Typically TCA panels focus on shows about to hit the airwaves, but Fox devoted its late-morning slot in Pasadena today to "Code 58," which is just about to enter production and is still operating under a working title.
"'Working title' actually means the title isn't working," series co-star Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") waxed, while onscreen partner Colin Hanks said, "In Japan, we're kind of hoping they call it 'Opposite Buddy Cop Show.'"
Whitford is paired with Hanks as two Dallas cops who have been busted to the lowest rung of the force. "Code 58" refers to "actual Dallas police code for a routine investigation," according to series creator Matt Nix ("Burn Notice").
"You'd call a 'Code 58' if there was a car with a couple of teenagers making out in the park," Nix said.
If that sounds like a timid premise, it belies an attempt at a swirling universe underneath the surface.
"There was kind of an Elmore Leonard … kind of a 'Raising Arizona,' very smart, very funny action comedy that is kind of a flavor that I haven't seen on TV," Whitford said. "It was sort of a forehead-knocking moment — a great show to have that sort of funky humor combined with action."
Said Nix: "The idea is not that they are bad cops. The idea is that Dan (Whitford) is a cop that is stuck in time. He is a fantastic 1981 cop, with everything that comes in that area. Like, 'Drinking, what's wrong with that? … DNA? I don't believe in it!' … Jack (Hanks) has managed to piss off everyone in the department."
"One thing I share with this character is I think I have a bright future behind me," Whitford joked.
Much attention at the panel was focused on Whitford's prominent mustache, which he grew for a similar pilot, shaved after the pilot was passed over, then re-grew when he came on board this in-development project.
"I was dropping my kids off at school," Whitford said. "I don't know if it's 'Boogie Nights' or what, but women are very creeped out by it. I always get the same reaction: (in a wary voice) 'Oh, are you growing that for a part?'
"My growing this mustache, I have to say, this reminds me of a lot of the work DeNiro did for 'Raging Bull,'" Whitford concluded.
"Such a brave choice," Hanks said.