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Golden Boy TV Show TCA Interviews

How New CBS Drama Golden Boy Was Inspired by The Social Network

CBS's new midseason drama Golden Boy follows a young police officer who rises through the ranks to become the NYPD's youngest commissioner. The series is unique in that the story is partially told in flashback — you watch as Walter William Clark Jr. (Theo James) goes from a rookie to commissioner, but you also see him in present day as commissioner. The cast and executive producers came to the TCA to talk about why they chose that format, where you might recognize James from, and the Oscar-winning movie that inspired Golden Boy.

  • Executive producer Nicholas Wootton confessed to being inspired by the movie The Social Network because of its portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, and how he was a character with "drive and ambition and this sort of thoughtless forward-thinking I-don't-care-who-gets-burned ambition." Wootton, who was a producer on NYPD Blue wondered what it would be like to have a cop character with the same kind of "ferocious ambition," and the character of Clark was born.
  • Ryan Phillippe was originally supposed to play the lead in Golden Boy, but when he dropped out, Theo James was cast. If James looks familiar to you, you're probably a Downton Abbey fan: he was the Turkish man who died in Lady Mary's bed in season one. James seemed to know what he was getting into with that role, saying, "When I did the show, I kind of felt like it was going to be a big deal . . . I mean, I'm on screen for about 20 minutes, and I still get people going, 'Mr. Pamuk.'"
  • On the unusual format, in which present-day commissioner Clark talks about how he got to where he is, Wootton seemed to feel they made the right decision: "I love a story where you know the end."
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