Post-'Earl', Jason Lee Finds His 'Memphis Beat'

Putting My Name Is Earl behind him, the versatile actor launches his new police drama on cable

TNT is launching its new police drama, Memphis Beat (Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET), and hopes are high at the network, which has struck ratings gold with detective shows like The Closer, Saving Grace and Leverage. (Maybe the latter two are more like ratings silver, but the point stands.) Coming off of the fourth and final season of NBC’s My Name is Earl, Jason Lee plays an effective but unorthodox cop who can’t seem to play by the rules. Naturally, there’s a new boss (Alfre Woodard) in town who hopes to put a sock in this loose cannon.

So what sets Memphis Beat apart from all the other cop dramas with this premise? First, Lee plays a cop by day and an Elvis impersonator by night. Second, George Clooney is executive producer. In the past, he's had a hand in producing HBO’s K Street and Unscripted -- and both those shows were one-of-a-kind fare. So it’s safe to assume that Memphis Beat will have a distinctive vibe.

Like New York in Sex & The City and New Orleans in Treme, the city of Memphis will function as a central character in Memphis Beat. Playing a detective in a town famous for its blues music, BBQ and slow, Southern drawls, Lee walks a beat full of smoky clubs, R&B music and 50’s era rock-and-roll.

In one recent interview, the actor shares his excitement about his Elvis-loving character. “We will see that side of him in every episode,” rhapsodizes Lee, who also got to sing and play guitar when he starred in 2000’s Almost Famous and in Earl. “You might see him rehearsing. You might see him just playing guitar and singing at home. You might see him performing at the beginning of an episode or at the end. It’s a big part of his life.”

Are you intrigued to see Jason Lee play an Elvis Presley impersonator? Chime in below!

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