'Law & Order' Actress to Exit Show

'"Law & Order" (search) co-star Elisabeth Rohm (search) "may" leave the long-running drama in the middle of next season, NBC said yesterday.

Reacting to published trade reports that Rohm was exiting the show, NBC issued a statement saying that Rohm was returning this fall for at least 13 episodes — but "she may leave . . . to pursue other career opportunities."

Rohm has played assistant district attorney Serena Southerlyn since 2001 — the fifth ADA in the show's 15-year history, along with Richard Brooks, Jill Hennessy (search), Carey Lowell and Angie Harmon (search).

She'll hang around long enough to help ease the transition of new cast member Dennis Farina, who joins the show this season as Detective Joe Fontana.

"We knew [Rohm] had other career interests and opportunities, and she graciously agreed to stay through the transition with Dennis [Farina], for at least 13 episodes of the new season," show creator Dick Wolf (search) said.

"As everything in business comes full circle, I am certain to work with these wonderful people again," Rohm said. "It is because of 'Law & Order' that I have so many opportunities come my way."

"L&O" remains one of TV's top-rated dramas, despite many cast departures over the years — including Jerry Orbach (search), who's expected to star in the series' third spinoff, "Trial By Jury," in early 2005.

The show's other spinoffs are "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."