Jimmy Smits of CBS' "East New York" on Representation in Entertainment (Video)

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Cover image for  article: Jimmy Smits of CBS' "East New York" on Representation in Entertainment (Video)

We are honored and delighted to be joined by Emmy Award-winning stage and screen actor Jimmy Smits, who after decades of work on such series as L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and The West Wing (to name just a few) is back on primetime in CBS' latest procedural East New York. Jimmy reflects on his career and early inspirations, how it feels seeing a part of Brooklyn where he grew up presented on television, and why he didn't expect to be back on a procedural at this point in his career.

"I didn't really see it in the cards that I would be doing a police procedural," he says. "A lot of it had to do with what we have been through in the last couple of years with the pandemic, the empowerment of women's voices and disenfranchised communities, and the insight we've had into law enforcement transgressions. When I found out creatives that I knew were doing a show that mined this landscape, I was interested because I knew where their hearts were and that it was a different kind of take."

Speaking about recent strides for diversity and representation in entertainment, Smits says, "We've made a lot of progress, but we've got a ways to go. Our population numbers are increasing and you're seeing in the Latinx space that it's not just one specific look or story. The moves that we have to make are to be more in control of the content. Not just Jimmy in front of the camera, but Jimmy and Juan getting together and talking about stories that interest them, writing those, pitching those and getting them on the air, or in film or on stage. That's where we need to make a leap to the next level. It's happening but I want it to happen quicker!"


East New Yorkis telecast Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and is available to stream on Paramount+.

Watch the full interview above or listen wherever you download your podcasts, includingApple, GooglePodcasts, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn.

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