TORONTO - There's a reason cop procedurals are a staple on prime-time television, says veteran small screen star Chi McBride.
"People like them," McBride says simply.
The former "House" and "Boston Public" co-star is unapologetic in describing his new show "Golden Boy" as your basic cop drama, with a villain-of-the-week story structure.
"We're going to have to catch somebody (every week) but what really drives the show is the characters and the relationships," he added during a promotional stop in Toronto last spring.
"What these people are like when they're not at work and how their work intertwines with their personal lives and how their relationships and the alliances that they form and the bridges that get burned, how it all configures into the life story. And just basically the human condition as it applies to someone who is in law enforcement."
McBride plays weathered New York police Det. Don Owen, a 23-year vet on the brink of retirement.
He's partnered with young buck Walter William Clark, Jr., a 27-year-old hotshot and former street kid who is promoted to homicide after just three years walking the beat.
We learn early on that Clark, played by Brit actor Theo James, eventually climbs the ranks all the way to the commissioner's office. At 34, he becomes the youngest man ever to claim the chair.
Clark's story is told largely through flashback, with his youthful exploits book-ended by current-day scenes of an older, wiser Clark reflecting on mistakes and hinting at storylines yet to come.
"There are certain things I expected when I started out. But getting here was a long road," the older Clark says in the pilot, revealing a barely noticeable limp as he paces his office and takes questions from a reporter.
"It's been a quick ride but it cost you: friends, colleagues, people who were closest to you," replies the reporter, played by Richard Kind.
The youthful Clark appears confident, brash and brazenly ambitious. Whether he gives in to his darker impulses appears to be at the heart of a broader morality tale.
"You tell me, Commissioner: You a master politician or just a savvy cop?" says Kind's unnamed interrogator.
Meanwhile, the flashback format suggests lots of room to introduce plot teasers while adding nuance to the crime-of-the-week segments but McBride dismisses there's any such strategy at play.
He says he was simply drawn in by a solid script.
"I thought it was very well-written, the characters are very well-drawn," he says.
"Whenever there's an opportunity for me to be on a show like that or to be involved with material that I really like then I choose to be involved in it."
"Golden Boy" starts Tuesday on CTV and CBS.
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