Blue Bloods has found a new temporary partner for Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg). Marisa Ramirez (Against The Wall) has been cast for a five-episode arc playing Detective Maria Baez, who will be paired with Danny. The recurring gig comes with the possibility for Ramirez to continue as a regular next season. Ramirez’s first episode on Blue Bloods airs this Friday, and word of her casting started getting out as the network began to release images from the episode. Ramirez plays the third temporary partner for Danny this season, following a four-episode stint by Megan Ketch and a three-episode one by Megan Boone. They are filling the void left by the departure of series regular Jennifer Esposito who was put on an indefinite medical leave by Blue Bloods producer CBS TV Studios last fall and is unlikely to return to the show. Ramirez also recurs on ABC’s Body Of Proof this season.
EXCLUSIVE: Mehcad Brooks has become the first actor from a cancelled fall series to line up a new pilot gig. Brooks, who had been in demand since the cancellation of ABC’s My Generation, has been tapped to co-star on USA Network’s pilot Necessary Roughness. Meanwhile, Marisa Ramirez, Brandon Quinn and and Chris Johnson have joined Lifetime’s pilot Against the Wall. Roughness, from Sony TV, centers on tough, sexy Long Island divorcee Danielle Santino (Callie Thorne), who, to make ends meet, becomes the therapist for a professional football team and quickly becomes sought after by other athletes, musicians, politicians and those living in the spotlight. Brooks will play one of her clients: a star wide receiver for the Hawks who has been unable to hold onto the ball recently while regularly getting into trouble with the law. Initially pissed about being forced into counseling with Dani, he winds up bonding closely with her. Brooks, who had a memorable season-long arc on HBO’s True Blood as Eggs, is repped by Innovative and Mosaic.
Dustin Clare, a virtual unknown in the U.S., but a popular TV actor in his native Australia, has landed the lead in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Starz’s six-part prequel to hit series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Jaime Murray and Marisa Ramirez are set to co-star in the prequel, which focuses on the House of Batiatus in its pre-Spartacus days and chronicles the rise of Gannicus (Clare), the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua. Returning to reprise their roles from Spartacus: Blood and Sand are Lucy Lawless (Lucretia), John Hannah (Batiatus), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus) and Manu Bennett (Crixus). Murray, repped by Gersh and Luber Rocklin, will play Gaia, Lucretia’s (Lawless) friend and a Capua social climber. Ramirez will play a beautiful slave girl with complicated relationships. Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield will appear briefly in the prequel, which is slated to begin production in August in New Zealand for a January premiere on Starz. Whitfield, who plays the title character of Spartacus, will then rejoin the show in season two, which is set to begin production later this year. Whitfield, Lawless, Hannah, Spartacus: Blood and Sand co-star Viva Bianca and executive producer/head writer Steven S. DeKnight will be on hand for the series’ panel at Comic-Con on July 23.