Diggs plays it tough, tender in TV drama


Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:08 p.m.

Taye Diggs can claim an actor's version of scoring a hat trick: He's worked with a trio of television's most innovative writer-producers.

Diggs, who visited David E. Kelley's "Ally McBeal" as attorney Jackson Duper and played Dr. Sam Bennett on Shonda Rhimes' "Private Practice," is starring in a new drama, "Murder in the First," co-created by veteran Steven Bochco.

"There's something to be said for putting out in the universe that which you want to claim. It's happened to me three times," he said.

"Murder in the First," despite the procedural-sounding title, turned out to be just such an opportunity. It debuted at 10 p.m. Monday on TNT.

Diggs' character is San Francisco police homicide Detective Terry English, who's paired with fellow detective Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson).

Terry's burden is a tragic one, the terminal illness of his wife (Anne-Marie Johnson). Hildy is a single mom who, at least in episode one, appears to have limited support to raise her bright daughter.

The series crisscrosses between the detectives' off-duty lives and their efforts to crack two killings with a high-profile link, a Silicon Valley whiz kid who takes arrogance to a new level. He's played by Tom Felton, from the "Harry Potter" films.

Richard Schiff, Nicole Ari Parker, James Cromwell and Steven Weber are among the co-stars.

"Murder in the First," created by Bochco and Eric Lodal, will wrap its investigation within the 10-episode season. If viewers are hooked, the drama will be back with another case to solve.

Bochco took a similar approach with his 1990s series "Murder One," which focused in its freshman year on a single crime.

In the new TNT drama, the case focus is narrow but the approach is ambitiously multilayered, Bochco said.

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