How can anyone say no to this face! This is Levi, the Golden Retriever who plays co-lead Pretzel in the new CW series In the Dark, and this is one of my favorite stories this upfront.

The CW traditionally brings the stars of its new shows to the network’s upfront presentation, and I hear that also was the plan for Levi. (In the Dark is about a blind woman, Murphy, played by Perry Mattfield, and her dog, Pretzel, played by Levi) However, the CW did not make its new series pickups until last Friday. That is when calls to talent are made to arrange their travel to the network’s upfront the next Thursday.

The problem is, Levi is Canadian as In the Dark films in Toronto. There are special procedures for animals, and it turned out that a visa could not be secured in time for Levi to make it to the CW presentation, leaving Mattfield to represent the show by herself. Kudos to the CW for keeping things authentic — instead of just getting another Golden Retriever to walk with Mattfield onstage today, the network made a decision that it would either be the real four-legged star of the series or no dog at all.

Written by Corinne Kingsbury and directed by Michael Showalter., In the Dark centers on a flawed and irreverent blind woman, Murphy (Mattfeld) who is the only “witness” to the murder of her drug-dealing friend. After the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel (Levi), to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at the guide dog school owned by her overprotective parents.

In the Dark, which is slated to premiere in midseason, comes from CBS TV Studios and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films.