Kim Delaney, Scott Bakula, and Dana Delany lead our picks for new series success

By Ken Tucker
Updated September 07, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Philly: Ron Tom/ABC

One of the pleasures of TV is watching some of your favorite stars pop up in new roles — tackling new characters, morphing their established images. Like, for instance:

Kim Delaney, ”Philly” The widowed cop on ”NYPD Blue” is now a divorced lawyer on ABC’s ”Philly,” and since this is also a Steven Bochco show, it means there are lots of blue remarks about how good Delaney’s character looks in a skirt. The Philadelphia-set show is derivative of some other Bochco efforts, but Delaney gets to show more emotional range — she smiles! she jokes! — than she did at her old job.

Jill Hennessy, ”Crossing Jordan” Hennessy, freed from being grim alongside Sam Waterston in ”Law & Order,” literally lets her hair down in this new NBC drama about a forensic investigator who breaks rules and talks saltily. Her show trades a little on the popularity of ”CSI,” and I don’t know what the title means — her character’s name is Jordan, but, what, we’re not supposed to CROSS her? Still, Hennessy proves she’s got personality to burn.