As part of the 9th Annual Paley Preview Parties that was held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills last week, NBC was saluted with screenings of two of its new dramas, Ironside and The Blacklist as well as several of their new comedies, including Sean Saves the World, The Michael J. Fox Show and Welcome to the Family.
The evening started out with the usual reception followed by the screening of the pilot episode of Ironside. Then a moderated panel, led by TV Guide Magazine’s Rob Moynihan, brought cast members Brent Sexton, Kenneth Choi, Neal Bledsoe, Pablo Schreiber and Blair Underwood to the stage along with executive producers Ron West, John Fox, John Davis, Teri Weinberg and Ken Sanzel. [Fellow cast member Spencer Grammer joined the panel near the end as she was on set filming.]
First, the executive producers talked about bringing the classic TV series back to the small screen with Teri sharing that it was a “great platform to reimagine”. And viewers should know that this new version is only like the original in terms of the lead character being in a wheelchair. Ken, who is the showrunner and a former police officer himself, clearly stated this version of Ironside is not a procedural series it is a crime drama.
Each of the cast members had their chance to talk about various topics including the following:
• Blair shared about the casting process, saying that “they found me” and Ron further explained that Blair had a deal with NBC last year and (they) hadn’t found anything for him until the Ironside script came his way; and then Blair stated that “something just
clicked with him” when reading the script;
• Blair also shared that each of the characters has his or her challenge, not just Ironside because of his being in a wheelchair; in fact, what drew Blair to the role was the psychological challenges of playing the character.
• Brent shared that his character, Gary Stanton, the former partner of Robert Ironside, is an “emotional cripple” because of an incident that took place for which he feels he is responsible so part of the over-arching stories of the series will be a “physical cripple vs. an emotional cripple”;
• Neal then spoke about his character Teddy, who grew up in a white collar, privileged world who obviously grew bored by that, deciding to become a cop and is “setting out to prove himself” to the rest of Ironside’s team;
• Pablo then shared his character Virgil is a dad with a steady home life, but who has a history of violent sanctions at the precinct; and it is a matter of him figuring out how to provide that steady life for his family while still being able to go after the perps;
• Kenneth then spoke about his character Ed Rollins, who is Ironside’s captain, sharing that Ed is a “by the books captain”, who will “encourage (Ironside) to do unconventional things (in order) to get conventional results without going too far”;
• Spencer (who as was stated earlier arrived late to the event due to filming) shared that while she is the only female on the cast, she holds her own and Blair chimed in that Ironside and Holly (Spencer’s character) have “crime in their backgrounds” and that will be played out as the season plays out.
The executive producers also shared that flashbacks will be featured in every episode, showing a time before Ironside was wounded as well as backstories on the other characters in the series; that they will not do “pulled-from-the-headlines” stories but rather draw from life and that specific guest stars could not be discussed, they will see Ironside’s dad, Virgil’s dad and Holly’s ex-husband in upcoming episodes.
Ironside will debut on NBC on October 2 at 10 PM.
(Photo Credit: Kevin Parry/Paley Center for Media)