CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Actress Lauren Velez ("New York Undercover") will sub in as partner to Joe Friday (Ed O'Neill) in the final two episodes of ABC's "Dragnet" this season.
The announcement comes after news that series star Ethan Embry will be unable to appear in the production's final two episodes due breaking his ankle in a skateboarding accident. His character's absence will be addressed on camera as being away caring for his father, who has suffered a stroke.
Velez will step in as Det. Denise Beltran, a veteran cop that is paired with Friday. Her episodes, the 12th and 13th for the season, are expected to air in May.
"Dragnet" has averaged 11.46 million viewers this season and has built on its lead-in "Alias" by an average of 6.12% in those airings.