Behind the scenes of 'Detroit 1-8-7'

DETROIT, Michigan - November 16, 2010 One part of the creative team bringing that vision to life is West Philadelphia native Kevin Hooks who gave us a tour of the massive studio that's located in the Motor City.

Before he became a big time director Hooks was an actor taking on roles like Morris Thorpe on the ground-breaking television series the 'White Shadow'.

"I was able to sort of parlay from acting and move into directing and did that for a while and a lot different shows, including 'Lost' on ABC," Thorpe said.

He credits his ability to bring the edge out of his actors to his gritty beginning.

"It was not an easy place location wise to grow up in but there was just something about that experience that has always stayed with me," he said.

The city of the infamous 8-mile has also drawn in big names like Michael Imperioli starring as Detective Louis Fitch. And acclaimed actors like James McDaniel playing Sergeant Jesse Longford.

McDaniel is another one with ties to Philadelphia. It's not only the place of his mother's birth.

"I went to the University of Pennsylvania for three years; I thought I was going to be a veterinary medicine type guy," McDaniel said.

Yes, the tough talking, fierce character you saw on shows like 'NYPD Blue' once wanted to become an animal doctor. It was a dream that quickly ended once he met one particular professor.

"I had a professor named Professor Bird Whistle, who is one of the forerunners to body language, and as soon as I got into class I figured I was barking up the wrong tree and he said to me one day, you're an actor," McDaniel said.

And so the rest is history and as they take on the Motor City there are some things they still miss about their beloved Philadelphia.

"I am a Pat's steak man. Pat's Cheesesteaks. I can't help it but I'm a Pat's guy," said McDaniel.

Hook's disagrees: "Jim's was the steak to me, that was it."

'Detroit 1-8-7' airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on 6abc.

Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.