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NBC: Getting diversity right

Gail Choice | 9/15/2010, 5 p.m.

The Fall television season is already off to a running start, and this article was originally designed to highlight what's new on all the networks, but I got stuck at the first network I was profiling, NBC. Why? Because from what I can tell, they are getting diversity right.

NBC's "The Event" stars Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez, yes; I said Martinez, talk about killing two birds with one stone. The character bio reads; born to Cuban refugees in the U.S., he is very proud of his African roots. Martinez is married to Christina Martinez played by Lisa Vidal, who is of Puerto Rican descent. The award-winning actress is no newcomer to television roles; she's most recognized for her regular roles on popular hit prime-time series including "New York Undercover" and "Third Watch."

"The Event" is from the producers of "24," the Fox series that took America by storm, and they believe "The Event" will do the same. It's full of conspiracy, intrigue and split-second action and a great cast. "The Event" premieres Monday, Sept. 20.

Jimmy Smits returns to Network television in NBC's "Outlaw." Smits stars as Cyrus Garza, Supreme Court Justice. A playboy and a gambler, Justice Garza always adhered to a strict interpretation of the law, until he realized the system he believed in was flawed. Now, he's quit the bench and returned to private practice. Garza and his team will travel across the country taking on today's biggest and most controversial legal cases.

David Ramsey ("Dexter") plays brilliant defense attorney Al Druzinsky. With liberal beliefs, Druzinsky is a hopeless optimist--and Cyrus Garza's (Jimmy Smits) best friend since childhood.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ramsey was bitten by the acting bug while performing in a church play. "Outlaw" premieres Friday, Sept. 17.

All eyes will be on the new NBC series "Undercovers" which stars Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, as Steven and Samantha Bloom. This beautiful couple is a double-trouble, lethal weapon nightmare to the bad guys ... yep, they are CIA agents, and take no prisoners.

Born in Vienna, Austria, and raised in Germany, Kodjoe was previously named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw who stars as Kodjoe's wife was born in Oxford in the United Kingdom. Mbatha-Raw was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. This is her first American TV acting job, and she comes from a very distinguished TV career in the United Kingdom. Her UK work includes "Bad Girls" (1999), "Doctor Who" (2005) and "Marple." "Undercovers" premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Jerry Bruckheimer ("CSI" franchise, "Amazing Race") and Jennifer Johnson ("Cold Case," "Lost") bring "Chase" to NBC. This series follows a team of U.S. Marshals who hunt down America's most dangerous fugitives. Although the promos focus on the star, Kelli Giddish, you can't help but notice the sister in the background toting a gun. She's Rose Rollins.

Rollins' character is Daisy Ogbaa, a weapons/tactical specialist and a woman of few words - but when she uses them, she makes them count.