Murder In The First
My first experience as a freelance director (as opposed to directing material I developed) came from me meeting Steven Bochco at a birthday party of a mutual friend. I introduced myself and asked him why, in his expert opinion, haven’t black dramas succeeded on television. He said funny you should ask that since he was doing a black medical drama that fall and by asking I had just volunteered myself to work on the project.
The show was CITY OF ANGELS and the cast included Blair Underwood, Vivica Fox, Hill Harper, Maya Rudolph (great in a dramatic role), Viola Davis, Octavia Spenser, a young actress named Gabrielle Union,….I even got to work with Ossie Davis in a guest appearance.
As the creator of the modern television drama with shows like HILL STREET BLUES, LA LAW, NYPD BLUE and many more, Bochco runs a tight ship but it’s a fun cruise. Working there taught me television and I use those lessons everyday.
Steven and I became friends and we would hang out personally. When my then girlfriend would leave the table at dinner, he would grab my arm and tell me I was an idiot if I didn’t marry that girl right away. Two kids and over a decade later, he was very right.
I know it doesn’t look like it but we’re actually having fun together in this shot!
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Steven on several shows, but the MURDER IN THE FIRST experience was exceptional. It was old home week with some of the best crew people in the business who are always there for Steven, and an amazing cast including the very quick witted Taye Diggs; the awe-inspiring James Cromwell, who delivers two page monologues with the greatest of ease; and Tom Felton who is as nice in person as he is awful as his character. The entire cast was spectacular and we spent a lot of time pitching each other ideas for season two.
Me and Taye Diggs on the set of MURDER IN THE FIRST. Boy, that guy is handsome!
Me and Tom Fenton on the set of MURDER IN THE FIRST. Magical.
The show debuted to great ratings; I directed episode six. Check it out.