*Keith David has quietly crept back onto series television with a role in Fox’s freshman comedy “Enlisted.”
The show follows three soldier brothers stationed at the same US Army post while the majority of the base is deployed overseas. The two younger brothers are assigned to rear detachment (a.k.a. the soldiers left behind to care for the base). The eldest brother is demoted to sergeant and forced to return from Afghanistan after punching a superior officer. He’s assigned to supervise a platoon of misfits that includes his brothers.
David plays Command Sergeant Major Donald Cody, who served with the brothers’ late father. It’s a role close to home for the 57- year-old Juilliard School grad.
“Anytime I get a chance to be in something military like this, my stepfather was a World War II vet, and in some small way, I’m always saying, ‘Hey, Dad, here’s to you,’” David said during a recent TCA panel.
The Harlem native says of his character, “He’s sort of the papa bear here, you know, taking care of these troops. My relationship with these boys is I served with their father and I promised them I’d take care of them if anything ever happened to him. So when he passes on, I get that responsibility and I take that seriously. And it’s a wonderful thing. The relationships that are garnered in the service like this, those are wonderful things that we don’t talk about. We don’t really talk about what it’s like being a man’s man. What is it like having those kinds of bonds. Here’s an opportunity for us to talk about that.”
This isn’t the first military man David has played on screen. In 1986, he stood out in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War pic “Platoon” as King, one of the few soldiers who befriends Charlie Sheen’s character. It’s a 180-degree swing from the light-hearted, comedic tone of “Enlisted,” and one David doesn’t mind representing.
David’s series television credits include TV One’s “Belle” (2013) and NBC’s “The Cape” (2011), each cancelled after one season.
“Enlisted” has a fighting chance to reach a second season. Although ratings have been lukewarm since the show’s Jan. 10 premiere, critics have largely given it positive reviews.
The series airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. on FOX. Watch a promo below.