LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called 'a natural' at 'Southland' TV shoot
Cameras flashed. Reporters took notes. But Friday's press conference outside the old LAPD headquarters wasn't a typical meeting with the media.
For one, it wasn't real.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other police officials spent about 20 minutes -- five takes -- filming a cameo Friday for the season finale of TNT's L.A.-based police drama, "Southland."
“It worked out great, and the chief was a natural,” LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said.
Smith said the real LAPD officers would probably have just a few quick spots in the finale, but said it would be a “very powerful and moving scene and very powerful and moving episode.”
But, as often is the case, reality intruded somewhat on the shoot.
The scene was supposed to be filmed at the new police headquarters, but an unscripted anti-police protest required it to be moved to the old headquarters, Parker Center, a few blocks away. Smith said a permit for the demonstration indicated 500 people would be there, but only four showed up, causing no problems for the television crews.
The LAPD officials involved had the day off, Smith said.
Friday wasn't the first time that an LAPD chief has appeared in a Hollywood production.
Former Chief William J. Bratton made a brief appearance in "People I Know," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival three months after Bratton took the helm of the LAPD in 2002. Bratton played a politician in a role modeled on Rudolph Giuliani, with whom Bratton famously bumped heads when Bratton was top cop in New York City and Giuliani was mayor.
Daryl F. Gates, who led the LAPD from 1978 to 1992, played himself several times in the TV series "Hunter" and in the 1995 made-for-television movie "Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam."
And Bernard C. Parks, chief from 1997 to 2002, had a guest spot on the sitcom "Girlfriends," also playing himself.
— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
Photo: Film crews shoot a scene from the season finale of "Southland," in which LAPD Chief Charlie Beck holds a news conference in front of Parker Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times