TODAY   |  October 02, 2013

Blair Underwood: Viewers are ‘used to’ remakes

The actor who plays the title role in the reimagined new version of “Ironside” talks to TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about the differences between his version of the character and the one in the first series decades ago.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> actor blair underwood is back on nbc prime time starring in and producing a remake of the popular tv series "iron side" from the late '60s and early '70s.

>> he plays detective iron side, pairpleg pleen paraplegic shot in the line of duty.

>> stab me, stick me, do it. be strong. cut me. i'm helpless. defenseless. i've got my hands in the air. hurt me. hurt me like you hurt those little girls. do it, lucas , do it!

>> do it, lucas .

>> no, lucas . wow!

>> guys, listen, in the backseat of a car in a wheelchair, not all -- all things are equal.

>> and you gave him that knife. you wanted to set it up.

>> tease him.

>> reimagining of this classic.

>> absolutely.

>> in what way? you move the town to new york.

>> it was originally in san francisco . we're now in new york. the fact that the character -- is he edgier, defiant. modern day . and also we have flashbacks on every single episode. it's very much the way the story is written. it's watching a man, who he was before this accident, where is he shot in the back, put in a wheelchair, and who he is now becoming.

>> there's shots of you as a young man.

>> i don't know about young.

>> when i met you like 30 years ago, you looked exactly the same.

>> you're very kind.

>> did you ever watch any of the old "iron side"?

>> yeah. it went off the air in '75, so i did not actually then, but i tell you, when this came around into my life, i went back and watch aid lot. this show is famous. people don't just say i like the show. people say i love "iron side."

>> that's scary doing something using that title, isn't it?

>> it can be. but i tell you, i think people are used to reimagining batman, hawaii five-0. if we were trying to imthait at a time what they were doing.

>> my mom has been in a wheelchair pafor a decade now. that was part of my reference.

>> hello, mom.

>> there she is, my mom.

>> how is she doing?

>> she's doing well.

>> yeah?

>> she's watching right now. she's watching live.

>> hi, mom!

>> hey.

>> hey.

>> whole family is watching. i have a technical adviser, david bryant, athlete and paraplegic for 35 years. is he self sufficient, independent. he drives his own car. and these are things that we'll see "iron side" do.

>> is he quite the lover man like "iron side" is?

>> i'm not sure that his girlfriend would be happy with that, lynn. sorry, lynn.

>> oh, yes, she would be. they never really did that on the other "iron side."

>> no, you're right. we have fun with it. every spinal cord injury is different. every one is unique and different. for some who are disabled in a wheelchair, you are able to perform in that way. and we're exploring all of that. it is a reality for --

>> you have a team of people around you.

>> incredible cast. spencer grammar. they're going to kill me. ken joy.

>> i haven't known one of them yet but i bet they're very talented.

>> some things never change.

>> people are going to know.

>> they're really phenomenal.

>> best of luck.

>> have a great season.

>> we're not going to drink bourbon?

>> oh, wait!

>> we have to have a