Why Noah Wyle Instantly Knew CBS' The Red Line Was His Next TV Show

noah wyle cbs' the red line

Noah Wyle first became a television mainstay in 1994, instantly earning awards nominations for his work as John Carter on NBC's ER. Since that show ended, Wyle was invested in the popular cable series Falling Skies and the now-gone The Librarians, but he'll soon return to network TV for CBS' The Red Line. Speaking to the press at TCA about still getting excited about acting, Wyle said he was automatically invested in The Red Line as soon as he put his hands on it.

I knew from the second I read this script that this was going to be an important show. I knew from the second I read it I wanted to be involved in it. And that was without any guarantee that CBS was going to pick up the pilot or that we were going to do a good job making the pilot. I just had, like, quiet confidence in the script, in the creative elements, and that that city, this show, this year, this is where I wanted to be.

After watching the first full-length trailer for CBS' The Red Line, it's easier to understand why Noah Wyle was so taken by the material, which was brought to TV by writer-producers Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss. In the drama-filled limited series, Wyle plays teacher Daniel Calder, whose happy life with husband Harrison and daughter Jira (Aliyah Royale) is changed forever due to a untimely tragedy.

Harrison, a bystander in a robbery, gets mistaken for the criminal by Officer Paul Evans, played by Castle Rock's Noel Fisher, and the cop makes the worst decision possible by shooting Harrison, a black doctor, without warning. That is more or less where The Red Line really opens up its doors to tell the story of what comes next. Hint: sadness and anger are involved.

The emotional elements of The Red Line were brought up when one journalist referenced Dr. Carter's biggest moments and asked Noah Wyle about what the atmosphere was like for him on the new show. The actor was quite frank about how strong his feelings were from the start.

I have to say the emotional reaction that I had to the first reading of this script was so intense. I have never read a piece of material and had it move me like that, and that consistently happened with every single script. I can’t even talk about this show without getting upset, which made the process that you are referring to very different for me. It was much more about staying out of my own way and going in and doing my homework.

Even though he was the major lynchpin for the various cast generations on ER, and regardless of any other leading role he's ever taken in his career, Noah Wyle is still aware that his talents may not necessarily shine the brightest within any given ensemble cast. And he apparently met his match quite a bit on The Red Line.

In that respect, Noah Wyle gave some love to co-star Emayatzy Corinealdi, who plays Jira's birth mother Tia, and then reflected on some less humbled points in his career.

When you go to work and you don’t really have to prepare because you know the level of player you’re going to be working with and you know you’re going to steal the scene from them without having to try too hard, it breeds a lot of bad habits, and I had a few. When I was working with these actors, I had to come so hard every day, because they were handing me my hat in every scene. So I it was really lovely to be inspired again. And I have to say everybody on the stage is incredibly talented, and I was really humbled. And I felt anything but a legend when we were working together. I felt like we were all in the same sandbox trying to figure this out together.

The Red Line, which is in reference to the Chicago train line that runs through all the major parts of the city, will pull at viewers' heartstrings and emotional cores in different ways. Noah Wyle and Aliyah Royale's father-daughter relationship will definitely be a major source of tissue-grabbing, while Tia embodies the effort to drive change into the metro communities.

What's more, The Red Line will also delve into Paul Evans' story, to shine a light on what happens to the cops whose hair-trigger instincts play a part in causing nationwide chaos. One might think that CBS of all places might want to step away from such charged and loaded subject matter, but that apparently wasn't the case at all, and the networked welcomed the challenging discussions that The Red Line might inspire.

Even though The Red Line is still just a limited series at this point, Noah Wyle still sounds pleased as punch to be back on a network show. Here's how he put it:

I still get very excited to go to work every day. I really love what I do. But I have fallen in love and out of love with it many times over the last 30 years. The last big chunk, those last two shows, Librarians and Falling Skies, I got to learn a lot and get a lot of different skill sets. But those are such different animals than doing a network TV show in terms of the exposure and in terms of just the support that you get in the infrastructure and in the promotion.

CBS is an advertising machine with its various long-running series, from the comedies to the dramas to the sports. (It helps when various trailers can be run constantly during ad breaks for the most-watched comedies and dramas on TV.) So, to say nothing of Noah Wyle's former cable home at TNT, the Eye network is able to put more time, funding and research into how its potential ratings winners are presented to viewers. (Train adverts couldn't hurt, right?)

Get your fill on Emotional Noah Wyle in the trailer for The Red Line below.

Find out just how emotionally devastating things get for Daniel, Jira and others when The Red Line makes its debut on CBS on Sunday, April 28. It's not the only big show hitting primetime later in the midseason. Check out all the new and returning shows' premiere dates with our midseason TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.