Jimmy Smits has been tapped as the last major lead in NBC’s untitled Stephen Gaghan drama pilot (formerly S.I.L.A.), a complex ensemble drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. The pilot, from 20th TV, Chernin Entertainment and Gaghan’s Unsupervised, centers on Los Angeles Mayor Alfonso Morales (Smits) and his Special Investigations Unit led by detective Terry Mullins (Noah Emmerich), who has returned to LA to re-connect with his 15-year-old daughter Jennifer (Emma Dumont) and try to get along with his ex-wife, high-powered attorney Mary McCarthy (Madchen Amick). Morales is described as a man full of ambition who cares deeply about his city, power and women, perhaps in reverse order.
Smits was the first actor approached by Gaghan for the pilot. The NYPD Blue alum had originally planned to sit this pilot season out but was drawn to the opportunity to work with an A-list filmmaker like Gaghan on a character drama, a genre rarely seen on broadcast TV these days. Also appealing to Smits was the chance to reunite with new NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, who ran Showtime when Smits did a season-long arc on Dexter, a stint that earned him an Emmy nomination. The pilot brings Smits back to NBC where he hit stardom with his Emmy-winning role on L.A. Law. The actor, repped by Brillstein Entertainment, attorney Tom Hoberman and UTA, also co-starred on the network’s White House drama The West Wing and, most recently, toplined NBC’s Outlaw last season.