“Law & Order” star Dennis Farina won’t be back next fall, the show’s producers confirmed Tuesday.
Farina spent two years on the skein as Det. Joe Fontana; he becomes the second thesp to depart before the “L&O” mothership returns for a 17th season. Fellow cast member Annie Parisse’s character, Assistant D.A. Alexandra Borgia, was killed in the show’s season finale.
Farina was tapped two years ago to fill the void upon the departure of longtime “L&O” star Jerry Orbach (who left to join “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” but passed away soon into his run there).
“Law & Order” exec producer Dick Wolf called Farina “the consummate professional.”
“Dennis and I have known each other since the mid-1980s and we’d been trying to figure out a way to work together for almost 20 years,” Wolf said. “Dennis had been reluctant to work on a weekly series, but when the opportunity arose to join the cast of ‘Law & Order,’ it was an easy yes.”
Wolf has promised to make some cast changes this fall on “L&O.” The show departs its longtime Wednesday night home for a Friday 10 p.m. slot next season.
Farina’s upcoming feature gigs include the indie film “You Kill Me,” with Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson, and the feature “Purple Violets,” from scribe-helmer Ed Burns. Farina’s known for the features “Get Shorty,” “Midnight Run” and “Out of Sight.”