"I'm trying to stop using grocery bags. I bring my own most of the time, I have them in the car," says Michael Ealy, the "Think Like a Man" and "Underworld: Awakening" star and alumnus of such series as "FlashForward," "Californication," "The Good Wife" and "Sleeper Cell" who stars in USA's "Common Law," premiering May 11. The action comedy centers on two LAPD Robbery-Homicide detectives with a quarrelsome relationship, played by Ealy and Warren Kole, whose boss (Jack McGee, "Rescue Me") sends them to couples counseling to resolve their issues. Ealy's "FlashForward" co-star Sonya Walger plays the therapist.
"It's an action comedy that's serialized in some ways and procedural in others," describes Ealy, noting that his character is a ladies' man player type who has commitment issues, the result of his upbringing in the foster care system. After a string of heavy TV dramas, "I was looking for something on the lighter side," he says.
While he's done enough cop shows not to need weapons training, he has increased his gym visits to stay in shape for the numerous foot chases, fights and shootouts — and shirtless scenes — in the scripts. Shooting in New Orleans, where beignets and other tempting fried delicacies abound, keeps Ealy on a strict workout regimen. "But yes, I cheat," he admits.
With the independent drama "Unconditional," in which he plays a community activist suffering from a rare kidney disease, tentatively due in the fall, Ealy is enjoying moving back and forth between dark drama and lighter fare. "I'm trying to diversify," he says.