Among the big hits on the CBS schedule, Shark is a success story that doesn’t get too much attention, unless you get star James Woods talking about it.

The series follows a cutthroat defense attorney who winds up working for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s High Profile Crime Unit, under the beautiful thumb of his former courtroom nemesis, District Attorney Jessica Devlin (Star Trek: Voyager’s always hot Jeri Ryan). 

The courtroom drama has presented outstanding stories this freshman season.  And it has been a perfect fit for the flamboyant actor (and graduate of MIT), giving Woods a chance to air his strong opinions about the justice system. 

“I’ve always felt the slight miscarriage of justice,” he reports. “DA’s are often political offices throughout the country.  And oftentimes cases where it’s so clear that a crime has been committed and the perpetrator of that crime is ignored because, as a political move, if the DA thinks he or she can’t win the case, they often don’t prosecute if there’s a chance they could lose.  Because they don’t want to look bad.  So the criminal justice system is kind of the dog being wagged by the tail of political ambition. And that’s not a good thing.”

Woods—who has done some outstanding films, including The Onion Field, The Virgin Suicides, and Casino—is in no hurry to pursue big screen projects right now, he says.  “There seems to be not too much breadth to the imagination in the movies these days.  They are very careful.  Movies seem to be scared, whereas television seems to be like a teenager feeling his or her wild oats.  Television is more sophisticated, more gut-wrenching to me today than the movies.”

Shark has Brian Grazer, the head of Imagine Television, as its executive producer.  Grazer, along with his production partner Ron Howard, has produced movies that have grossed billions of dollars, and agrees with Woods that “television is taking more chances, and that’s exciting to me.”  Grazer is also behind 24, the hit on Fox TV that has put its plans for a big screen 24 movie on hold.

Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines.
Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network.
For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications.
Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.