Kevin Dillon made a rare appearance on last week's 'NYPD Blue.' Will his character be back?
Credit: Henry McGee

That rookie cop who accidentally shot an off-duty officer (resident racist Shamansky) in last Tuesday’s “NYPD Blue” was — in case you didn’t catch the credits — Kevin Dillon, Matt’s curly-topped kid brother. Although “Blue” normally doesn’t use recognizable faces in bit parts (“That’s more a ‘Touched by an Angel’ thing to do,” says casting director Scott Genkinger), series cocreator David Milch made an exception for Dillon.

Although the show was intended as a one-episode gig for Dillon, don’t be surprised to see a repeat appearance by his character, Officer Baker. “David and Steven Bochco remember people, and then out of the blue, they’ll rekindle a character,” says Genkinger. “The Shamansky character was originally written for only one show, and now he’s done three.”

How times have changed. These days, doing a small role on a TV series — especially an Emmy-winning drama — is no longer the sign of a movie career gone bad. “If it’s a show of this caliber, I would absolutely suggest that a client do a guest appearance,” says personal manager Joan Hyler, whose clients include Alyssa Milano and “Blue”‘s own Sharon Lawrence. “TV is now perceived as a perfect way to showcase talent and to revitalize careers. In an age when Julia Roberts will do a ‘Friends’ episode to support her favorite show, anything goes.”

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