'Criminal Intent' has a new captain

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio joining USA's drama series

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio has joined USA Network's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," completing the casting transformation on the police procedural for its upcoming ninth season.

She will play the new captain taking over the Major Case Squad on the Wolf Films/Universal Cable Prods. series.

Mastrantonio's character, who comes from a working-class background, succeeds Capt. Danny Ross (Eric Bogosian), who headed the division for the past three years, following the departure of Capt. James Deakins (original cast member Jamey Sheridan).

Mastrantonio is one of two new faces on "L&O: CI" for next season, joining Saffron Burrows. The hires follow the exit of four regulars on the show: original stars Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe as well as Bogosian and new mom Julianne Nicholson, who is being replaced by Burrows.

With the departure of D'Onofrio, the cop drama is taking on a lighter tone. It centers on Jeff Goldblum, whose character Zach Nichols becomes the squad's top detective.

Mastrantonio is not a stranger to police procedurals; she has recurred on CBS' "Without a Trace."

She also starred in the CBS/Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "The Russell Girl."
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