Harvey Keitel signs on for 'Life on Mars'

Actor to play head of homicide department

In his first major TV series role, Harvey Keitel has signed on to co-star on ABC's upcoming drama "Life on Mars."

Based on the British series, "Life on Mars" centers on a modern-day police detective (Jason O'Mara), who, after a car crash, finds himself mysteriously transported back to 1973 and still working as a detective.

Keitel will play Detective Gene Hunt, the hard-nosed, iron-fisted head of the homicide department who uses whatever means necessary to get criminals off the street, and to keep his detectives in step. The role has been recast.

Brooklyn born-and-raised Keitel brings an authentic New York feel of the 20th TV/ABC Studios series, which moved production to the Big Apple and is expected to begin shooting in early August.

Keitel joins another New York actor who recently came on board "Life on Mars," Michael Imperioli.

Keitel, who earned an Oscar nomination for his role in "Bugsy," most recently reprised his role as Sadusky in Disney's sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."

He is repped by ICM.