APB TCA 2017 WINTER PRESS TORU

*Ernie Hudson (“Grace and Frankie,” “Ghostbusters”) stars as a skeptical law officer in the new Fox cop drama “APB,” airing TONIGHT (Feb. 6) after “24:LEGACY.” Inspired by the New York Times Magazine article “Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans” by David Amsden, “APB” is police drama with a high-tech twist from executive producer/director Len Wiseman (“Lucifer,” “Sleepy Hollow”).

Starring Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Justin Kirk (“Tyrant,” “Weeds”) as billionaire engineer Gideon Reeves, who puts up millions of dollars of his own money in an unprecedented deal to take charge of the troubled 13th District – and reboot it as a technically innovative police force: better, faster and smarter than anything seen before. The move comes after his best friend is murdered in a botched attempted robbery, and the killer remains at large… Gideon wants justice.

With Gideon himself having created the department’s cutting-edge technology, this eccentric yet brilliant outsider challenges the city’s police force to rethink everything about the way they fight crime. With the help of Detective Theresa Murphy, he embarks on a mission to turn the 13th District – including a skeptical Capt. Ned Conrad (Hudson) – into a dedicated crime-fighting force of the 21st century.

“Ned is a guy who has been with the police department for forty years. He’s a career guy, and like many police, wants to do a lot of amazing things and change things,” Hudson explained to EUR/Electronic Urban Report. “As far as him being a career guy, he’s made it up the ranks to sergeant and seen a lot of things go down that he’s not happy with… he’s sort of waiting to retire, and then when things get shook up with this billionaire coming in with these ideas, a lot of the brass who aren’t happy with it leave and he gets promoted to captain.”

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He continued, “So suddenly, where he’s kinda gone along with other people’s ideas, even though they weren’t things they he’d do, now he has a chance to maybe realize some of those dreams that he had when he first started out. On the other hand, he’s been around long enough to know the valve of protocol and why things work the way they do. But he also recognizes that the community that they serve, that he’s also a resident of, needs to change. So it’s a very exciting time for him because the buck finally stops with him, and he also has to take on responsibility in a way that he’s never had to before.”

It’s a role that Mr. Hudson says he was immediately intrigued by because he recognized that the series “could be a way to highlight situations that we as a country are facing and maybe deal with in a way that people could see from a different perspective.”

“Obviously it’s a TV show so you’re not gonna get that deep. We have dealt with some issues but there’s certainly the possibility of presenting a different perspective and I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.

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In terms of any social messages woven into the template of his character, or the series overall, Hudson stressed that while “APB” is not here to preach to viewers, his character will certainly be affected by the challenges that come with policing his own community.

“It’s complicated,” he says of Capt. Conrad “living in the community all these years and seeing how it’s changed and seeing what those needs are, and yet being a part of a police force that’s viewed from a certain perspective within that community.”

He added, “I think his presence in the city, and how he carries himself and what he does and what he says… it’s complicated. There’s obviously a commitment to the work and the department but also there’s a commitment to his family, and the things that are happening are happening to people in his community. So he has a different investment than somebody who just comes in does the job then leaves and goes to a different community. He’s there and he’s seen the breakdown for the past forty years. He also sees the good things about it which is why he stays on.”

TCA 2017

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Captain Ned Conrad is skeptical about Gideon’s high-tech vision for the department, but he views such innovations, and how they will be beneficial to law officials, as “the possibility to try,” Hudson says.

“What he knows is the old system hasn’t been as effected as it should be and could be, so that’s what he brings to it and I think that’s what people will see,” Hudson says about his character.

He notes that “for a lot of people, especially a lot of black people, we’ve kinda gone away from the community, we’re all doing our thing,” he says. But for Ned, “it’s about not leaving his community.” It’s about staying and recognizing what’s important to him, and that means “trying to find ways to make law enforcement effective” within his community… “and hopefully the audience will see that as well.”

Hudson added, “You can complain about law enforcement or not, but what we know is, we need it. It’s necessary if we’re going to function well, but we just want it to be effective and healthy for everyone.”

Don’t miss the “APB” series premiere TONIGHT on Fox at 9/8c.