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    Forlani Hits "CSI: NY" Scene

    Can we get another pair of latex surgical gloves here?

    CSI: NY has become the latest crime procedural to engage in a little summer cast-shuffling, with an announcement coming Thursday that Claire Forlani has signed on to play the investigative team's new medical examiner, Dr. Peyton Driscoll.

    Forlani fills the feminine shoes vacated by Vanessa Ferlito, whose Detective Aiden Burn was killed off last season, devastating sharp-yet-troubled squad leader Mac Taylor, played by Gary Sinise. But brighter days are in store for Mac, as Peyton is set to be his love interest as well as his go-to girl to find out a victim's cause of death.

    The 34-year-old Forlani is no stranger to playing a doctor. The British actress donned a white coat and became intimately involved with death--literally--in Meet Joe Black, costarring Brad Pitt as a disarmingly handsome version of the Grim Reaper.

    She most recently appeared in an episode of TNT summer anthology series Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes, in which she played a newlywed on one hell of a bad honeymoon.

    CSI:NY's--and Forlani's--season premiere is Sept. 21. The third and most violent installment of the powerhouse CSI franchise debuted in 2004 to strong ratings and complaints that, well, it was too violent. Apparently people who tune in each week to see a minutely rendered image following a bullet's path through a human skull want their graphic violence to be delivered in bite-size packages.

    Anyway, CBS toned the grimness factor down a notch last season and all seems well again in ratings-juggernaut land. CSI:NY also stars Melina Kanakaredes, Hill Harper and Eddie Cahill.

    The Law & Order trio is undergoing a few changes before the fall season begins, as well. In addition to a schedule shake-up (the mothership moves to Friday nights, Law & Order: Criminal Intent will air before SVU on Tuesdays), a couple of precincts had to be re-staffed.

    All My Children actress Alana de la Garza joins the season 17(!) cast as Assistant District Attorney Connie Rubirosa, Executive ADA Jack McCoy's latest comely partner in crime-fighting, and Milena Govich (who starred in the short-lived Conviction) replaces Dennis Farina as the partner of Jesse L. Martin's Detective Ed Green.

    Gladiator queen Connie Nielsen will fill in for new mommy Mariska Hargitay for a string of episodes on Law & Order: SVU this fall.

    And finally, over in Criminal Intent land, Courtney B. Vance and Jamey Sheridan left after five seasons and Annabella Sciorra has gone missing after only one. Kinsey actress Julianne Nicholson will play Chris Noth's partner, Eric Bogosian will head up the Major Case Squad, and Theresa Randle is the new assistant district attorney.