LOS ANGELES -"The District," a new CBS police drama starring Craig T. Nelson, is set in Washington, but the issues faced by the new, reform-minded police chief that Nelson plays are going to seem most familiar to Baltimore viewers.
That's because Nelson's character, Police Chief Jack Mannion, is based on Jack Maple, the colorful former deputy commissioner of police in New York City who now serves as consultant to Mayor Martin O'Malley and the City of Baltimore in their efforts to improve police and other city services. Maple is co-creator and an executive producer of the series.
When asked if Baltimore's crime issues are going to be played out on the screen in "The District," Maple said, "Yeah, sure. ... These things are going to be brought up. All these little inside things, we're going to deal with them as much as possible."
One of the "little inside things" he described in an interview with The Sun following a press conference yesterday to promote the show involved the way police have misrepresented crime statistics to make themselves look better.
As for similarities between a new crime-fighting, reform-minded, white police chief taking over in a majority-black city on-screen and the arrival of Ed Norris in Baltimore: "Norris is a personal friend of mine. Norris took my spot at the NYPD as deputy police commissioner for operations."
... Baltimore, I believe, is overly sensitive to the racial issue. That's my opinion. But Norris got put in a by a unanimous vote by the city council. And that's the same racial mix essentially as Washington."