LOS ANGELES — Changes are afoot at "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," with charter cast member Vincent D'Onofrio exiting the USA Network series and recent recruit Jeff Goldblum taking over full-time.
D'Onofrio's character, Detective Robert Goren, will say goodbye in a two-hour hand-off episode to open the ninth season early next year, "Criminal Intent" creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said Friday.
Goldblum, who joined the series last season, will continue as Detective Zack Nichols in the NYPD Major Case Squad.
"After eight seasons, and with the addition of Jeff Goldblum, now is the perfect time for me to explore other acting opportunities," D'Onofrio said in a statement.
He added, "I wouldn't be surprised if Goren pops up from time to time."
"Criminal Intent" premiered on NBC in 2001 with D'Onofrio as the series' sole lead. From 2005 through Goldblum's arrival, Chris Noth co-starred on an alternating basis with D'Onofrio.
USA became the series' primary outlet two years ago.
In another possible cast change next season, Goldblum could be joined by Saffron Burrows, replacing Julianne Nicholson, according to a person close to the production who spoke on condition of anonymity. The person, who is not authorized to speak publicly about casting, said Nicholson isn't expected to continue with the series. She has played Detective Megan Wheeler since 2006.
Burrows' credits include the film "The Bank Job."
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