I think cable is the place to be right now, particularly TNT. I don’t think you could make this show on network TV…
Jerry Bruckheimer’s gritty new drama takes the viewers into the complex world of undercover officers, following their exploits of a team of police officers so covert, many of their own colleagues don’t even know they are involved. The series takes place in Los Angeles, where criminals roam free under the veil of night. Wandering in and out of this seedy underworld is just another day for Lt Carter Shaw (Dylan McDermott) and his special undercover task force.
”I love great dramas,” admits Bruckheimer. “You watch movies like Serpico where these poor officers go undercover and they can’t quite tell if they’re the criminal or the good guy. Those kinds of lives have always intrigued me, and I think it does the public too. I love process, and this is another process show. We put the audience in a place that they’ll never be, hopefully, and show them how it actually works. That’s why it’s so important that we have advisors who have done this and bring their expertise to our writers and to our actors to really take them into these dark places and show them the difficulties that these men go through to protect our society. They’re our heroes.”
The concept of the series also fascinated actor Dylan McDermott. “I was initially attracted to the undercover world. I think it’s a great backdrop for a television show in that you get to change characters, maybe not every week, but every once in a while, you are a different character within a character. I thought it was a great way to go to work. I think cable is the place to be right now, particularly TNT. I don’t think you could make this show on network TV. We do push the envelope and we get to do thing that you could never do on a network. You have more freedom with language, more freedom with violence, more freedom with sexuality, all those things that are more real in life and are much more sanitized on network.”
Omari Hardwick, who co-stars in the series, had already done a pilot with a similar concept. “It was undercover cops, I’m glad it didn’t go,” he laughs. “But I made contact with a lot of undercover cops, and I’m still in contact with them. So preceding the pilot for this show, I did a lot of research, a lot of shooting with them, a lot of ride-a-longs. You find out what they do as humans. You try, as an actor, to make them as human as possible and not machines. Cops are often made to be robotic and machinelike. So you try to tap into the stories that keep them as human as possible.”
“It’s a real hard-hitting show,” Bruckheimer concludes. “It’s a tough show. Audiences just want to see good entertainment, whether it’s a lighter show or a darker show. Especially in tough economic times, they want to lose themselves for an hour, and if we can involve them in a really interesting drama, that’s great.”