Add Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg to the long list of thespians who’ve turned to a TV crime procedural to help them escape typecasting hell. (I like to think of it as the Michael Gross Method.) Goldberg has signed on for what’s being billed as a possible multi-episode arc on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where she’ll play a malevolent foster mom.

“Whoopi never gets to be the bad guy,” says Fred Berner, the show’s executive producer, clearly choosing to overlook the psychic damage inflicted on the public by the actress’s self-titled 2003 sitcom. Still, I think it’s a smart move for Goldberg, and it makes me wonder why other stereotyped actors don’t use TV guest spots to show off their range. In fact, maybe it’s time for Chazz Palminteri to play a gay hobo on My Name Is Earl.

addCredit(“Whoopi Goldberg: Steve Granitz/”)

On that same note, what small-screen cameos would you suggest for other pigeonholed stars? David Schwimmer is standing by for your advice!