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Winter TV to warm up to


If you’ve been watching television then you know there are a number of new shows on the horizon that start this month. I pay close attention to the promos, because I’m always looking for Black and other ethnic faces that I haven’t seen before or familiar faces turning to the small screen for work. And you know I always look for Black actresses who are usually the last to be hired and in less meatier roles, but sometimes hit the jackpot, like Jennifer Beals.

Beals stars in the Fox cop drama, “The Chicago Code,” which debuts in February. She made her debut on the silver screen in the 1983 cult dance sensation “Flash Dance” as 18-year-old Alexandria (Alex) Owen, a Pittsburgh woman who works as a welder during the day and as an exotic dancer at Mawby’s bar in the evenings. An untrained dancer, she dreamed of going to a prestigious dance academy. Beals introduced the world to torn sweatshirts at the neckline and took America by storm.

In one of my favorite movies, Beals starred opposite Denzel Washington in the 1995 detective flick “Devil in a Blue Dress.” This Walter Mosley film starred Denzel as Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins, and Beal as Daphne Monet, a Black woman trying her best to pass as White until life caught up with her.

This atmospheric drama is a classic to me, giving you a taste of Los Angeles back in the day when Central Avenue was the place to live and apparently die.

The Chicago native also starred as Bette Porter in Showtime’s drama series “The L Word.”

Now she stars as Teresa Colvin, who lets you know she is the highest ranking cop in the City of Chicago, and nobody messes with her city. . .  except maybe a notorious dirty alderman (city council member) played by the powerful British actor Delroy Lindo.

They will surely bump heads. Lindo is one of those silky smooth brothers who can command the screen with just a look. Sister-girl has got her hands full.

The new NBC legal drama “Harry’s Law” premiering Jan. 17 stars Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn, a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer who was recently fired from her cushy job and forced to search for a fresh start. This Academy Award winning actress has played a variety of roles on the silver screen and now she brings her magic to TV. And get this, another Brit is featured in a starring role on this much anticipated series.

Aml Ameen stars opposite Kathy Bates in “Harry’s Law” as Malcolm, a young man who is trying to figure out his life. This Hollywood newcomer began his career at the age of seven, when he attended the Barbara Speake Stage School in West London, where he showed a passion and talent for dancing, singing and acting. He landed his first TV role in the British children’s series “123 Hullabaloo.” But, it’s a sure bet he won’t be doing much singing and dancing in this new series.

“The Cape” premieres Jan. 9 and stars Keith David (Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog”) as Max Malini the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors and trains Vince Faraday to be “The Cape” in NBC’s new drama series of the same name.

“The Cape” stars David Lyons (“ER”) as Vince Faraday, an honest cop on a corrupt police force, who finds himself framed for a series of murders and presumed dead. Fueled by a desire to reunite with his family and to battle the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City, Faraday becomes “The Cape”–his son’s favorite comic book superhero–and takes the law into his own hands.

Executive producer Shonda Rhimes and her partners (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”) bring us the ABC drama “Off the Map” premiering Jan. 12. Idealistic young doctors, on the run from personal demons, arrive in a small town in the South American jungle, which has one understaffed, under-stocked medical clinic. In this ensemble drama, six doctors who have lost their way, will go to the ends of the earth to try to remember the reasons why they wanted to become doctors in the first place.

Jason George (remember him from “Eve”?) stars as Otis Cole a tough, plain-spoken, and highly respected doctor at Clinica Cruz del Sur. He grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., then enlisted and became a medical officer in the Navy. In the show, he has wicked sweet tooth and relies on candy to help suppress the urge to fall off the wagon and back into his  history of addictive behavior.
In short, all of these young doctors have issues, and with all the heat, isolation and tension, things are bound to get red hot.

I’ll clue you in on more new shows coming this month and in February.

Gail can be reached