This Monday night, actor Taye Diggs is taking on a complex new role in TNT's crime drama, Murder in the First, which follows a single case over the course of a season while setting the stage in San Francisco and the high-stakes world of Silicon Valley.
Diggs plays a SFPD homicide inspector coping with his wife's terminal illness and with two murder cases that both seem to involve wealthy tech genius Erich Blunt, played by Tom Felton (Harry Potter). Diggs' partner (Kathleen Robertson) helps to uncover the mystery surrounding Blunt but must also tend to her own problems at home as a divorced single mother.
Shot in both San Francisco and Los Angeles and created by Emmy-winning producer Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue, L.A. Law) and writer Eric Lodal, Murder in the First deeply explores the emotional aspects of the characters, a storytelling trait Bochco's been known for.
"I've never played a role that's as emotional as this, as far as a spouse passing on," Taye told ET during a break from filming on the L.A. set. "To integrate that into the life of a cop and the relationships that he (Terry) has is challenging."
Getting into their SFPD roles prior to filming had both Taye and co-star Kathleen Robertson doing real-world police training and going on ride-alongs with on-duty officers.
"They put us through a police camp where we all started from scratch," Taye explained. "We shot some guns and took down perps!"
"Every actor wants to try different things, so it's a nice balance. During my third year into doing Shonda Rimes' shows (Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy) and after I don't know how many kissing and shirtless scenes, I was like 'I want to hold a gun again!' And luckily I was able to."
With each episode, Murder in the First will keep viewers guessing about who the killer is, as it did for most of the cast, since Bochco and Lodal managed to keep the full story a secret until the final days of filming.