EXCLUSIVE: Philip Winchester is set to topline the next installment in Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise for NBC, tentatively titled Chicago Law. He is the first actor cast in the legal drama, eyed for a potential launch during the 2016-2017 season, likely in midseason.

Strike Back star Winchester was among the most sought actors last pilot season, ultimately signing for the lead in NBC’s drama pilot The Player, which went to series. While the show did not last, I hear NBC brass wanted to keep the actor in the fold and stepped up with an offer for Chicago Law as Winchester was weighing in other pilot offers.

Spearheaded by Wolf, Chicago Law is produced by Universal TV and Wolf Entertainment. The idea is to have ADA characters appear on Chicago PD this season to plant seeds for the legal offshoot. “You may see, in the same way you saw in the last three years, some people doing legal things that would give an insight into where that could go,” Wolf hinted at TCA last month.

Winchester is repped by UTA and UK’s Independent Talent Group.