'Dr. Quinn, Murderer
by Diane Clehane

February 6, 2004 -- Jane Seymour is coming back to primetime TV - as a killer. The ageless actress best known as the good-hearted "Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman" is making her first television series appearance since her popular CBS show ended in 1998. She will guest star in this week's "Law & Order SVU" as a Manhattan socialite with murder on her mind.

The show's storyline, which airs during the network sweeps, is based on a real-life case involving a man leading a double life whose secrecy proves disastrous for his two families. Seymour plays the wronged wife.

When executive producer Ted Kotcheff offered Seymour the role as the shocked spouse, he didn't realize how close to home the story hit with the actress.

"Suddenly a bombshell hits, and the bottom falls out of her life," said Seymour. "I can understand it because I've been there."

Seymour, married to actor and director James Keach since 1993, divorced David Flynn when she discovered he had a serious drug problem - among other things.

"My situation wasn't as dire, but it's the same concept - that you believe you understand and know your life, and all of a sudden something happens and then you realize you don't know what and who to trust anymore," said the actress.

Seymour's life may have been filled with drama but her career has - until now - been filled with happy heroines.

"I've been told by producers they like to cast me in those roles because I fall in love beautifully" said Seymour.

That's why she jumped at the chance to play against type in "SVU." But this isn't the first time she's played a dark character. "I've played a serial killer and all sorts of bad characters. My husband thinks I do those parts really well," said the actress with a laugh.

Seymour, who has stayed busy since leaving "Doctor Quinn" with a burgeoning career as an artist and designer, isn't ruling out a return to her television roots.

"I never say never," she said, when asked if she'd like to do another series. Later this year the actress will star in a movie for Court TV, but the queen of the mini-series said that it has become harder and harder to find roles that interest her.

"They aren't doing big movies or mini-series much anymore, and it's because of reality television," she said. "Doing 'SVU' is the most fun I've had on a set in a long time."

Copyright ©2004