Turns out Chris Noth's return to the Law & Order franchise on this Sunday's episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent is just an appetizer. Fans of Noth's Det. Mike Logan, who starred on the original L&O for its first five seasons (1990-95) and can be seen practically every day in reruns, will be elated to know that he's returning to his old beat full time. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he'll star in roughly half of next season's 22-episode run of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, easing the workload of Vincent D'Onofrio's Det. Bobby Goren, who'll be the lead sleuth in the other 11 or so episodes.
D'Onofrio, who, unlike actors on other L&O shows, appears in nearly every scene of Criminal Intent, forced production delays last fall when he collapsed twice from exhaustion and had to be hospitalized. ''The hardest job in show business is being a single lead on an hour drama series,'' L&O creator and executive producer Dick Wolf told the Associated Press. ''Vincent has done an unbelievable job for the last four seasons, but after 3 1/2 years, the grueling pace finally took its toll.'' Wolf called Noth's return to the fold an ''ideal solution.''
Noth has, of course, become just as well known in recent years for his long run as Mr. Big, Sarah Jessica Parker's on-again, off-again, finally on-again beau on Sex and the City. In the last decade, he's put Logan's badge back on only once, for the 1998 TV movie Exiled, which saw Logan patrolling Staten Island. Welcome back to Manhattan, Mike.