David E. Kelley goes "Mad" for English actress

Mon Jan 5, 2009 2:34am EST
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Meet David E. Kelley's newest discovery -- Charity Wakefield.

After making Calista Flockhart a household name by tapping her as the title character in "Ally McBeal," the prolific producer has cast the 27-year-old English actress as the female lead in "Legally Mad," his new quirky legal drama for NBC.

Jon Seda also has been cast in the show, in which Wakefield plays a woman who takes a job at her father's law firm and quickly becomes the practice's center.

Her character is deeply devoted to her father and chose to work for him despite being offered several prestigious clerkships out of law school. She is easygoing, deadpan funny and disarms with charm.

Seda ("Homicide") will play a rugged, grumpy but lovable equal-opportunity offender. The two join previously cast Kristin Chenoweth.

Wakefield, a graduate of the Oxford School of Drama, got her break last year as a star of the BBC's latest adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility." In the miniseries, which aired in the U.S. on PBS, she portrayed Marianne Dashwood, a role played by Kate Winslet in the 1995 feature.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>British actress Charity Wakefield arrives for the British Academy Television Awards at the London Palladium April 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>