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
The LAPD officials involved had the day off, Smith said.
Friday wasn't the first time that an LAPD chief has appeared in a
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
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.
Matthew Keys 'fine' after indictment on hacking charges
Big snake discovered among belongings at homeless storage center
Gavin Smith investigation 'moving forward vigorously,' official says
— 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