maggie wheeler law and order

The Law & Order universe is once again growing in size, as this year will usher in the latest courtroom-bound spinoff Law & Order: True Crime - The Menendez Murders. Because there's hardly a better way to introduce a new show than with familiar faces, the new project just tapped a franchise vet as a co-lead, and fans will once again see Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Julianne Nicholson busting criminals for primetime NBC.

In what is perhaps a surprising decision, Law & Order's newest entry won't bring Julianne Nicholson back to reprise her former role, as can often be the case when franchise vets pop back into the fold. No, instead of her Criminal Intent role of Detective Megan Wheeler, Nicholson will portray Jill Lansing, the loyal and brainy defense team partner of Edie Falco's Leslie Abramson, according to Deadline. We likely won't see anything too damning from Lansing, as she was/is a sympathetic person, and her professionalism showed no cracks during the trials of Erik and Lyle Menendez.

Julianne Nicholson is only the latest TV vet to join the cast of this initial season of Law & Order: True Crime, which will take on a different case in Season 2, assuming it does well enough to earn a renewal. Edie Falco leading the series is a good sign, as she spent years as a praise magnet for The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie, and ER vet Anthony Edwards was recently tapped to play Judge Stanley Weisberg, whose relationship with Abramson was all but heavenly. Soap opera actor Miles Gaston Villanueva will play Lyle Menendez, while Power's Gus Halper will portray brother Erik.

Julianne Nicholson's fans will know that this will actually be her third role within the overall Law & Order-verse, and the fifth time she's worked on a show created by Dick Wolf. The actress landed a role on the original flagship drama back in 2001 as the one-off character Jessie Lucas. Before that, one of her earliest jobs acting was on the Wolf-created drama New York Undercover, and then in 2006, she had a regular role on the short-ilved drama Conviction. In the years between Criminal Intent and Menendez Murders, Nicholson has worked on Boardwalk Empire, Masters of Sex and last year's one-and-done USA drama eyewitness. Always on the right side of the law, this one.

While no specific premiere date has been set just yet, Law & Order: True Crime - The Menendez Murders will make its big debut on NBC this fall. While waiting to get more details, head to our summer TV schedule to see what other new and returning series the small screen will offer in the coming months.

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