“Chicago P.D.” Airs Wednesdays At 10 P.M. ET/PT On NBC
CHICAGO – Many may know Eriq La Salle from his roles in “Coming to America” and “ER,” but lately this actor’s work has been behind the camera.
La Salle is the executive producer of NBC drama “Chicago P.D.,” which follows a group of elite officers around the Windy City in the midst of precinct politics, racial tensions and a federal takeover.
La Salle said the show is trying to portray the camaraderie and complexity of police work while showing that many stories aren’t just black and white.
“I think we are trying to show some balance and truth,” LaSalle told us earlier this week at a press event in Chicago. “It’s really important for me to show different perspectives. And that’s what we’ve been able to do with the writing and the subjects we’ve been touching on.”
But he said that meant also depicting the good and bad side of Chicago policing.
“After a day of touting the greatness of what we’re trying to do and what we believe in doing, I could easily walk out of here and be racially profiled,” LaSalle said. “And that’s a real thing. “There’s always that layer in me that no matter how much of a perspective of trying to show a balance, that that is a real possibility. You try not to let that cloud your perspective in any kind of way, but we know that that is a possibility.”
Fellow “Chicago P.D.” executive producer Rick Eld agreed.
“I think there are a lot of issues, some good, some bad,” Eld said. “It’s an interesting place. It’s a complicated place. It’s especially complicated to be a cop in Chicago with all of the racial tensions. The federal government is involved with the police department. So if I was gonna pitch a cop show, I’d put it in Chicago.”
He pointed to a recent scene where a black cop and a white cop chase a suspect and get ready to arrest him. The white cop tells the suspect – who is black – to get on his knees to be handcuffed. The black cop intervenes and tells the white cop that that is unacceptable.
“It’s our job to be more objective and show these subtle things,” La Salle said. “It was important for me to be an executive producer because I think it’s important to have our voice in these types of shows, and perspective.”