'Criminal Intent' Makin' Whoopi

Whoopi Goldberg has not often played the villain in her career, your opinion of "Eddie" or "Made in America" notwithstanding.

But she'll get to do just that on NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" later this season. The Oscar and Emmy winner will play a "foster mother gone very bad" in an episode scheduled for May sweeps. It will also feature a crossover appearance by "Law & Order" veteran S. Epatha Merkerson as Lt. Anita Van Buren.

"I love the show and have wanted to come on forever," Goldberg says. "I told the writers, 'I want to be dead-eye bad,' so I hope they're ready for my 'Criminal Intent.'"

Goldberg's character, Chelsey Watkins, will become a nemesis for Chris Noth's Detective Mike Logan. NBC is keeping quiet about the details of her particular brand of evil, though executive producer Fred Berner allows that "she'll be the baddest" of bad guys in the "CI" universe. The part is projected to be a recurring one for Goldberg.

The role is Goldberg's first network prime-time gig since her sitcom "Whoopi" aired on NBC two seasons ago. Her other recent credits include the HBO special "Whoopi: Back to Broadway" and voice work on the movies "Doogal" and "Racing Stripes."

An airdate for her episode of "Criminal Intent" hasn't been set.

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