Even in a windowless room on the set of CBS' "Unforgettable," Dylan Walsh waxes poetic about New York.
After years in Los Angeles, Walsh moved to Manhattan for this show.
"I love being back here," he says. "I love it like I loved somebody."
"Starting here gives you pride," Walsh says. "L.A. is very different. L.A. exists for people to move up the ladder."
After studying English at the University of Virginia, Walsh came to Manhattan. He went on auditions and waited tables at a diner on Third Avenue.
"Before there were cellphones, after an audition you would come out, and there would be a bank of pay phones, and you would call your agent to find out how you did," he says.
He lived in a typical aspiring artist's apartment; radiators constantly hissed, and everything was moldy and damp. Yet as he talks about those days, he beams.
"It's the best city in the world for actors," Walsh says. "You feed off the city."
He researched the nuances of playing a cop while on "Brooklyn South."
"I was so lucky to hang out with Brooklyn cops," he says. "I ran into seasoned local cops. They're kind of sarcastic."
His "Unforgettable" character, Al Burns, left the Syracuse (N.Y.) Police Department because he is ambitious, Walsh says.
"The ones who move through the ranks are always playing a game," he says. "It's all about angles, and these guys do it better than anybody. They do it in the street way, not the college way."
There are plenty of cop shows, but as Walsh says, "You would think we're saturated, but people eat it up."
If the show lasts, his family will move east.
"I am so grateful to be back," Walsh says. "And this time, I take nothing for granted."
Favorite books: "Tender Is the Night," "Infinite Jest," "The Sound and the Fury"