By Michael Ausiello
Updated December 17, 2008 at 12:00 PM EST

Law & Order: CI

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New Law & Order: CI detective Jeff Goldblum may have just been handed his first major mystery: cracking the case of who knocked up his partner.

A CI spokesperson confirms to me exclusively that Julianne Nicholson is pregnant, and producers may incorporate her “condition” into the show. “At this point, there is no definitive plan,” says the rep. “The writers are weighing various options.”

Should they decide to let art imitate life for Nicholson’s Det. Wheeler, it won’t be too difficult to figure out who the daddy is; in last August’s season finale, we learned that Wheeler has a fiancé (played by the actress’ real-life hubby, British actor Jonathan Cake). We also subsequently learned that the FBI is after him for fraud, money laundering and racketeering, so adding a baby to the equation would certainly make things interesting.

A likelier scenario (it would seem) is that the powers that be will follow the template established by sister show SVU when its star, Mariska Hargitay, announced that she was expecting three years ago. In other words, they’d shoot around her protruding tummy, then use her maternity leave as an opportunity to stunt cast.

Of course, there’s no telling when any of this will play out on screen since USA Network has yet to announce a CI premiere date. Like last season, the show — which is midway through shooting its 16-episode eighth season — will have its first run on the cable net, followed by a second run on NBC.

This will be the second child for Nicholson and Cake; their son. Ignatius. was born in Sept. ’07.

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