— Chris Noth waxed a little sentimental as Sex and the City kicks off its final season, and while he still respects his old show, Law & Order, he thinks the landmark cop show has become "watered-down" and "tired."
Noth, who plays Mr. Big, Sarah Jessica Parker's on-again, off-again boyfriend, says it's good that Sex is ending while the show is still fresh.
"I think Sarah and all the girls are right," the actor told ABCNEWS Radio. "We've done it. There's no more to do. We've covered the ground and it's better to leave them thinking about it and leave some mystery."
Noth, 48, became a familiar face to TV viewers as the hotheaded Detective Mike Logan on Law & Order. He was with the NBC drama from 1990 to 1995 before joining Sex and the City as the commitment-phobic financier who alternatively romances and disappoints Parker's Carrie Bradshaw.
"I was with the original [Law & Order] pilot and the original cast and I think it's kind of watered-down now, frankly … I don't mean to be negative about it," he said. "That's why I'm glad Sex and the City is only doing six seasons."
Marriage, Arrests … And Mr. Big’s First Name
At the New York City premiere party kicking off the HBO comedy's last season, Noth joined Parker and her on-screen gal-pals Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon, as well as other stars, including Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos and talk show host Caroline Rhea.
The cast was mostly tight-lipped about what fate holds for Carrie and her posse. According to the scuttlebutt, one of the ladies will marry, one will get arrested and another will get a "Dear John" letter via a Post-it Note. Several ex-boyfriends, including Noth, will be returning, keeping fans guessing who gets what.
The season begins Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time with the first of 20 episodes. Twelve will run through the summer and another eight will air beginning in January.
Nixon, who plays the sarcastic lawyer Miranda, suggests there may be a big turn in her relationship with Steve, the bartender who fathered her character's child.
"I think that four years of Steve hanging around and being in love with Miranda and her not being in love with him … we're going to see some tables turn where she starts having second thoughts about it," she says.
"She realizes that maybe it's too late for them and that he's moved on."
There are also rumors that we'll finally find out the first name of Noth's character — who is only known as, "Mr. Big."
When we left off last season, Big broke Carrie's heart by moving to Napa, Calif., to become a gentleman vintner and rest, prompting the pun-happy sex columnist to quip, "If you're tired you take a napa — you don't MOVE to Napa."
‘Actors Are Just Parenthetical’
For Noth, who still considers himself a "blue-collar, working-class actor" success has been "a mixed bag" and "a little annoying sometimes."
"I have just a tiny, tiny inkling of what it might be to be a rock star," he said.
"I mean, I'm walking down the street and, you know, all of a sudden people just are pointing and staring and giggling … I think Sarah Jessica gets it to a degree that's unbelievable."
Noth's transition from Detective Logan to Mr. Big speaks volumes about his versatility. Logan's hard edge took viewers by storm. "My mother used to hold a rosary in one hand while she beat me with the other," Logan says in one episode. "The next time I enter a church, six of my closest buddies will be carrying me."
As Big, he tooled around Manhattan in a chauffer-driven limo, and got edgy if Carrie even tried to store a toothbrush at his posh apartment, thinking that it would raise the stakes of their relationship to an unacceptable level.
Breaking from both characters, Noth donned a toga to play the Roman general Pompey in the TV miniseries Caesar, which debuts June 29 on TNT.
His experience on Law & Order, which is known for its revolving-door cast, left Noth with the realization that a TV show is more than any individual cast member.
"You think that your contribution does matter and then you find out there's not one person left from the original show or pilot," he said. "That it's such a well-oiled machine that the actors are just parenthetical and that's the kind of feeling you don't want.
"What they're constantly proving is, 'We don't care who it is, we don't care who it is … We could throw in Donald Duck.'
"I think that show's a little tired, actually," he said.