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Alfred Molina gets a new beat and becomes a cop on 'Law & Order: LA'

January 12, 2011 |  6:16 pm

QUCAC5LV22CAJWF1Q2CA3M9LPKCAB63JW6CAGW7202CANYR6I9CAP92M2OCAR56T80CA43H2IACA510VXKCAH9HFT1CAE6JE9UCA4C9WJ0CAY8AY6FMOLINA Alfred Molina, who plays deputy district attorney Ricardo Morales on NBC's "Law & Order: Los Angeles" is getting ready to walk a beat.

Molina's character, who was a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department before moving to the justice system, is returning to the force as a detective, said series creator Dick Wolf. Molina will replace Skeet Ulrich, who is leaving the drama.

Terrence Howard, who alternated episodes with Molina in his role as deputy district attorney Jonah Dekker, will now appear in each episode of the series.

"We have the fortune of two world-class actors on LOLA [the informal name of " Law & Order: Los Angeles"], and it was frustrating to have one on the bench each week," said Wolf in a statement. "It would be like having Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as your quarterbacks, playing alternate games." [Updated on Jan 13: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Peyton Manning's name and has been corrected.]

Under the scenario, Morales' return to the police force is fueled by his frustration as a prosecutor, which has reached "the tipping point."

--Greg Braxton

Photo: Alfred Molina. Credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images