'Sopranos' star joins cast of ABC drama

Michael Imperioli has joined the cast of ABC’s quirky drama “Life on Mars.”

In the adaptation of the hit BBC series, the former “Sopranos” star will play Det. Ray Carling, a not-so-politically correct tough-guy colleague to Jason O’Mara’s Sam, the cop who finds himself mysteriously sent back in time to the early 1970s to find a serial killer.

“Mars” has taken a circuitous trajectory to become one of the few shows announced for the Alphabet’s fall sked. A year ago, ABC was looking to put the series on the air with “Boston Legal” creator David E. Kelley — who owns the U.S. adaptation rights — as exec producer through 20th Century Fox TV.

Kelley has departed as the full-time showrunner on the project, and in May, “Mars” shifted to become an ABC Studios/20th Century Fox TV/ABC Studios co-production. O’Mara has been kept on, but ABC has been making changes with regard to other cast members from the original pilot. Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg have taken over as showrunners; the trio previously spearheaded the ABC drama series “October Road.”

Imperioli recently wrapped shooting on Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones.”

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