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The Job aired from March 2001 until April 2002 on ABC.

Critics raved but audiences were a little less sold on this offbeat cop comedy featuring a kind of anti-hero, New York Det. Mike McNeil ( Dennis Leary). He was handsome and stylish in his dark glasses, but also a heavy-drinking, pill-popping, smart-mouthed womanizer who alternated between his estranged wife Karen ( Wendy McKenna) and their kid Mikey, and his black mistress Toni ( Karyn Parsons). His idea of police work was to coerce a perpetrator into confessing by pretending to beat up his grandmother; sent to anger management class after chewing someone out, he created a brawl in the classroom. He agonized alot about his deficiencies ( something the critics also loved), but was supportive of his hefty, grumbling partner Pip ( Bill Nunn), who was bossed around by his wife Adinah.

Fellow cops included fat, white-haired Frank ( Lenny Clarke), tough cookie single-mom Jan ( Diane Farr), youthful by-the-book Tommy ( Adam Ferrara), and naive rookies Ruben and Al (John Ortiz, Julian Acosta). Presiding over them all was blustery Lt. Williams ( Keith David).

An Article from The New York Times

COVER STORY; You Have the Right to Remain Laughing

Published: March 11, 2001

PETER TOLAN was not at all sure what to expect when he arrived at the Connecticut home of Denis Leary, the chain-smoking coic actor who has built a thriving career on vituperative rants and savage wit. Mr. Leary invited Mr. Tolan, a writer best known for his work on ''The Larry Sanders Show'' on HBO, to talk about working him on a television series based on the chaotic personal lives of New York City police officers.

Things were going pretty well until Mr. Tolan heard a phrase that had him contemplating a graceful exit. ''Towards the end of our meeting Denis says to me, 'I've written some pages for the show,' '' Mr. Tolan recalled. ''When an actor says, 'I've written some pages,' that's the moment for the writer to go to the window and jump.''

Before he leaped, though, Mr. Tolan read. Finishing the script in the car back to New York, he discovered to his surprise and delight that he liked what the actor had committed to paper. ''Not only was the script really good,'' Mr. Tolan said, ''but there were situations storywise that Denis wrote that I would have written the same way, had I been faced with those same situations.''

Off those pages and out of that meeting a bond was sealed, a partnership formed and a new show created: ''The Job,'' a raucous half-hour comedy series unlike any other of the myriad New York cop shows that clog the airwaves in prime time. The series, which features Mr. Leary as a booing, chain-smoking detective who cheats on his wife, berates his partner and suffers the daily indignities of the crime-fighting life, has its premiere on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

One thing agreed upon at the outset by Mr. Leary and Mr. Tolan, whose names are the first ones seen in the opening credits, was that ''The Job'' would avoid all the standard formulas for network comedy. Case in point: The opening scene of the very first episode reveals Mr. Leary's Mike McNeil in bed with his mistress. That vignette is followed by one in which Mike's speeding sports utility vehicle is pulled over at a light by a bicycle patrolman, who does not realize Mike is a detective and is immediately subjected to Learyesque invective.

''Let me ask you something,'' Mike says. ''They teach you to ride in the academy or did you already have that particular skill?'' The encounter comes to a vitriolic end with Mike's off-color suggestion that officers reduced to riding bicycles have forfeited a certain vital part of the male anatomy.

In other words, ''The Job'' revels in the sort of risque language and situations that have traditionally kept network censors up at night. Filmed with a single camera and performed without a laugh track, the series has a lot less in common with police sitcoms like ''Barney Miller'' than with more offbeat material like Garry Shandling's long-running talk-show spoof on HBO. So if ''The Job'' looks to some viewers like an escapee from the more laissez-faire confines of cable, its creators will consider their mission accomplished.

''ABC has a new head of standards and practices,'' Mr. Tolan said. ''She said to us, 'Listen, I watched your show last night and I was horrified.' That was the best thing I'd heard all day.''

Both men are a bit astounded that ABC stayed on board. In fact, Mr. Tolan, who declares himself ''out of the sitcom game,'' and Mr. Leary, who says he rarely watches television, were sure it wouldn't. ''We were very upfront with ABC about what we wanted,'' Mr. Leary said in an interview by telephone. ''We told them you'll never be able to do this, but they never bothered us.''

''The Job'' is just the sort of first step into series television one would expect of its star. Mr. Leary, a 43-year-old from Worcester, Mass., got his start as a stand-up comic and came to attention with his one-man show, ''No Cure for Cancer,'' in which he held forth contemptuously on death, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Soon he was lured to television, to do a series of 30-second spots for MTV in which he smoked, paced the floor and essentially insulted MTV. Movies roles followed, like his 1994 turn as a burglar who takes Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis hostage in ''The Ref,''parts that often called on him to invoke his signature sneering persona.

And it was a part in a movie, the 1999 remake of ''The Thomas Crown Affair,'' that led to the idea for ''The Job.''Playing a police investigator who looks into the theft of a painting by Monet, Mr. Leary became friends with a New York police officer, Mike Charles, who served as an informal adviser for the film, and who was hired as a technical adviser for ''The Job.'' Mr. Leary spent six months with Mr. Charles, following him around the precinct, learning about the rhythms of life on the force and the problems real police officers face. ''When I first started going out with these guys, I was more interested in the official ins and outs,'' Mr. Leary said. ''But what struck me after all the going in and out of the precincts was that these guys were hilarious: the relationship stuff, the jealousies, the attraction, the protective thing. We got to see stuff you don't see cops on TV do. So I thought, let's develop this as a TV show.''

Mr. Leary's production company, Apostle, shot six episodes in and around New York; the precinct interiors are filmed in a studio in Jersey City. Most of the actors are not familiar faces, although MTV fans may recognize Diane Farr, who plays one of the officers, as one of the sexual-issues experts on ''Loveline,'' the late-night all-in show.

If the first few installments are any indication, the series may serve as a kind of upstart satire, making fun of the moody conventions of established urban police shows like ''N.Y.P.D. Blue.'' In fact, Mr. Tolan said, ''We ran into Dennis Franz'' (one of the stars of ''N.Y.P.D. Blue'') ''and he said, 'I hear you guys are trying to blow us out of the water with language.' ''

In some episodes, Mr. Leary said he and the other officers will solve the crime; in others, they just never get around to locking up a perp. (In the second episode, they mostly compete to hang around the victim: Elizabeth Hurley, playing herself, reports that a doll covered with blood has been left on her doorstep, an incident requiring half the precinct's male personnel to spend a lot of time at the crime scene.)

It is the authentic manner in which the characters express themselves that Mr. Leary believes may offend some viewers. But hey, what are you going to do?

''I think some people are going to be outraged by it,'' he said. ''One of my favorite shows of all time was 'All in the Family.' I remember looking at that guy and saying, 'I can't believe he's saying that stuff.'

''And now it's almost 30 years ago; he's still that great, flawed guy. The fun is in watching guys like him with all their flaws and at the same time, you're laughing your (bleep) off.''

An Article from The New York Times

TV NOTES; No More Mr. Nice Guy

Published: March 14, 2001

He pops painkillers, smokes, drinks to excess, cheats on his wife and his girlfriend. And he's the hero of a comedy starting tonight on ABC.

Beyond shattering every network formula about lead characters and the need for them to be likable, the character Denis Leary plays on the show, ''The Job,'' is striking for another reason: he is basically a real guy, a New York police detective named Mike Charles, whom Mr. Leary met two years ago when he was in the film ''The Thomas Crown Affair'' and Mr. Charles was the technical adviser.

Although Mr. Charles, who is also the technical adviser for this show, has been ''clean and sober'' for some time, Mr. Leary said in a telephone interview, ''his personal life was totally messed up for about 15 years.''

It is that period of his life that Mr. Leary, the actor and comedian, has set out to play. And in so doing he may be breaking a lot of rules, but that is what ABC hopes the show will do, starting a six-week run tonight at 9:30, because ABC has seen how poorly conventional comedies have done for all the networks in recent years.

''We didn't set out to break rules,'' Mr. Leary said. ''We set out to be honest.'' That is the reason the show will push the standards for language and behavior and also why it is being shot in New York. ''It was important to the material,'' the actor said. ''I just didn't feel you could do a show like this with L.A. or Toronto standing in for New York.''

''Besides, it's where I live,'' he added.

Mr. Leary originally set out to create a show ''that would make a lot of money and I wouldn't have to act in it.'' But the character simply became too appealing.

''I've never found it much fun to play the classic good guy,'' Mr. Leary said. ''A lot of other actors can do that. I can't.''

That is not going to be an issue with Mike McNeil, his character on the show, who is ''a great cop but a deeply flawed human being.''

Sure he cheats on his wife with a regular girlfriend. ''That's not unusual for New York cops,'' Mr. Leary said. ''They have a wife on Long Island or upstate and they say they're going on assignment in the city and go off with their girlfriend for a couple of days.''

But how will all of this play with the American television audience? ''If he's unlikable, so don't watch,'' Mr. Leary said. But he pointed to a long list of classic television characters who also broke the ''likability'' formula, among them Ralph Kramden, Archie Bunker and everybody on ''Seinfeld.''

Mr. Leary said: ''I don't watch a lot of TV, but I watched 'Seinfeld.' They were some of the most greedy, selfish, out of sorts people ever. Look at George Costanza.''

And then there's Archie. ''I see old episodes of 'All in the Family' on that channel, TV Land,'' Mr. Leary said. ''And Archie was saying things that nobody has said on TV since.''

And, of course, there is another example: that family from New Jersey now residing on HBO. ''I hope the audience is ready for a show like this,'' Mr. Leary said. ''But they were ready for 'The Sopranos.' That's the best show on television right now. If we get the same audience, I think we've got a show.'' BILL CARTER

A Review from The New York Times

TELEVISION REVIEW; A Stressed-Out Cop With a Comic Edge

Published: March 14, 2001

When the typical television hero takes a self-destructive course, you know it's temporary: on ''N.Y.P.D. Blue'' Andy Sipowicz will stop drinking, and on ''E.R.'' John Carter will be hauled off to drug rehab. But that's just drama. Mike McNeil, the chain-smoking, pill-popping, philandering hero played by Denis Leary on ''The Job,'' is the comic and possibly more realistic version of a stressed-out New York City detective.

In the first four episodes of this shrewd, sometimes hilarious comedy, Mr. Leary's razor-edge performance makes his character likable without showing any signs of turning cuddly and upright. And though the gritty police aura makes ''N.Y.P.D. Blue'' the obvious comparison, ''The Job'' has more in common with ''South Park.'' Combining mordant satire with adolescent behavior and crude humor (a severed foot left in a bag on a podiatrist's doorstep), the show is daring and wonderfully unpredictable. ''The Job'' is uneven, as risky shows often are, yet it has explosively funny moments.

Despite that severed foot in a future episode, the humor is driven by delivery and attitude rather than setup jokes. One of its executive producers, Peter Tolan, took a similar approach on ''The Larry Sanders Show,'' and the character of Mike plays off Mr. Leary's abrasive, brutally honest, ranting persona as a standup comedian.

Mike is selfish, but he's also understandably beleaguered by everything from petty criminals to a midlife crisis. He has a wife and son in the suburbs and a neurotic young girlfriend in the city and is too harassed by life to enjoy any of it.

He is surrounded by softer characters, who cushion his harshness and who defy obvious stereotypes. As his burly partner, Pip, Bill Nunn turns out to be the show's secret comic weapon. He is subtle and deadpan when explaining why he didn't respond to a call: ''I decided I needed some quiet time, just for me.'' A blunt actor would have either bellowed or overplayed the sensitivity, but Mr. Nunn's straightforward approach makes the line howlingly funny. Avoiding any trace of political correctness, in the first episode Mike and Pip chase a wheelchair-bound suspect as he rolls down a hill.

The show's only female detective, Jan (Diane Farr from MTV's ''Loveline''), is a single mother who understands Mike's self-destructive instincts. When she explodes at him for his behavior, at first it seems like an out-of-place hackneyed television moment, until she returns and undercuts the scene with one comic twist.

The show's flaws are huge, though. In one episode, the lines about Mike's Mexican dinner make the potty jokes in ''South Park'' seem sophisticated. And next week's episode includes what should be an unforgivable lapse: another clumsy, self-satisfied cameo by Donald Trump. It says a lot that you can forgive ''The Job'' that misjudgment.

Next week's episode also includes an appearance by Elizabeth Hurley, playing herself. When she asks Mike if he is married, he lies, ''Separated.''

''By what?'' she asks.

''She doesn't like my girlfriend,'' he says. No one's perfect, and if you're going to judge this character's morals, you might as well watch something more uplifting.

Network television hasn't been kind to acerbic comedies lately, from ''Action'' to ''Sports Night,'' and at times the producers' jitters come through here. In a future episode, Jan describes her ideal man, who sounds a lot like Mike: imperfect but aware of his flaws and underneath it all a decent guy. The series works well enough that there is no need to spell that out. Besides, if its hero were perfect ''The Job'' would not be such an entertaining high-wire act.

ABC, tonight at 9:30
(Channel 7 in New York)

Kerry Orent and Mike Martineau, producers; series created by Denis Leary and Peter Tolan; Dean Parisot, director; Lauren Corrao, Jim Serpico, Mr. Leary and Mr. Tolan, executive producers; Daphne Pollon, co-executive producer; music by Christopher Tyng. Produced by DreamWorks Dramatic Television and Touchstone Television Productions with Apostle and the Cloudland Company.

WITH: Denis Leary (Mike McNeil), Lenny Clarke (Frank Harrigan), Diane Farr (Jan Fendrich), Adam Ferrara (Tommy Manetti), Bill Nunn (Terrence ''Pip'' Phillips), John Ortiz (Ruben Sommariba), Richard Gant (Lieutenant Williams) and Rory Culkin (Davey McNeil).

A Review from The Michigan Daily

Leary takes ''Job'' at ABC
By Rohith Thumati, Daily Arts Writer on 3/28/01

Dennis Leary"s new show "The Job" on ABC Tuesday nights, is thankfully only a half hour long. Television has been saturated with cop shows as of late, and along comes ABC trying to push the limits a little further.
Dennis Leary stars as Mike McNeil there"s a great stereotype: Irish-American policeman playing "Dennis Leary" as a New York City detective whose toughest assignment is himself. His unconventional approach to his job makes him a great cop, but his personal life is completely in shambles. Vices like painkillers, cigarettes and alcohol all keep McNeil searching for a little sanity. You really want to feel for the guy, especially after realizing that, not only does he have a girlfriend (played by Karyn Parsons, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), but also a wife and son that he manages to visit occasionally.

However, there really is no character on the show, at least so far, that you can relate with. There are a few likable characters, such as Tommy Manetti (Adam Ferrara), a by-the-book cop, and Leary"s partner "Pip" (Bill Nunn) who"s as whipped as they get.

This show is supposed to be a comedy, but it fails miserably. While there are some funny moments, such as when Leary, chasing a suspect, can"t catch up and falls down wheezing because he"s physically unhealthy. Another seemingly funny spot is when Leary and the other cops extract a confession out of a suspect by making the suspect think that they are beating up his grandmother. Tonight"s episode promises to be a bit more amusing, if only because Elizabeth Hurley is guest starring as herself. Yet, you obviously know that this is a ploy for viewership, she having been written into the script as a date for McNeil by the very "male" Leary.

The only real standout of "The Job" is Adam Ferrara - one of the better young stand-up comics on the comedy circuit. The show would probably work better as an hour show so the supporting cast could get more screen time, and more familiar with the intense lingo that makes up the show.

Another Article from The Michigan Daily

Leary plays cool detective in ''The Job''
By Christian Smith, Daily Arts Writer on 1/16/02

Denis Leary has made a career out of capitalizing on other people"s misfortunes, often reducing them to tears with his cutting-edge sarcasm and sharp-witted sense of humor. With his pop-punk, no-nonsense attitude, Leary is at his best when making other people feel their worst, tearing them down by simply spewing the brutal truth. Appearing in such films as "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Wag the Dog" and most notably "The Ref," Leary has garnered moderate commercial success as well as critical acclaim for his trademark black comedy.
In the ABC comedy series "The Job," which returns for its second season premiere tonight opposite "The West Wing," Leary clearly uses this brand of humor to his advantage. Created by Leary and Emmy Award winning writer Peter Tolan ("The Larry Sanders Show") and shot entirely on location, "The Job," focuses on a New York City precinct and the unconventional methods of one of its decorated detectives.

Leary plays Detective Mike McNeil, an unorthodox cop with a disdain for authority and a fondness for overindulgence. He has a harder time dealing with his own personal life than he does fighting crime on the streets of New York. Leary has a penchant for playing characters who waver between quiet cynicism and blatant mockery, and here he makes about as much of an acting stretch as Arnold Schwarzenegger in anything. But one would be hard pressed to think of an actor more right for this role. Leary"s pissed-off approach to life comes in handy when playing McNeil, whose complicated existence gives him a pretext for being an asshole.

In the second season"s premiere, McNeil and his partner Terrence "Pip" Phillips (Bill Nunn) are assigned to take the District Attorney"s 12-year old daughter on a ride-along for her school paper. McNeil is less than thrilled about the assignment, especially when they lose her in the city.

Similar in style to "Scrubs," whose connection to "ER" has allowed it to gain opportunity as well as popularity, "The Job" can be seen as a companion piece to "NYPD Blue." Like "Scrubs," it utilizes a single-camera, laugh-track free technique, and shares a narrative relationship with "Blue." Besides the obvious resemblance as a cop show, "The Job" also uses exterior shots of New York City, backed by a techno-flavored two-step beat to introduce each scene. It is essentially "NYPD Blue" played for laughs.

While "The Job" is nowhere near and probably will never be as successful as "NYPD Blue," Leary deserves a break after a difficult year. He lost numerous firefighter friends in the September 11 attacks, and suffered a tremendous loss this past weekend when his best friend and longtime collaborator Ted Demme died of an apparent heart attack. "The Job" is a good show, though not a great one, but for Denis Leary"s sake, let"s hope Aaron Sorkin suddenly develops a horrible case of writer"s block.

Here is Bill Nunn's Obituary from the Guardian

Bill Nunn obituary
Actor best remembered as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

Ryan Gilbey

Mon 26 Sep 2016 07.31 EDT
Last modified on Tue 28 Nov 2017 09.13 EST

The actor Bill Nunn, who has died aged 63 of leukaemia, was a gentle giant who appeared frequently as a supporting player in mainstream American movies. He was most closely associated with the writer-director Spike Lee, who cast him in four films. The most widely admired of these was the incendiary Do the Right Thing (1989), set over the course of one hot day in Brooklyn during which racial tensions boil over into violence. Nunn played Radio Raheem, who blasts out Public Enemy’s Fight the Power from a boom-box bigger than most home stereo systems. With the exception of one memorable speech on the nature of love and hate, he is a brooding and taciturn figure. His death while being held in a chokehold by police shifts the picture’s climactic riot to another level.

Nunn claimed on the film’s 25th anniversary two years ago that he was still being recognised in public as Radio Raheem: “It’s pretty much a daily thing. For my career it was huge. I was just starting in films and I’ve been working ever since.” He also acted in Lee’s previous picture, the college campus musical School Daze (1988), and alongside Denzel Washington in two of the director’s subsequent ones: Mo’ Better Blues (1990), about an aspiring jazz trumpeter, and the basketball drama He Got Game (1998).

To wider audiences, Nunn was recognisable as the physical therapist in Regarding Henry (1991) who helps an injured man (Harrison Ford) back to health through unorthodox methods such as splashing his food with hot sauce to get him to speak. He also had a recurring role as the newspaper stalwart Joseph “Robbie” Robertson in Sam Raimi’s trilogy of Spider-Man films, which began in 2002.

Bill was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William Nunn and his wife, Frances (nee Bell). His father was a journalist who worked his way up through the ranks of the Pittsburgh Courier, an African-American newspaper, to become managing editor, before moving to a highly influential career as a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers; his mother also worked on the Courier. (The paper’s photographer took their wedding pictures.)

Nunn was educated at Schenley high school, Pittsburgh, and the liberal arts-based Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he studied English. It was while at Morehouse that he fell by chance into acting after accompanying a friend to an audition for a play. The director asked Nunn if he would fill out the cast. “He said ‘yeah’,” recalled his sister, Lynell. “So it wasn’t something he initially sought out, but once he got a taste of it he fell in love.”

By the time he graduated in 1976, he had decided to put aside his ambitions to become a writer and focus on acting. He stayed in Atlanta after graduating and was an artist in residence at Spelman College. “Fortunately, I never had to do the waiter thing,” he said. “When I got out of college, I immediately started to teach acting. One of the first jobs I had was in a federally funded programme where I taught drama to young people.”

His early years as an actor were spent on the stage. After Do the Right Thing, the screen work came thick and fast. He featured in several hits including the thriller New Jack City (1991) and the comedy Sister Act (1992), in which he played the cop assigned to protect a witness (Whoopi Goldberg) hiding in a convent as a nun. He was also in the mischievous neo-noir The Last Seduction (1994), the oddball crime movie Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Michael Moore’s comedy Canadian Bacon (both 1995) and numerous thrillers including Extreme Measures (1996), Kiss the Girls (1997) and Runaway Jury (2003). His most recent screen work was as a paramedic on the US TV adaptation (2014-15) of the Channel 4 comedy series Sirens.

Though Nunn made his name in film, theatre remained important to him. The Bill Nunn Theatre Outreach Project, founded in 2008, aimed to bring professional actors into contact with underfunded public school students in Pittsburgh. Part of the project was the annual Pittsburgh Regional August Wilson Monologue Competition, named after Nunn’s favourite playwright. He starred in one of Wilson’s best-known plays, Fences, in a 2009 production by the Huntington Theatre Company, Boston.

He is survived by his wife, Donna, and their daughters, Jessica and Cydney.

• Bill (William Goldwyn) Nunn, actor, born 20 October 1952; died 24 September 2016

To watch some clips from The Job go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to
Date: Mon May 6, 2013 � Filesize: 155.1kb � Dimensions: 720 x 540 �
Keywords: The Cast of Job


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