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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)

You should check with your audience before making such inane decisions. Skeet Ulrich has a huge fan base, Molina does not. The lack of viewers had NOTHING to do with Skeet Ulrich and everything to do with the irregular placement of this program and lack of promotion. Skeet Ulrich was a perfect fit...young....sexy....excellent acting...interesting to younger viewers. You are not going to get that with an older character. You lost this viewer for sure.

You made a big mistake killing Skeet Ulrich off. Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina are just bad. bad.bad.
I have seen every Law and Order since the beginning. (and that's a lot of shows!!)
You can consider me gone..... as Skeet was the only reason I watched.
big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!

I absolutely loved Skeet Ulrich. He made the show!!!! He is the reason I got involed in Law & Order LA. I am sick about this so please bring him back. You can do it. Anything is possible.

You could have faked his death to protect his family for awhile etc. etc. ????????????

Please bring him back. I am such fan.

I can't believe they killed Skeet. If someone had to go, why not the other detecttive? Who is he anyway? Skeet certainly was not the problem. He, along with the gorgeous and talented Terrence Howard, are the only reason I watch. ( I still miss the Original L&O.. where's McCoy?) I did not like the alternating DA arrangement. More Terrence is just fine with me, but I need Sleet Ulrich back from the dead! I am a hugh Law & Order fan, but if Terrence leaves, so will I. Please rewrite the script and bring Skeet back or give him his own show. Thanks.

There was nothing wrong with Skeet in his role on LOLA that I could see.
He was the main reason I watched the show!
Won't be watching no more. :(

So, the "bigger" names stay on the show while the better actor is axed? Isn't that how it always goes?

I completely disagree with the idea that Howard and Molina were "world class actors". I could tolerate each of them. I liked Howard because of his Iron Man role, nothing else. But my point is that I'd rather have Skeet Ulrich and get rid of both... But to tell you the truth I have no reason to even watch the show anymore. I also watched because I liked the on detective's Moustache but that is gone now as well. But for me, it comes down to this, now that Skeet Ulrich is gone, so am I.

I am not watching anymore. I only watched because of Skeet. Should have fired the dude that was his partner. Nunya, they got rid of him because they decided the show needed a revamp, didn't read anything about him being sick on any story I googled

Wrong decision to replace Skeet U. He was the #1 reason to watch LOLA. Terrence Howard was the 2nd, Molina is no slouch either. Now, I'll still watch the show, but with much resentment that Skeet U was replaced FAR TOO EARLY. I still miss Jericho, Skeet U held that show too. Has anyone REALIZED what a superb dramatic actor he is & continues to be (not to mention how handsome he is) and find out HIS take on this totally erroneous decision? L&O, in it;s glory, has really astounded us all on this folly, and probably has lost an audience that EXPECTED MORE and was told so, I am dumbfounded and the producers will be haunted by it for the length of the series. Too late to bring him back now. Why kill the character? A younger audience (like my daughter who is an avid CSI fan ) loved LOLA and agreed to keep watching, now she WON'T .the lead characters are "too old again"...Her CSI is another over evolved and draining experiment in keeping a series too long) Her friends were just beggining to enjoy w/us L&O Faithful (Loved that!), but it was not meant to be...again, am I surprised and resent that shows that POSESS real promise in their infancy, are still marked forever by a poor show development decision. Shame on you for fooling your audience and a top notch actor , so that another show will eventually bring his many dramatic acting talents to their rightful fruition .

In reading my recent comments on Mr. Wolf's "painful decision to have Skeet Ulrich "exit"" the new series, I want to finish (sorry 'bout that) my thoughts on how they have now lost a younger TARGET AUDIENCE, due this blasphemy in not having a younger detective in the lead. Granted, detective experience is a acquired later in years as a a cop or detective, but, realistically, that is life. This is where Skeet and his role were a significant 'breath of fresh air', so needed to continue LOLA., or, for that matter, ALL of L&O. Don't let CSI win, due to their younger actors(...I bet even that the other actors in the other L&O's were surprised!) All I am asking is that the author of this article (really!) let both NBC and Mr. Wolf KNOW OUR COMMENTS, as well as the postings heretofore. We know no one is perfect, but this has seiously put the series in a quagmire....hope it can handle the recovery. After all, we , as your remaining faithful audience, PUT L&O in it's glory, as it deserves. Thanks

I thought the show was fine. I wish Skeet wasn't let go but I'm still lovin' the show. The only thing I'm not lovin' is that it was moved to Monday. It was great having LOLA & SVU on back to back on Wednesdays. Fortunately, LOLA gets played again that Saturday so I'm not missing out. If it wasn't for Saturdays, I'd be pissed....

I agree with many posters here. I enjoyed Skeet Ulrich. I've been a long time L&O fan but am disappointed Ulrich is gone. Too bad, I thought he was one of the bright spots of the new LA series.

It was not Skeet it was the show, the only reason I watched like so many, many others is because of Skeet, I am not watching any more, it isn't the same, and it will go no where, you just needed some thing to give Skeet so he could act, there was nothing there for him, the last epeisode was the best, because you showed him as a family man, give him a good script you have got something.. he had no where to go in L. A..

The best part of the show were the dectives, especially Skeet Ulrich. With having some of the greatest writers, I am surprised that this was the only thing they were able to come up with. I really think Terrence Howard is over acting, he doesn't seem like the role and he fit together and Alfre Molina is really boring and unbelievable in both of his roles on that series. Too bad there are no "do overs".

I wont watch anymore without skeet. Why does he have to get the shaft? Why couldnt they hire people more fitting for him?

I agree with everyone else. It was not Skeet Ulrich who destroyed the show. He was the only reason I watched it. You must find a reason to bring him back; maybe he has been undercover to catch Vargas? I will not be watching the show again. There are other shows worth watching.

with Skeet gone, I am, too. No longer watch.

R u serious. Not an addict fan of Law and Order series but i started getting into it because of Skeet Ulrich. Loved him in Jericho and i was getting into L & O because of him. Oh well! back to NCIS and the good wife.

First time ever commenting on any TV program, but, I think Wolf made a mistake. Skeet Ulrich was one of the best on the show. He played the perfect detective.
Tom

I loved Skeet Ulrich on Law & Order: L.A. He was a good actor and brought a lot to his role. He was the main reason I watched the show.

I was surprised when Skeet left. Actually, I didn't know that he was basically kicked off of the show. I've seen the latest shows without Skeet and they don't click. I'm not a fan anymore. They should have canned the other detective (I don't know is name). He wasn't as good as Skeet.

 
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