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'Law & Order' loses another star, and here comes 'Lost'

Rick Kushman
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

TV is reaching just about full strength after the writers' strike - you can decide if that's good or bad - as a handful of big shows come back over the next few days, including my current addiction, "Lost," on Thursday.

But first, fans of "Law & Order" say goodbye to an old friend as Jesse L. Martin (Detective Ed Green) leaves the show. He'll get a free turkey and a $1,000 shopping spree as the one millionth actor to depart.

Or it seems that way. "L&O" is in its 18th season, and no show on TV has had characters come and go like this one. The new detective, played by Anthony Anderson, joins the cast as the 25th series regular. He gets a turkey, too.

"Law & Order" is as much a habit, a familiar if well-executed dance, as it is a whodunit with a legal twist. And the odd, quirky or revealing send-off is a part of that dance.

Elisabeth Rohm, who played Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn, had the all-time, out-of-left-field departure in 2005. She was fired by the DA, and with about 15 seconds left in her career on "L&O," asked him, "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" No, she was told. Good, she said. Say what?

Martin is a class act, as an actor and a person. He's leaving the series to star in a coming feature film about Marvin Gaye, and if you're worried about his musical chops, Martin was in the original Broadway cast of "Rent," and left "L&O" for a few months recently (he was conveniently shot and hospitalized) to make "Rent's" film version.

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And now, for "Lost," which returns Thursday. I dunno what's going on.

There's some kind of weird warp in the space-time continuum or something. Someone - maybe even Ben - staged finding a fake Oceanic flight 815 deep in the Pacific; the "rescuers" - maybe good, maybe bad - are heavily armed; Michael is on the freighter following orders from Ben; Sayid gave him up; Rousseau got shot; Jin apparently dies in the future; Sun has her baby; Locke's group is heading for war with someone; Ben and Sayid work together in the future killing people; the Others are still out there; Kate's got a baby in the future; Jack acts like a baby; we think we know who become the Oceanic Six; we've seen Hurley in a suit; why can Locke walk?; where do the visions come from?; what was with the four-toed foot?; what about the smoke monster?, and I'm saying it again: No one better touch Vincent the dog. While we're at it, is he having visions like everyone else? Probably sees peanut butter doggie treats.

That's where I'm at. Confused, which is my normal state, except with "Lost," it's way more fun. Guess that's why I love the show.

And just a scheduling heads-up. "Lost" moves an hour later starting Thursday (to 10 p.m. on ABC), after the returns of "Ugly Betty" (at 8 p.m.) and "Grey's Anatomy" (at 9 p.m.).

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Another heads-up on a scheduling change. Networks do this switching thing all the time. It's to make sure you're annoyed and miss your shows.

NBC has "30 Rock" and "Scrubs" swapping slots starting Thursday. So "Scrubs" will now air at 8:30 p.m. and "30 Rock" starts at 9:30 p.m., which is the good spot right after "The Office" (at 9 p.m.).

___

Finally, we've got a bit of What'd They Do to My Show? action.

Fox renewed "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But, no, I'm not going to say "She'll be back." That would be too cheap, even for me.

Please stop asking. Fox's "House" has new episodes starting Monday (at 9 p.m.). This is a hit show. It will not get canceled.

FX has not said when "Rescue Me" will return, but it is coming back sometime. Maybe late summer or fall. Maybe winter. Sometime.


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