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Blair Underwood plays 'reimagined' 'Ironside' role as tribute to his mom

It's been 38 years since "Ironside" last aired on the small screen, and now the detective drama is back. But don't call the new version, starring Blair Underwood in the role Raymond Burr first made memorable, a remake.

"It's reimagined," Underwood insisted during a Wednesday morning visit to TODAY. "I don't say remake, because Raymond Burr was so incredible, and it had been done ... and made wonderfully so."

The new 'Ironside' takes place in New York City, rather than San Francisco, and Underwood describes the show as having a distinctly "edgier," "grittier" feel. But one thing won't change. Det. Robert Ironside will still hit the mean streets in a wheelchair.

For Underwood, that's a major part of the character's appeal, especially since his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, has been in a wheelchair for over a decade.

"This is in some ways kind of a tribute to her," he said of his work on "Ironside." "She always says, 'My world's at 4-feet high. I see everything at 4-feet high.' So we try to even shoot the show, in many ways, from that perspective."

See that perspective when the series premiere of "Ironside" airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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