Blair Underwood, a Petersburg actor, returns to a network TV series tonight when he stars in the NBC remake of "Ironside." The show will premiere at 10 p.m.
Underwood has brought the TV classic - featuring detective Robert T. Ironside - back to prime time.
"'Ironside' is a franchise and its brand is a franchise," he said. "Raymond Burr, who portrayed 'Ironside,' was absolutely brilliant. You can't re-create what's already done but you have to approach it from a different perspective."
He also said that NBC's modern homage to the original show has edgy and modern storytelling, but Ironside himself still stands for the same virtues. "He fights for the underdog. Sometimes the law gets in the way as it's written, but he doesn't let it," he said.
To accurately portray the movements of a man in a wheelchair, Underwood sought help from consultant David Bryant, a paraplegic athlete. His mother, who has been in a wheelchair for the last decade, is his second point of reference. He learns from the differences in both his mother and Bryant.
This is not the first big TV role for Underwood. He was nationally known as a co-star in the 1980s TV hit "L.A. Law." Since then he has played a variety of roles on the small and big screen. He played an psychiatrist in the HBO drama "In Treatment," for which he was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a NAACP Image Award.
He has also starred in NBC's "The Event," CBS' "The Adventures of Old Christine," and ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money."
In film, he co-starred in Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion" and Steven Soderbergh's "Full Frontal." He won a NAACP Image Award for his portrayal of a Marine captain in William Friedkin's "Rules of Engagement."
Last year, Underwood made his Broadway debut as Stanley in Tennessee William's "A Street Car Named Desire," which earned him a 2012 Drama League Distinguished Performance Award.
Blair Underwood has taken on a variety of roles throughout his career. Now, he's tackling a classic cop show and we wish him well with his newest TV series.
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