James McDaniel projects stability, which is why he's frequently cast as a cop, as he is on ABC's Tuesday cop show "Detroit 1-8-7."
As solid an actor as he is, some of that feeling comes across because that's who he is. McDaniel has been married for 30 years, raised two sons and has lived in Harlem since 1985.
That last fact is important to him and to his affinity with this new show set in Detroit.
"I love Detroit," he says. "I was pushing for this to happen. It's the most incredible backdrop. It is a city in distress. It's this strange juxtaposition. It's the fourth-largest port in the world. There is so much happening there and the architecture -- starting with the turn-of-the-century houses. Every house is different, and every third house is boarded up -- five-bedroom mansions the likes of which L.A. has never seen."
As a Washington, D.C., native and a New Yorker by choice, McDaniel is no stranger to cities in need."I understand what it is to be in a city that has bad PR working," he says.
He's hoping the show does well for the good of the city as well as his career.
"If we are successful, we can train people," McDaniel says of potential film crews.
He relates to his character, Sgt. Jesse Longford."He's been on the job for 25 years as a detective, in a town that has gone through this many changes," McDaniel says. "And he still loves the city. He's the guy in the squad car that can tell you his remembrances."
Among McDaniel's remembrances is that he considered becoming a vet and loved riding horses.
"I figured medicine and large animals, I would be building a rural lifestyle," he says. "And I have no interest in living on a farm and stepping on cow patties."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun