Chyler Leigh made an eventful exit from “Grey’s Anatomy,” but she didn’t necessarily think she’d become an action heroine afterward.
Two years ago, her Dr. Lexie Grey perished from plane-crash injuries in the ABC medical drama’s Season 8 finale, but the actress’ series career is being reborn. She tackles another of TV’s most popular professions — police detective — in the seriocomic “Taxi Brooklyn,” which has its NBC premiere Wednesday (June 25) after already having debuted overseas.
“This is one of those opportunities that hardly ever comes up, unless you’re Tom Cruise,” the lively Leigh muses of the show, which is based on the “Taxi” series of action-comedy movies created by Luc Besson (“Taken”).
“It’s one of those things,” Leigh explains to Zap2it, “where I got a call from my agent, who had gotten a call from (executive producer) Gary Scott Thompson, and he said they were pretty much offering me the role.”
Leigh’s independent-minded Detective Cat Thompson finds an ally — not to mention a chauffeur — in Marseilles-born cabbie Leo (Jacky Ido, “Inglourious Basterds”). An international co-production like last summer’s NBC series “Crossing Lines,” the series also features crime-show veterans Ally Walker (“Profiler”) and Jennifer Esposito (“Blue Bloods”).
Since many of her characters have been on the order of quirky or offbeat, Leigh admits she was “a little nervous” going into her new role. “I was like, ‘Wait. Have they seen what I’ve done? Are they sure?’ “
“I think it was really the vulnerability that they saw. You can start with somebody who’s very tough, but I think it’s harder to grab a raw, honest quality from that person than to take somebody who’s vulnerable and add an edge to them. And with the kind of swagger Cat has, it’s pretty sweet. It’s a dream job for me, to be honest.”