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Elizabeth Wagmeister | Variety

Regina King is returning to “American Crime” as a series regular for its second season, ABC announced Tuesday. King joins previously announced returning leads Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton.

The ABC Studios drama is created by Oscar winner John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”), who exec produces with Michael McDonald.

Ridley commented: “Michael McDonald and I couldn’t be more excited to have Regina back for season two of ‘American Crime.’ She’s phenomenal in all regards, and is going to be at the center of a story that deals with physicality, sexuality, and societal boundaries with the same urgency as our first season dealt with race and faith. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to speak on subjects as no other show does, and a cast which can do so with such a high degree of emotional honesty.”

Season 2 is expected to see a slew of new cast members, as the new installment of the anthology-style series will feature all new storylines with new characters. An insider tells Variety that casting on the new season has begun.

“It’s a completely different scenario and a completely different crime, even placed in a different part of America,” ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee said of the upcoming season, after the show’s renewal. “Some of the iconic actors from season one of ‘American Crime’ are going to come back and play different roles in the second season. John has mapped out very specific characters.”

Though “American Crime” didn’t bring in a large audience for its first season, the raw drama received much critical acclaim and is an Emmy contender this season. ABC is also strengthening its ties with Ridley, at the helm, who has two new series in the works with the network: a top-secret Marvel project and a new detective pilot, titled “Presence,” which was picked up this week.

King is repped by ICM Partners and managed by John Carrabino Management.

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