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'Graceland' to bow on USA this summer

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Chicago native and Mount Carmel High School grad Daniel Sunjata ("Rescue Me") stars as legendary FBI agent Paul Briggs in USA's upcoming drama "Graceland."

(In other "Rescue Me"-USA news, the network's co-presidents said Denis Leary's upcoming show "Sirens," shot in Chicago, will be a big part of the net's increased focus on comedy this year.)

The hour-long drama "Graceland," inspired by a true story, comes from executive producer and creator Jeff Eastin ("White Collar") and also stars Aaron Tveit ("Les Miserables").

"Graceland" follows the lives of a diverse group of undercover agents from the FBI, DEA and U.S. Customs, whose worlds collide at a repossessed Southern California beachfront mansion in Manhattan Beach (the actual shooting location is in Florida) called Graceland (the house got its name when the authorities seized the house from a drug lord known to be an obsessed Elvis Presley fan). While the title might be a little misleading in evoking Elvis, Eastin said the working title "Safe House" "was a little dull."

"You're dealing with a house full of people who lie for a living," Sunjata said. "Briggs is an incredibly complex character. His dimensions are revealed over time. He's certainly not what he seems in the beginning."

The pilot looks decent, especially if you're into crime shows and surfing. And Sunjata.

"It is a dark show," Eastin said. "It's not just a dark show but it's also a pretty funny show. Instead of the laughs coming out of jokes it comes out of the reality of the show."

The cable net describes "Graceland" like this: Graduating at the top of his class, FBI rookie Mike Warren (Tveit) anticipates a traditional D.C. desk job when he's unexpectedly shipped to Graceland. Immediately thrown into his first undercover assignment, he relies heavily on the guidance of legendary FBI agent and mentor Paul Briggs (Sunjata). Briggs is an unusually Zen-like senior agent who notoriously hates the rule book and will go to any length to protect Graceland from the outside world. With an ensemble cast, the series also features Vanessa Ferlito ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps") as strong-willed DEA agent Catherine "Charlie" Lopez; Brandon Jay McLaren ("Fallen Skies") as quick-tempered U.S. Customs agent Dale Jakes; Manny Montana ("Chicago Code") as the fun-loving prankster and FBI agent Joe "Johnny" Tuturro; and Serinda Swan ("Breakout Kings") as intuitive and merciless DEA agent Paige Ark.

"I don't think it's typical television storytelling," Tveit said. "A lot of things you don't expect to happen, happen."

In other USA news, the network picked up "Necessary Roughness" for a third season today.

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on January 7, 2013 11:47 AM.

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