[WATCH] Blair Underwood (‘The Good Wife’) on returning to a TV courtroom decades after ‘L.A. Law’

“That was the first time I can remember being back in a courtroom,” says onetime “L.A. Law” star Blair Underwood as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his guest role as a defendant on “The Good Wife.” It has been 22 years since he played legal eagle Jonathan Rollins and he admitted to feeling nostalgic as he acted opposite series regular Matt Czuchry. “I was watching him and said to him at one point that ‘I was you,’ that young hotshot attorney on this legal show for seven years.”

Looking back on the role that launched him, he recalls, “Aside from growing up creatively, in seven years you also grow up professionally and personally. That show changed my life. It changed where I was in my career, it changed my bank account. We’re talking to this day because of that break, that opportunity, because it opened up so many doors. I had a lot of déjà vu and good feelings about it.”

A fan of the CBS drama starring Julianna Margulies, Underwood was thrilled to be asked to join the cast for an episode of the show’s final season. In “Shoot,” he plays Harry Dargis, the father of a teenager slain in her home. The episode opens with a series of vignettes between Harry and his daughter Yesha (Sofia Bryant), from childhood to adolescence. It is a beautifully assembled sequence that is shockingly brought to a sudden halt by the sound of gunfire from outside. As a stray bullet hits Yesha in the neck, the audience is left reeling as they watch Yesha dying in the arms of a devastated Harry. “For anybody who is a parent or who loves kids or is connected to kids and teenagers, it’s gut-wrenching,” Underwood admits. “When I read that script and saw what they wanted to portray, I jumped at the opportunity because it’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”

The actor was keen to be involved in an episode that explored the gun control debate. As he explains, “Oftentimes people would like to sweep it away and say that there’s going to be gun violence in inner city Chicago or in inner cities in general, but it is not that easy, and that’s the beauty of what we do as storytellers, as entertainers, as artists. To be able to hopefully reach through the camera or the lens, or reach across the stage into the audience and hopefully affect the audience by allowing them to take a journey with you and hopefully feel the emotional impact of what’s happening.”

 

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