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In the decade since NBC's hospital hit ER ended, Noah Wyle, 47, who got five Emmy nominations as the babyfaced Dr. Carter, grew up onscreen, playing an alien-fighting professor in Falling Skies, the Indiana Jones-ish Flynn Carsen in the Librarians series, and Steve Jobs in TNT's Emmy-nominated Pirates of Silicon Valley. Now he's returned to Chicago for his favorite post-ER role: Daniel Calder, the husband of a black doctor tragically shot by a white cop in Ava DuVernay's eight-episode drama The Red Line (CBS, premieres Apr. 28, 8 p.m.)
Wyle talks about family, turning 50 and how his name, Noah, defines a side of him.
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Chasing Daniel Calder
The two great loves of my life are the two women that I actually pursued doggedly — they didn't pursue me. Similarly, the two best jobs I've ever done are the ones I really went after: I went after ER tenaciously, and I went after The Red Line from the second I read the script. I just had this quiet confidence that I could do something very special with it.
The Red Line feels torn from today's headlines. We were in Chicago on the South Side as the Laquan McDonald [police shooting] verdicts were coming. Our show could not have been more at the epicenter of this issue. I was just clinging on with both hands to make sure I didn't get thrown off.
Back to ER streets
Talk about getting older ... I went to Chicago thinking, “I love this city, this city loves me — I won't have to pay for a drink the whole time I'm here. But whoa, it ain't the ‘90s anymore. It's a different world. ER is a lovely memory for me and for many, many people, but If you're under 30 you don't know that show. The city is wonderful, as vibrant and embracing and exciting and freezing as ever.
I'm in a pretty strong state of denial. I've always been the kind of person who could start going to the gym just a month before a job, and then you can eat whatever you want, but that's not true with my metabolism or energy levels anymore. I have to exercise pretty much every day, to keep that base level of health. My wife hates my birthdays because she says I'm the biggest curmudgeon on the planet — I don't want to do anything about them. And then I get really angry because nothing happened. The day after my 50th birthday, I'll be the saddest 50-year-old, because nothing was done for my birthday.
50th birthday trip