Credit: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Is he as good as Sam Waterston or the late Jerry Orbach? What about Mariska Hargitay or Vincent D’Onofrio?

As far as Dick Wolf is concerned, Julian McMahon – who stars in his latest cop drama FBI: Most Wanted for CBS – is among “a handful of people who are true TV stars.” Wolf told reporters Sunday in Pasadena, CA. that McMahon, 51, is in the same category as Waterston and the late Orbach – both of whom were on Law & Order – and Hargitay, who continues to star in Special Victims Unit. He also compared McMahon to D’Onofrio from Criminal Intent.

“Over the last 35 years of taping shows, I’ve had really great actors in many of them. The casts have been fantastic. I’ve worked with a handful of people who are true TV stars…there are not many actors and Julian is in that category. In my mind, he’s a major talented star.”

McMahon, best known for his memorable run on FX’s Nip/Tuck, plays veteran agent Jess LaCroix on FBI: Most Wanted. The show focuses on the Fugitive Task Force, which tracks notorious criminals. It also stars Keisha Castle-Hughes (Game of Thrones) and Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga).

“I’m very appreciative of being [named] in that category of actors,” the actor said, adding later, “I can’t believe [his good fortune]. I just wish Dick would get a hit. I’m playing around, obviously. We have been working our tails off in the last. year in the hope people would watch. This is a great show.”

FBI: Most Wanted premiered Jan. 7 to impressive ratings: Nielsen reports premiere ranks as this season’s most-watched one. According to live-plus-three-day results, the 10 p.m. drama averaged 9.67 million viewers — besting the premiere of Stumptown, which averaged 9.11 million after seven days of delayed viewing.

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