“Ironside” was one of TV’s most distinctive series of the late 1960s and ‘70s. The drama starred Raymond Burr as a San Francisco police chief who is forced to retire from the department when a sniper’s bullet bullet paralyzes him from the waist down, causing him to use a wheelchair.
With the help of a team of assistants, Ironside used his smarts to solve crimes.
NBC’s new reboot of “Ironside” has a few similarities: The main character is wounded by a shooter and has to use a wheelchair, and he solves crimes with the help of a young team. The drama stars Blair Underwood in the title role.
But this is not your father’s “Ironside.” For one, Burr’s Ironside had a driver and assistant who pushed his wheelchair. In the new version, Ironside’s wheelchair doesn’t even have handles. He gets around on his own power.
“He’s entirely self-sufficient,” said Underwood, who said he had a technical advisor who was paralyzed in a ski accident many years ago and is confined to a wheelchair. “That was very important.”
Even more jarring to those who remember the original, this “Ironside” is a bit of a ladies’ man. The pilot shows him getting very close in the wheelchair with a trainer he has met during an investigation.
Said Underwood, “Every spinal cord injury is different.” He referenced the documentary “Murderball,” about quadriplegic athletes who play wheelchair rugby. “Everyone in that movie has an able-bodied girlfriend.”