Actor Forest Whitaker is set to join the cast of gritty TV drama The Shield.

THE CRYING GAME star will play show regular DET JON KAVANAUGH (corr) in the fifth season of the series when it airs in January (06), according to trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter.

Series creator and executive producer Shawn Ryan admits he's thrilled to land the actor for his show: "He's going to be a great foil for the guys on our show. Forest has always impressed me with his range.

"He's got an incredible sweetness and soulfulness but also strength. It's a rare combination for an actor and that appealed to me with this character."

Whitaker isn't the first big name to join the show, which stars Michael Chiklis, as a regular - Glenn Close was Emmy nominated for her hard-hitting MONICA RAWLINGS character last season.