Malik Yoba, star of Dick Wolf’s 1990s series New York Undercover, has been tapped to star in the contemporary reboot of the cop drama, which has a pilot order at ABC. The project hails from Wolf, Hand of God creator Ben Watkins and director Anthony Hemingway.

Yoba will reprise his role as J.C. Williams from the original series. In the followup, Williams is now overseeing the unit and the next generation of detectives.

photo: K&N Media

Yoba was at the heart of the original series. In addition to leading the cast, he was the only cast member to appear in all four seasons of the show’s run on Fox. Starring Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo as two undercover detectives in New York City’s Fourth Precinct, New York Undercover was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in starring roles.

New York Undercover bringing back Yoba is similar to the move by another 2019 ABC pilot that reboots a 1990s New York cop drama in present day, NYPD Blue, which recruited original cast members Kim Delaney and Bill Brochtrup.

Written by Watkins based on a story by Wolf and him, New York Undercover picks up 20 years after the end of the original series that changed the face of TV cop dramas. It will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s most dangerous criminals from Harlem to Battery Park. Some cast members from the original series are expected to reprise their roles.

Wolf, Watkins and Hemingway executive produce with Wolf Films’ Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski. The project is produced by Wolf Films, Universal TV where the company is based, and ABC Studios. The pilot will begin filming in early March in New York.

Yoba was a series regular on Fox’s Empire and has recurred on CBS’ God Friended Me, TBS’ The Last O.G., and ABC’s Designated Survivor. He also was a series regular on the upcoming first season of BET’s First Wives Club. He  is repped by Innovative Artists and Kieran Maguire at The Arlook Group.