You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Revisiting Taye Diggs’ Overlooked 2006 Canceled ABC Series ‘Day Break’

Revisiting Taye Diggs' Overlooked 2006 Canceled ABC Series 'Day Break'

Taye Diggs began performances last night in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” the 2014 Tony Award winning Best Musical Revival. Diggs plays the title role for a limited 12-week engagement at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre. Google searches for Diggs that have led searchers to this blog have seen a spike in recent days (likely because of his return to Broadway), with some searching specifically for his past work in film and TV, including “Day Break,” the 2006 action-drama series in which Diggs starred in.

I actually didn’t watch the TV series when it originally aired 9 years ago (I really don’t recall why; I just didn’t). Eventually I would watch it, 6 years later, after I stumbled across it while browsing through Netflix titles. I ended up watching all 13 episodes over that 2012 weekend, as I remember. 

It’s not often that a major TV network like ABC airs an action/suspense/drama series, featuring a black man as the central figure (especially at the time it originally aired). So, I had to check it out, if only to satisfy my curiosity. 

And I must say that I actually enjoyed the series, although I may be in the minority given the overflow of negative reactions to it that I eventually would read.

In short, in “Day Break,” Taye Diggs stars as Detective Brett Hopper, who, let’s just say is having a really bad day – one that keeps repeating, over, and over, and over again, as he works feverishly to uncover a vast political conspiracy, with him at the center of it all.

Accused of killing Asst. D.A. Alberto Garza, he does have an alibi, but no one believes him. When he realizes that he has been framed, he tries to run but has to stop when he learns that his loved ones are also in danger. But the next morning, he wakes up and relives the same day over again… and again… and again.

To put an end to the tedious repetition, as well as solve its mystery and return to a normal life, he must find out who framed him.

Caught in this vicious, seemingly never-ending cycle, are his girlfriend Rita Shelten (Moon Bloodgood), her ex-husband and Hopper’s ex-partner, Chad Shelten (Adam Baldwin), Hopper’s sister, Jennifer Mathis (Meta Golding), Hopper’s partner, Andrea Battle (Victoria Pratt), gang leader Damien Ortiz (Ramon Rodriguez), and other co-conspirators – each with their own secrets that are all connected to Detective Hopper’s attempts to uncover the truth, free himself, and see tomorrow.

The series’ seemingly complex structure gradually comes together with each successive episode, and I must admit that I was engaged. The first episode didn’t immediately hook me, but I decided to stick with it, and see how it all would unfold. And I’m glad I did, because it got better with each episode. 

The audience is Hopper. We know what Hopper knows; As he discovers new truths with each repetition of the same day, we also discover the same truths, and it’s almost as if we are all working together to get to the bottom of it all.

So there was enough intrigue and suspense to keep me watching, and the entire production was well put together, notably the acting – Taye Diggs as an everyman Joe-cop, caught in a wide, messy web of names, faces, actions, words, trying to link them all together; it took a couple of episodes for me to start believing he was this “Fugitive”-type tough guy character, likely because I’d never seen him in a role like this prior; but eventually, I bought his performance. Also the show’s production values, the writing, etc are mostly tops.

It all worked for me. But apparently, it didn’t for those who watched it when it originally aired, because ratings for the series reportedly rapidly declined with each episode, and it was canceled by ABC after only 6 episodes; the remaining episodes were subsequently made available online at ABC.com.

Viewers for the show averaged 6.5 million, which wasn’t super, but not shabby either. By comparison, Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal”Day Break’s” 6.5 million be enough to keep it on the air today? We are, after all, both shows existing in entirely different content distribution/exhibition landscapes.  

Interestingly, TV One picked up the series, and aired all 13 episodes from March through April, 2008 – including the remaining 7, which had never been seen on television, since ABC canceled the series after just 6 episodes (the rest aired on ABC’s website).

The season wrapped up quite cleanly, so I didn’t immediately see what they could’ve done with a second season, if one was greenlit, had the show been a bigger hit for ABC. The mystery gets solved, Detective Hopper’s “Ground Hog” day drama ends, as he eventually wakes up *tomorrow*, and all seems to have returned to normal. There were a couple of loose ends, but I’m not sure there was enough meat in them for another 13-episode season.

However, maybe the creators already had ideas for a season 2, just in case the series was indeed renewed.

But, as I said, I dug it. Nothing mind-blowing, but good enough to hold my interest. It’s certainly much better than NBC’s stale “Undercovers” was. Definitely more edge, and, overall, better-written and acted.

Maybe watching for the first time, 6 years after it initially aired, made some difference.

If you skipped it like I did, I say give “Day Break” a look; it’s unfortunately no longer streaming on Netflix. But it is available on DVD for rent and for sale.

And if you did see it – whether only 1 episode, or all 13 – what did you think of it?

Here’s a look (I believe this was the intro for episode 7):

This Article is related to: Features and tagged ,