Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blair Underwood Set To Show His 'Ironside'

By Darlene Donloe
When Ironside returns to NBC Wednesday nights, the main character will have the same name, but that’s where any similarity ends. A lot has changed.

Instead of an older, white, burly, gruff Ironside, he will instead be played by the tall, dark and sexy Blair Underwood.

Ironside is a beloved, iconic character from the television series of the same name that starred Raymond Burr and aired on NBC from 1967 to 1975.

Burr played San Francisco Detective Robert Ironside, a cop who, due to a spinal injury is confined to a wheelchair.

Underwood (L.A. Law), too, will be confined to a wheelchair, but due to the magic of flashbacks, the audience will also get to see him walking upright on two legs – prior to being shot and paralyzed.  He will play a street detective instead of a supervisor.

As the promo material attests, it’s His Team. His Town. His Rules.  This time around the show will be set in New York.


The cast of the latest Ironside includes: Underwood, Brent Sexton (Gary Stanton), Pablo Schreiber (Virgil), Spencer Grammer (Holly), Neal Bledsoe (Teddy) and Kenneth Choi (Ed Rollins).

I caught up with Underwood, who is a producer on the show, to talk about him taking on such an iconic role.

DD: Do you remember the original series? If so, how old were you?

BU:  Yes, I remember the show. I was three-years-old.

DD: You must be pumped to be doing such an iconic show.

BU: Can I say how excited I am to be working with this team. I’d big on working on teams. I'm so excited about this. I get a chance to do the things I love doing. I mean, I’ve been able to show a different side of myself in some films, but never on network television. I’m looking forward to showing what I can do.  This feels very familiar to me.

DD: Were you at all nervous about taking on such an iconic role?

BU: Well, it’s a beloved character. You don’t want to mess it up. Raymond Burr was the man. I’m just going to give my interpretation. This is a great opportunity for us. While we know there are fans that remember the character, there is also a whole new audience who has never heard of the show or the character.


DD: What do you like about the character?

BU: He’s real. He wants to make a difference. Sometimes he’s goes about it in a different way, but he’s interested in getting results. What I like is getting inside his head. We really get into the psychology and the emotional aspects of this man. His disability has a lot to do with who he is now.

DD: What can we expect from the new show?

BU: We are breaking ground and doing things we’ve never done before.  We’re having fun.

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