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Bergen a ‘Legal’ eagle

Former 'Brown' heads to 'Boston'

In her first regular role since retiring “Murphy Brown,” Candice Bergen is set to join the cast of ABC’s David E. Kelley drama “Boston Legal.”

Bergen will be trading one courtroom for another. She recently wrapped up a recurring role on NBC’s upcoming Dick Wolf entry “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” which bows this winter.

Thesp will play Shirley Schmidt, a partner in the “Boston Legal” law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt, starting with the series’ 12th episode.

Bergen’s character returns to the firm in order to bring some stability to what has turned into a chaotic office. Once back, she immediately butts heads with colleagues Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner).

“We had our Crane, we had our Poole, but we could never get our Schmidt together,” Kelley said. “Now we have, with Candice Bergen.”

ABC ordered a full season of “Boston Legal,” which comes from 20th Century Fox TV and Kelley.

Separately, actress Lake Bell, who plays Sally Heep on “Boston Legal,” has departed the series.

Besides Spader and Shatner, the show stars Mark Valley, Monica Potter, Rene Auberjonois and Rhona Mitra.

Bergen most recently guested on the original “Law & Order” as Judge Amanda Anderlee, a role she’ll carry over to “L&O: Trial by Jury.” The actress also held a recurring role on “Sex and the City” as Carrie’s editor, Enid Mead.

Other recent credits include the CBS telepic “Footsteps,” as well as features “The In-Laws,” “View From the Top” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” She spent 10 seasons on the hit CBS laffer “Murphy Brown.”

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