had hope for him. Last night I watched until Skeet was shot - couldn't believe it. I switched channels at 10:33 pm and will never go back. Done with that show. What dummy made that decision?

I am so DISAPPOINTED! The ONLY, ONLY, reason I began seeing L&O:LA was because of SKEET ULRICH!! Now his charachter is gone & so am I!! Skeet is a great actor, I really only watched Jericho because of him & I also enjoyed his charachter in Scream. Seriously it was a really bad decision to kill off his character. The only way I'll watch this show again is if the writers bring Skeet Ulrich back, they can write him in by saying Det. Winters was in a coma but they said he was dead to protect him from the Mexican cartel & continue the story & bring Vargas to justice & leave Skeet Ulrich in & do away with Molina or even H. Terrence.

 
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