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Some series take ages to get from the concept stage to the actual pre-production of the first season, but all it really takes is Dick Wolf and the city of Chicago to grease up the fast track to development. Right around a month after talks surfaced about the legal world spinoff Chicago Law (tentative title), the already-ordered series has landed its leading man – and boy, is it a good one – as Strike Back’s Philip Winchester has signed on to star.
Unfortunately, the show is still in its earliest stages, so not a lot of details have come out about the plot for Chicago Law. Scratch that: no details have come out, beyond the general subject of lawyers and courtrooms getting the same treatment that the other Chicago shows bring to their occupational fields. All this means we’re not quite sure who Winchester will be playing, but he’s probably going to wear some nice clothes and keep his important effects inside a briefcase.
Philip Winchester’s addition is certainly great news for Chicago Law and the show’s future fanbase, but it’s a blow to fans of the actor who wanted him to continue building his epic and action-oriented job slate. With his first TV lead as the titular hero in NBC’s Crusoe, Winchester landed the badassery-oozing role of Michael Stonebridge in Cinemax’s Strike Back while picking up other roles on Camelot, Fringe, 24: Live Another Day, to name a few. His last gig was also for NBC opposite Wesley Snipes in the short-lived action thriller The Player, which was pretty great if you suspended every iota of disbelief. But maybe Winchester’s transition to presumed-lawyer won’t be so jarring.
It sounds like Winchester was almost destined to land on Chicago Law, regardless of anything else happening. According to Deadline, NBC execs were quite impressed with Winchester on The Player and were extremely interested in keeping him on the network. As the actor was making the pilot season decision about where he wanted to put his attention, NBC apparently stepped in and gave him an offer to lead the spinoff. One that was apparently too good to refuse.
Now that Philip Winchester is locked and loaded to head up the legal drama – pun admittedly intended – I can’t wait to see who else gets added. The Chicago franchise isn’t exactly packed with household names, and Winchester probably isn’t one either for many people. But whoever gets cast, we’ll probably get to know a few of them before Chicago Law even premieres, as some characters will be introduced through Chicago P.D. for proper set-up purposes.
No premiere date is set just yet for Chicago Law, but we can expect it to hit NBC for the fall season.