It “felt like home” in some ways for Russell Hornsby when he stepped into the role of Lincoln Rhyme, a revered New York City forensics expert, in the new serial-killer thriller Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector. Hornsby, who is no stranger to NBC or to playing a seasoned TV sleuth, having starred as Detective Hank Griffin for six seasons on Grimm, was up for a new challenge.
“He is a man that has a dogged sense of duty and purpose, of trying to find killers or save lives,” Hornsby tells. “The challenges for him are to make peace with his disability and embrace his abilities.”
Rhyme was at the top of his game — brilliant yet immensely arrogant — when a notorious serial killer (the Bone Collector) left him a quadriplegic. Hornsby says it takes some “cerebral swagger” to keep audiences engaged with a man who can only move his neck and three fingers, but Hornsby smoothly articulates Rhyme’s immense brain power through his Shakespearean style of intense enunciation. We don’t need him to move or make hand gestures to understand his frustrations.
The series is inspired by Jeffery Deaver’s bestselling book The Bone Collector, on which the 1999 Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie movie was also based, and will follow Rhyme as he teams with a young officer, Amelia Sachs (Arielle Kebbel), who has a keen gift for profiling.
“Something about this young woman and her ability sparks him and sort of has awakened this talent of his,” Hornsby says. “Lincoln is about forensics and Amelia is about profiling. So, Lincoln is about the evidence and she’s about people.”
And the rest of us are about the thrill ride these two take us on.
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector
Fridays beginning Jan. 10
Stream on nbc.com