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“‘Easy’ Rawlins” Returning To The Screen As A TV Series For NBC

"'Easy' Rawlins" Returning To The Screen As A TV Series For NBC

Whoa! This is certainly an interesting development. A TV drama series based on Walter Mosley’s fictional African American private investigator Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. Not a film, but a TV series.

As I’m sure most of you know, the character was played by Denzel Washington in the excellent 1995 film adaptation of Devil in a Blue Dress, directed by Carl Franklin. That, by the way, has been the only on-screen appearance by Rawlins, which is unfortunate.

According to Deadline, Mosley will be directly involved, penning the series adaptation, which producer John Wells (Shameless, Mildred Pierce) just sold to NBC.

Although, quite frankly, I’d much rather see this on a cable TV channel like Showtime or HBO (as was the case for producer Wells’ last 2 projects) than on NBC. Still, I’m looking forward to what comes next.

Naturally, the next question is who will be cast in the lead roles?

There are 11 books in the Easy Rawlins series. Plenty of meat to chew on there.

Stay tuned…

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With the quality of acting, VH1 LOL


LOL Yeah, I didn’t think that sounded like a bad idea, especially considering how often networks produce the same kinds of shows.

I give Charlie’s Angel’s half a season, if that. I think it would have been better served on a network like the CW.


LMBAO That is EXACTLY what I said! but CASTLE works, why wouldn’t you want that on your network when your whole dev from a year before burned on impact?! LOL

Yeah, it needed tweaking for sure, but geez, they picked up CHARLIE’S ANGELS and that is BEYOND terrible…but the ladies are great to look at :-P


@Jug, Oh I was referring to critics and Poe fans who saw the pilot and thought the plot was too mundane…too much like your garden-variety police procedural. One of them quoted someone from ABC, saying it was basically “Castle set in the 1800s.”


Agreed. All it takes is one :-D But we agree to disagree about Nate.

As for POE, no the script was fine enough (not my words, folks at ABC I know), especially considering some of the other ABC offerings. The script always gets the blame, sometimes deservedly so. They just screwed it up going for the tween crowd.

Good convo!


Yes Jug, I’m aware that Nate’s body of work consists of mainly playing younger characters. But guess what? All it takes is for one casting director, writer, producer, etc. to think he can play older. And given that he has played older before, it’s certainly not a stretch to think he’d land such a role.

As for your reference to the Poe pilot, Chris Egan’s (the actor in question) youth was not what most thought was the problem. It was the fact that he was considered too handsome and charming to play the awkward/odd Poe. Furthermore, the writing/plot not being up to par was also cited as to why the pilot was doomed to fail.

But again, this is all subjective and ultimately, what you or I think matters not. We shall see what direction the powers that be decide to go in.


You’re right Misha, it is subjective. But that is the nature of this business and of casting. If you look at Nate’s body of work, he has played young & asked to play older for a small section of one film. My view is that for a whole series, that may not play. That is why I compared Nate to actors in his real life age range, but his screen age range is much different. This isn’t me & what I would want, I’m purely going off of his body of work. GREAT DEBATERS, clips of RED TAILS, PRIDE, SECRET LIFE OF BEES (I haven’t seen FELON, so I can’t speak on that). In not one of those projects was he playing someone over the age of 30. Actually, he wasn’t playing someone over the age of 25. He was a contemporary of every one of those other young actors, most of them much younger than him in real life with the exception of David Oyelowo in the upcoming RED TAILS. When clean shaven he plays extremely young, but can age up as he looked as old or older than Jill Scott in NO 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY. But David has a body of work playing older characters, Nate doesn’t.

I bring that up to say, as I said before, that it will really be about what he looks like next to older cast members. And ALL of this is dependent on what the creators are going for. There was a pilot for ABC this past pilot season, POE, about Edgar Allen Poe. Now, for anyone that knows Poe, he was not only an older man when he hit his stride as a poet, but he wasn’t the most handsome man on the planet. The series set him in his late 20s-early 30s. Well, ABC did the dummy move of casting an actor who looked early-mid 20s and was soap opera/CW attractive. Suffice it to say, tho a good script, it didn’t make it. Because once that actor was cast, everyone around him-best friend, love interest, all had to have the same “look”. That is my point. Whether or not Nate looks older or whatever on the Red Carpet or in a couple of scenes in a movie is not the case, but for a whole series asking us to buy his older nature if the other actors around him are cast to match his age range it probably may negate the “world” those characters inhabit, it screws everything up.

Now, this can go the other way & is heavily influenced by the world they inhabit. Michael Chiklis was in his late 20s when cast as the lead on THE COMMISH, but he was overweight & already balding. Dude LOOKED like he was 40. Sherman Hemsley from THE JEFFERSON’S was 33 when he got the role but Isabel Sanford (Wheezy) was 20 years older than him. He “looked” old, dude’s hairline was running for the hills LOL But both these actors were in parts that their older look was a major factor in casting them due to the other actors being older/younger-not the other way around.

Again all academic. And this is just the kind of debate casting is gonna have, because they gotta get the right person, being a Black Lead and all LOL


My bad Misha. I totally get what you were saying about Michael as a “thought”. But there’s a difference between being a casting ‘thought” and a casting “choice”. And just because you’re a good actor doesn’t mean you can play different roles. Bill Nighy, played Davey Jones in the PIRATES franchise & the rocker in LOVE ACTUALLY, is EXACTLY the same in every movie. Even saw him on stage on the West End, was excellent-but EXACTLY the same. SMART actors are able to play different roles because they choose well, roles where they’re able to use different parts of themselves but being a good actor doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be different.

And to be honest, I looked at some pics of Nate from events while he was filming RED TAILS and he did look a lil’ older LOL Now, put up against other people his senior in the cast would tell the tale, but he did look older. But there is no way that Ealy & Nate look the same age. If you watch clips of Ealy on GOOD WIFE, try and picture Nate as a high powered govt/corporate attorney that owns his own firm-nah, it’s a reeeal stretch. And Ejiofor playing older has nothing to do with what I’m saying about Nate, but since you brought it up. Would you, honestly now, see Nate as the CIA operative searching all over the country for Angelina Jolie in SALT? Or the scientist who is so brilliant he must have degrees out the whazoo, which takes years of school including internships & more years of entry level work to build to his level of govt’ security clearance, & ends up discovering the end of the world & saving humanity in 2012? It’s that sort of attention to detail that an audience never sees that goes into casting someone, or even writing a character for a specific age range, not just “young is in”.

As for the aging up, pick any movie that spans years, decades and how many times have we all had issues with the makeup being the “tell” of them being older? Now imagine a whole series where the character is “aged” up for us to accept he’s older? An episode is one thing, but a whole show? Tricks like that often fail. Just saying, why go there if you don’t have to? But then again, anything can happen with creative decisions. Marion Cotillard was amazing as Edit Piaf in LA VIE EN ROSE, but the “old” make up was A) pretty brief & B)very well done. Not always the case. But with Mosely being involved, and knowing he writes “older” men, I have a feeling that a youthful Easy isn’t a lock. And since it’s NBC, their slate of shows this season they are going for grown folks, shying away from the CW crowd.

Personally love that idea myself :-D


@Jug Yes, you are right. There is a different between being a casting “thought” and a “choice” and since none of us are making the decision, any suggestion would merely be a thought. :)

It also seems as if you’re arguing against a point I’m not making. I never said being a good actor means you’ll always play different parts. I said good actors are capable of playing different types of characters. Now certainly, you have to be a smart actor to land those different roles but that’s not really relevant to my point.

There’s no way Ealy and Parker look the same age? Uh Jug, you realize such things are subjective, right? :P I actually watch The Good Wife and saw all of Ealy’s episodes. Despite being a higher powered attorney who owns his own firm, his character still looked to be in his early-mid 30s and based on Nate’s most recent roles/appearance I’m convinced he could play that same character.

And yes, Ejiofor playing older is relevant if we’re talking about comparing his appearance to another actor in the same age range. The fact that he can play older is exactly why he was convincing in those roles you mentioned. Otherwise, an actor in his early 30s (like Ejiofor) would probably have not been cast in those roles.

As far as “aging” up Nate, like I said, he wouldn’t require much…certainly not any makeup so that particular point of yours is moot. I was talking more about things like adding facial hair, which if you’ve seen Nate recently, can make all the difference in him looking older. Lastly, my reference to a more youthful Easy had nothing to do with thinking NBC wants to attract the CW crowd. But rather, about perhaps wanting an Easy in his 30s (like Nate) and not his 40s, which last I checked, would qualify as being of “grown man” age. :)


@Jug, I think you’re confused by what I meant about Micheal being able to play the part, which is my fault because I didn’t make myself clear. I was merely responding to your point about him being on BoardWalk Empire and thus not free to take on this role. My point was that no one was saying that he would be available, only that he would be a good choice. Also, I’m not saying he could play Mouse because he’s so good at playing Omar. When I’m thinking about what actor would be good in a role, I’m focused on whether or not they would be convincing in that particular role based on their talent as an actor. Michael being typecast as Omar isn’t factoring into my thinking as much as the fact that I think he’s a very good actor and good actors are capable of playing various types of characters.

I get what you were saying about Nate, I just don’t agree. :) If I hadn’t seen him in that film I referenced, I may have been of a similar opinion but he convinced me he could play a character like Easy. With all roles, particularly those based on written works, actors are physicaly groomed to look more “in character” so having to “age” someone up isn’t a big deal to me. Though I honestly don’t think Nate needs to be aged up all that much, especially considering that the show would be on NBC and I’d imagine that the powers that be perhaps would want to go a bit younger anyway. The Denzel reference had less to do with Easy and more to do with a general assessment of Nate as an actor. I had been thinking of the similarities between the two way before this news broke.

By the way, if Nate looks younger than an Ealy and Ejiofor that is because he is! LOL But he and Ealy look about the same age to me (though Ealy is about six years older) and while Ejiofor only has him by a couple years he (Ejiofor) could play older than he actually is IMO.


i’m with you on the looking older thing jug. i know nate is grown just saying he isn’t over 40 like easy is supposed to be. he looks his age. nate also doesn’t look like he could have been in nam. plus that means everyone else in the cast will have to look the same age as him. which made me think maybe you are thinking a younger cast. talking to misha at this point. lol

i’m still waiting on someone to tell me if mouse is light skin or not


Misha, don’t mistake what I’m saying for Nate being a boy. In real life he’s a grown man. What I’m saying is on film, Nate does not “read” older. Things have to be done to “age” him up. Put Nate standing next to Mike Ealy or Chiwetel Ejiofor and he “looks” younger. Same sort of thing with Larenz Tate. It’s only been recently that we’ve taken him as early-mid 30s and that was because he put on weight. He has the babyface thing going & that is genetics. Nothing wrong with it, just is. And I’m sure that’s what they’ll do.

But I got a question, why get “Denzel-esque”? Kinda limits the scope of casting doesn’t it? What Easy can be, could be? Because aside from looking damn good on camera, everything Denzel did as Easy in the film Don Cheadle could have done. Or Jeffrey Wright, as he was supposed to be for a hot sec. Just saying, if Denzel is all we got for the template for Easy, we’re in trouble.

Michael, not sure how you can say someone’s a “good choice” and then not be sure if “they can play the part”. Aren’t they connected? If a person is a good choice because based on their work or look, you see them in the role, being good. You don’t suggest them thinking they’ll be “iffy” do you? Well, unless it’s Common. LOL

Yeah, I really like Michael as an actor actually, but I think we like him so much as Omar that we instantly say he’s a “great actor” and can do anything. I saw him in THE KILL PIT for Spike TV and guess what, he was Omar, except he was a police sniper spouting lines of nonsensical philosophy. Saw him in BOARDWALK and, surprise, he’s Omar. I saw him in THE ROAD and he wasn’t really in it to be anything, but he did deliver “scared” LOL When he shows up in COMMUNITY this season, I’ll check it out-should be that “different” folks need. But what I’m saying is , precisely because he played Omar, saying “Mouse” makes sense but really isn’t that hard & it reduces Mouse to just his violence/danger. I think there’s more to him than that. It’s like saying “We need a HUUGE Black Man, uhh…get Michael Clark Duncan. Ok, good, Moving On!” LOL

All of this is purely academic tho, cuz casting is so much more than what’s in the script. Mess around & it’ll be Tyler Perry :-O


@Jug, I don’t think anyone is saying Michael would be able to play the part, just that he would be a good choice. As far as him not having the energy suitable for the role, well (as you said) we haven’t gotten to see whether or not he does. I think he’s a good enough actor to adapt to whatever the role calls for.

Also, Nate Parker is a grown man. LOL He’s in his early 30s. But that’s not the only reason I think he’d be a great choice as Easy. I’ve seen him in the movie adaptation of Blood Done Sign My Name, where he plays a young Ben Chavis. Now the movie wasn’t great but Parker convinced me that he was leading MAN material…someone who could play a character like Easy. And honestly, he reminds me of a young Denzel. Very good actor, handsome and has great screen presence.


AWESOME!!! Would LOVE to see this as a series, but, YEAH, it would be better served on HBO.

@ Renoir422: You are so on-point with your EXCELLENT suggestions: Michael K. Williams (The Wire) could play “Mouse”. Mos Def would be a good 2nd or 3rd choice.

And I definitely would have Nate Parker (The Great Debaters) play Ezkiel “Easy” Rawlins.


I agree Sergio. Or at the least FX. But Wells has an in with both Cheo Coker (co-EP of SOUTHLAND) who’s writing it with Mosely & NBC. Plus something is up with HBO, mainly they aren’t greenlighting anything that doesn’t have shock value. That’s how they brought TRUE BLOOD & BOARDWALK EMPIRE on after IN TREATMENT, while a great show & I liked it, was like watching sap run. And post-Soprano their stuff was just boring &/or whack. So for some reason, they weren’t thinking big or genre, till now. So I wonder why something like this didn’t get pitched to them or even considered, since they have another project in dev. with Mosely.

Wonder if Wells is a fan of the novels or Coker took it to him or what.

And as far as casting, I wouldn’t go with Michael as ‘Mouse’. One, it’s too easy and uninspired a choice-Two, he’s on BOARDWALK EMPIRE-Three-Mouse has an energy to him, a driving forward motion and Michael seems to work best (or not) when he is slower or motionless and lets everything come to him. And it’s not just Cheadle’s performance that makes me say that, but in the novels he’s low down & dirty but he’s got a nice roguish fun to him. He can’t be too reserved, that was Easy…hell they called him “Easy” damnit! LOL Haven’t really seen that from Williams-not that he can’t do it, just saying. The relationship feels more Cain/O-Dog (MENACE) or Michael/Sonny (GODFATHER).

As for Easy…can we PLEASE get some grown men choices. Not necessarily 30s/40s, but can we get some gravitas, both in demeanor & physical weightiness. Guys who wouldn’t be the first choice for a teen/CW flick. Easy was in the war and the neighborhood looks to him for support because he is not only smart, but seems to “get” the white man’s world in L.A. AND he has good benefits (my how things have changed). So that denotes life experience that can come across in not just attitude but in manner, look, etc. Just throwing a mustache or stubble on dude ain’t gone get it LOL

Richard V.

I thought I’d heard of a feature adaptation of Little Scarlet that was Timorese TI star Mos Def as Mouse. Don’t know what happened to that though. I think Mos Def would be great though as an older Mouse. All in all this is very exciting news! I love the books!


@Renoir, excellent suggestions in Michael K. Williams and Nate Parker. I’d definitely tune in to watch them every week, especially Parker. Yum! :D


NBC isn’t the place for this series. Michael K. Williams
(The Wire) is my pick for Raymond “Mouse” Alexander
& Nate Parker (The Great Debaters) for Ezkiel “Easy” Rawlins
would definitely get Denzel’s blessing and the passing of the torch. This has HBO written all over it. Hope they don’t screw it up.


Sorry but I don’t see this as a NBC series. There will be way too many compromises. HBO should be the place for this


T. Howard is too tall, far too light skinned and too “pretty” to play Mouse (he may have the eyes those) . I suppose they could make him look a bit more rough and all. They can supply some fake gold teeth too. But everything else? It wouldn’t work. IMO.

Then again…..T. Howard did stoop a few levels down when he agreed to star in Law and Order for NBC. Maybe he is game for more TV.


No rappers or british actors please!!!


typed up a comment but it disappeared. =(
i said terrance howard looks the part of mouse even though don cheadle is awesome. i think the allstate guy could play easy he’s always been a knock off denzel but still a good actor. bookem as jackson blue.

i’m down for some fearless and paris shows or movies too.


are some of you thinking about making a young version of the cast? these characters were def. older men.


Here’s a vote for mos def as mouse or Chiwetal Ejiofer


maybe i’m confused i always thought mouse was light skin pretty boy. maybe b/c i knew a light skin guy with that nickname. i don’t like t. howard much anymore but i thought he had the look based on the image in my head. but andre royo yes that is a great idea.

E Forde

Like you I’m rather sad it won’t be made by one of the Cable outfits. Which means its likely to be pretty much a waterdown version of the books.

Casting wise how’s about

Andre Royo as Easy Rawlins
(He could easily (No pun intended) get away as a man in his early 30s if its series starts with a Devil in a Blue Dress)

Sticking with The Wire alumni I wouldn’t go with Michael K. Williams (Though a good pick” instead I cast Jamie Hector as Mouse.


LMBAO Visitor, you are TOO right about Beals. I think she got found out on THE CHICAGO CODE as not being that great (didn’t watch THE “L” WORD, so I don’t know). But in DEVIL, I think you can get away with it because her overall look would be white but on the sneak be Italian, French, etc etc. She’d still be sittin’ at the front of the bus.

A little surprise but not a huge shock, about Mosley not feeling Denzel. When you read his novels you can tell he comes from the Raymond Chandler school of thought on PI’s (same with his sci-fi novel BLUE LIGHT). He sides with the blue-collar guys & writes his heroes that way. They’re literally hard-nosed because it’s been broke a few times LOL. Denzel is such an amazing actor he can give that “blue collar” feel, but he looks damn good too, so he probably wouldn’t have been the first choice. I’m sure Walter wasn’t mad with the result tho!

But that’s Denzel baby, he can get it done!


I’ll do you one better, Jug.

The entire movie is on YouTube.

Denzel was pretty good in this movie. Interesting that Walter Mosley at first did not agree with the casting because he didn’t see Easy as being that good-looking of a guy.

Don Cheadle owned as Mouse. One of his top five performances and if there was any justice a series of films should have been done just for his performance alone. Thanks, moviegoers. :P

Jennifer Beals was miscast. She used her husband/boyfriend to get her a meeting with Carl Franklin because she wanted the part so badly. But Daphne was a blonde back woman who could pass. Easy mistook her for white until the end. Beals may have passed to some white folks out there but most white people could look at her and tell that she had something else going on in terms of her ethnicity. And black people? Please. She couldn’t hide from us if you get my drift. So I couldn’t buy her as the character. at all although in hindsight it was smart that they didn’t force a blonde wig upon her.

I think I read the first four or five books of the series and then fell behind. My two favorite books were “A Red Death” and ‘White Butterfly”.

If they do a series it would be better to do so on HBO or Showtime or AMC. Networks like that don’t pull series off the air after two aired episodes. Also Mouse is a character that shouldn’t be used in every episode and I feel that if the series aired on NBC they would want all their stars to appear each week on the show.

Mosley should have taken that invitation to join the writing staff of “The Wire”. I read somewhere he may have turned up his nose on that show.

Gigi Young

I’m stoked that when NBC decides to jump into another period piece a la Mad Men, they choose a black character! Hopefully it isn’t as bland as UnderCovers.

Miles Ellison

Encouraging, but this really needs to be on HBO or a cable network.


For the “uninitiated” LOL


Given the current tv climate, I can’t think of one channel that would fully embrace this project. I see a one-off special presentation on a Sunday night perhaps, a la Oprah Presents.


Pinch me I must be dreaming. Easy Rawlin novels are some of my favorite. Denzel Washington did such a great job embodying that character that it is hard to wrap my mind around someone else playing him. I am good as long as it is Boris Kodjoe. I would love to see Valerie Wilson Wesley’s Tamara Hayle on the screen as well.


There were announced plans to do an HBO series based upon the Easy Rawlins storylines. It was supposed to star Jeffry Wright and Mos Def. It never got off the ground. So you can’t blame me if I’ll take a wait-and-see approach on this one. Especially if its going to air on NBC.


Ever since it looked like there wouldn’t be a sequel to “Devil” I kicked around in my head the idea of an Easy Rawlins movie. I just thought about the subject matter would make it a great noir series if done right. I dreamed of adapting it myself! If I actually knew anything about writing! Glad to see it has a chance of making television.


I was just about to SAY Carey LOL Yeah, it’s about Easy, not necessarily that novel (which is a beast fo sho!) They could take the characters and do something new or base it initially off one of the other books in the series.

I really hope this goes. He also has THE LONG FALL in dev at HBO with Jonathan Demme, so that would be great. I love old school detective stories, so this would be two scoops of enjoyment for me!


Curtiss Cook would be great for Easy… this is a long time coming
can’t wait
but who for mouse


This is amazing news! I’ve been waiting for the day when we might see Easy Rawlins on screen again, even if it’s not a movie. I loved “Devil in a Blue Dress”. I wonder who they’re going to cast for the show.


Finally something coming to television to get exited about. Looking forward to this, although no one can play Mouse like Don Cheadle.


I don’t know what to think about this. In my mind Denzel has always been my image of Easy Rawlins, and who can replace Don Cheadle’s “Mouse”?

There’s also another interesting aspect to Devil In A Blue Dress that I am interest to see how they handle.

Now I don’t want to give away the storyline, but Jennifer Beal’s role in the movie required her to “pass” and it was the opinion of some that her “features” didn’t allow that.

Anyway, no Denzel and who can do the evil yet likeable mouse?

Wait a minute, I’m up in here running my mouth and I just noticed that the character Easy Rawlins is the focus, not the movie. Well, a black and tough ladies man like Easy Rawlins who lives in Watts back in the 40’s & 50’s (or is that Fishborn’s character in Out Number Out Gunned?), can’t be a bad jumping off point

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