As if it's not hard enough being the woman who deliberately gunned down two men in cold blood, now NYPD Blue bad girl Janice Licalsi is copping the blame for killing off the hit series most popular character.

For Janice, played by Amy Brenneman, is the reason why sexy Detective John Kelly (David Caruso) gets booted off the force----and off the show.

The word from Hollywood is that early in the new season---soon to begin screening in the US---Janice gets jailed for the killings and John Kelly gets fired because he knew what she had done but failed to report it. His place as resident sex symbol will be filled by former LA Law hunk Jimmy Smits.

In real life, however, twice-married David, whose off-screen love life is even hotter than it is on-screen, is leaving after a row over demand for more pay. He's also keen to cash in on his TV success by swithcing to the big screen.

That's something Amy Brenneman's doing too. In fact the killer cop is turning angel to star alongside Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci in Steven Spielberg's "Casper, The Friendly Ghost"---destined to be next year's big blockbuster following on the heels of The Flintstones.

Playing an angel is probably closer to Amy's own personality than her NYPD Blue character.

Her publicist has lost count of how many times Playboy has rung, begging the actress to take off her clothes. With the show, which screens here on Network Ten, scooping the nomination pool for this years Emmys with a record 26, it's no wonder the magazine was keen to get some hot poses.

But, despite the publicity boost the Playboy spread can offer, Amy said no.

"I'm so different from my NYPD Blue character that, in the supermarket, people aren't sure at first if I'm the one who plays Officer Licalsi," Amy explains.

"In real life, I dont wear make-up or draw attention to myself, but I think people expect someone on a hit TV show to be their character somehow."

With a judge for a mother and an environmental lawyer for a father, Amy is a Harvard graduate with a degree in comparative religions.

"It probably sounds strange that I could move from comparative religions to acting but there's a very deep link between what I love about performance and spirituality," Amy says.

"When I was young, I went to a Congregational church where we did a lot of creative things like dancing and acting and singing."

"When I wrote my thesis, it was on Buddhism and Tibet. I spent seven months in Nepal studying sacred dance with a Buddhist monk."

Amy feels her background has given her a special insight into her role as Janice---and why she felt driven to kill.

"She had a compelling reason," says Amy. "She wanted to protect men she loved---her father and John Kelly."

"I dont know if I could pull the trigger on somebody but I can imagine doing a lot to protect those I love."

As well as Casper, Amy has received other script offers too---and she's aware she has NYPD Blue to thank for it all.

"In Hollywood, people dont want to take a risk with unknown property. That's what NYPD Blue did for me and I will always be grateful for that."