Blair Underwood stars in ‘Ironside’

September 13, 2013

Ironside

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 10 p.m., NBC

A slick and even satisfying revamp of one of those crime shows my parents watched in the ’70s (what’s next — “The Streets of San Francisco”?), this time with Blair Underwood as shrewd New York police sergeant Robert Ironside, who heads up a team of detectives (including “Orange Is the New Black’s” Pablo Schreiber) assigned to crack tough cases and crack heads when necessary.

Everything’s changed since Raymond Burr, the original “Ironside,” rolled up in his wheelchair, even wheelchairs. Taking its cues from a generation that prizes the overcoming of adversity as a prevailing narrative, this “Ironside” preoccupies itself with emphasizing its main character’s strength, physicality and virility, a task the 49-year-old Underwood handles well. Sgt. Ironside’s key advantage is his handicapability; when a fellow detective asks how he spotted a clue no one else sees, Ironside says: “I’ve got a different view of the world down here.”

But “Ironside” is also interested in the ways its protagonist copes with and resents his confinement, retracing the events that paralyzed him from the waist down, as well as the ways his partner (“The Killing’s” Brent Sexton) blames himself for what happened that night. There’s an interesting psychological drama to explore here, if “Ironside’s” writers and its seasoned cast can resist the easy, repetitive lure of cop-show pro-forma. Grade: B

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Hank Stuever has been The Post's TV critic since 2009. He joined the paper in 1999 as a writer for the Style section, where he has covered an array of popular (and unpopular) culture across the nation.
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