Steven Seagal goes from C list to 'True Justice' for Reelz
The tiny ReelzChannel earned some hard-fought accolades and prestige when it broadcast the controversial miniseries "The Kennedys," which earned 10 Emmy nominations, including one for outstanding miniseries or movie.
But the cable network appears to be heading in the opposite direction with its latest drama, which will feature an aging, heavyset action star whose movies usually go straight to video and who has been heavily ridiculed for his participation in a reality series that portrays him as a true-life crime fighter.
Steven Seagal has been set to star in Reelz' "True Justice" as the leader of a hardcore undercover team of Seattle-based cops who "take on the local crime element with a high-octane style of enforcement."
Seagal became a huge action star after first striking it big in the late 1980s and early 1990s with films such as "Above The Law," "Hard to Kill," "Under Siege" and "Executive Decision." But his star power eventually fizzled, and the last several years the actor has mostly starred in low-budget straight-to-video fare such as "Attack Force," "Flight of Fury," "Kill Switch" and "Pistol Whipped."
But Seagal, a "lifelong practitioner of the martial arts" who has never been known for his modesty, still considers himself a major star.
"I've been blessed with great success in the world of movies," he said in a statement. "Now with 'True Justice,' I believe I have the perfect vehicle for a hit show in the world of scripted television. My fans are going to get all of the adrenaline and entertainment they have come to expect from any project I've been involved in. This show is like nothing else on TV, and I'm excited that it has found a home on Reelz."
Seagal lately has been a punch line due to his involvement with the A&E series, "Steven Seagal: Lawman" in which he reveals that he has moonlighted as a cop for the last two decades in Jefferson Parish, La., working "major cases."
Although the show's promotional material says he is a "fully commissioned deputy" and Seagal introduces himself as a "deputy sheriff," he is actually part of the department's reserve program of about 200 volunteers. His rank of deputy sheriff is purely ceremonial.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Steven Seagal in 1996. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles