The smell of buttery popcorn filled the air as the stars of ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 walked the red carpet at the show’s glitzy local premiere.
By Mark Kurlyandchik
About 350 people, including Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, City Council President Charles Pugh, and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Craig Strong, showed up to the invitation-only Sept. 7 event at the MGM Grand Detroit. The stars and producers of the new cop drama (premiering Sept. 21 at 10 p.m.) took time before a special screening of the pilot episode to speak with the media.
On Detroit: “The biggest difference [between New York and Detroit] is that the people here are a little more willing to take time for you. … I also think — in the middle of the city — there are a lot more differences in economic level. You can go from very poor to very wealthy in a short period of time. New York, especially Manhattan, is a lot more homogenous.” — Michael Imperioli
“I think the story [Detroit] tells is amazing. I look at it as an underdog, and it’s on its way back up again.” — Natalie Martinez
“It’s been pretty fantastic. … We’ve been welcomed in and it’s been a good ride so far.” — Jon Michael Hill
On relocating to the area: “I’m here as long as the show is here. We’re picked up for 13 [episodes], and that’ll bring us to the end of this year. Then we’ll see.” — Michael Imperioli
“I live here. I don’t have a place in L.A. I’m in the Royal Oak area.” — Natalie Martinez
“I’m living in Birmingham. I commute to Highland Park where our stages are and when we’re filming, which is pretty much all of our time.”— Jon Michael Hill
Favorite hotspots: “Inn Season Cafe. I’m a vegetarian, so Inn Season is like culinary nirvana for me.” — Michael Imperioli
The Majestic Theatre, Garden Bowl, Tasi Juice Bar in Royal Oak, Ronin, and Stoney Creek Metropark. — Natalie Martinez
“We’ve been around a couple times to get some sushi in Royal Oak, but I’m actually a homebody.” — Jon Michael Hill
On the show’s portrayal of the city: “Detroit is one of our characters. We definitely showcase it a lot. … It is our show.” — Natalie Martinez
“There have been some people worried about how we’re going to show the city. But I know, from what we’ve been filming, that that’s not going to be an issue once it gets out to the public.” — Jon Michael Hill
Following the media reception, guests were escorted into MGM’s grand ballroom for the screening, where the walls were draped in red velvet and spotlights danced across the ceiling. The show’s producers took a moment before the screening to thank cast members, law-enforcement agencies, and local dignitaries, and to praise their location.
“There’s something really special about this city,” said Jason Richman, the show’s creator. “Hopefully, we have a long relationship, and we’ll be here a long time.”
Worries of the show’s negative portrayal were visibly eased, as the audience burst into applause during every break.
On Dec. 13 at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center Atrium, more than 800 guests stepped into a setting reminiscent of a classic Rococo painting. Guests dined on a meal catered by Forte Belanger, and danced to the music of Intrigue. Gifts benefitted the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Clinical Simulation Program, a technologically advanced education lab.
On Dec. 5 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, a high tea was held to support Alternatives for Girls, a Detroit-based organization that helps local homeless and high-risk young women. The event also featured a silent auction of new and white elephant treasures brought by guests.