“FBI,” the latest crime drama from prolific producer Dick Wolf, premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday evening on CBS, while the medical drama “New Amsterdam” debuts at 10 p.m. on NBC.
“The opportunity to do this show has sort of fulfilled a dream for me,” Wolf said at last month’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“My uncle was an FBI agent in the ’50s and ’60s, and I grew up not only really sort of idolizing my uncle, but having a very, very warm feeling about all the agents I met back there.”
Wolf said his uncle was a special agent in charge for Long Island’s Norfolk and Suffolk counties, among the areas under the jurisdiction of the FBI’s New York field office where the series is set.
“FBI” stars Missy Peregrym as Special Agent Maggie Bell.
“Missy basically sealed the deal when she did `SVU,”’ Wolf said, referring to the 2017 “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode where she played an investment banker who accuses a billionaire investor (Tate Donovan) of rape.
“There is a scene in that episode one on one with (series star) Mariska (Hargitay), which is one of the best scenes in the 20 years of `SVU.’ And if you can take on Mariska one on one for, like, a three-and-a-half-minute scene, pretty good.”
Bell’s partner is Special Agent Omar Adom `OA’ Zidan (Zeeko Zaki), a West Point graduate who spent two years undercover for the Drug Enforcement Administration before being cherry-picked by the FBI.
“The thing that I’m very excited about with Zeeko is the fact that he’s Egyptian,” Wolf said. “He’s a Muslim. He speaks fluent Arabic.
“That character has not been on in a series before. I think he is representative of the type of people that are the boots on the ground in the FBI.”
Bell and Zidan are overseen by Special Agent in Charge Dana Mosier (Sela Ward). The cast also consists of Jeremy Sisto as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jubal Valentine and Ebonee Noel as analyst Kristen Chazal.
Noel describes her character as ” the brainiac of the group.”
“She draws the profile,” Noel said. “She can connect disparate cases.”
“FBI” is Wolf’s first series for CBS since “Feds,” a New York City-set drama about federal prosecutors and the FBI that ran for seven episodes in 1997.
Wolf said “FBI” is not at NBC, home of his “Chicago” and “Law & Order” franchise series, because “there was no more beachfront real estate at NBC.”
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt “agreed and basically we’ve come up with a formula where I think it will be a profitable venture for both studios, because it’s a co-production,” Wolf said.
“FBI” is a co-production of Universal Television, NBC’s production arm, and CBS Television Studios.
“New Amsterdam” is inspired by Dr. Eric Manheimer’s memoir “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital” and his 15 years as medical director of the New York City hospital.
“When he came in, the hospital was at its lowest point in its 264-year history,” executive producer David Schulner said. “It’s the first public hospital in America and it was his 15-year struggle to restore it to its glory.”
Manheimer is among the series’ producers.
“New Amsterdam” stars Ryan Eggold as the hospital’s newest medical director who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care at the understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital, the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail complex, and the president of the United States under one roof.
Schulner called “New Amsterdam” “a great way to talk about not only great patient stories and doctor stories, but talk about health care as a system.”
“No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, everyone agrees it’s broken, and everyone wants to see a way we can fix it,” said Schulner, who was a co-producer on the first season of the ABC comedy-drama-mystery “Desperate Housewives.”