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Gay TV characters especially important in time of Trump, Alan Cumming says

Cumming portrays what is believed to be the first gay lead character in a broadcast network drama in the new CBS show "Instinct."
by Associated Press /

PASADENA, Calif. — Actor Alan Cumming, who is portraying what is believed to be the first gay lead character in a broadcast network drama, said Saturday that it's particularly important that the milestone is happening during President Donald Trump's administration.

His crime procedural "Instinct" arrives at a time when Cumming said "the president is actively condoning, by his silence, violence and persecution against the LBGT community."

There was no immediate comment from the Trump administration.

Image: Alan Cumming, Bojana Novakovic
Alan Cumming, left, executive producer and star of the new CBS series "Instinct" takes part in a panel discussion on the series with fellow cast member Bojana Novakovic at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif.Chris Pizzello / AP

Cumming saluted CBS for committing to a series with a married gay couple.

"I think it's actually the perfect time," he said. "It needs to be done and I'm glad to be a part of it."

In real life Cumming, 52, has described himself as bisexual and has a husband, Grant Shaffer. But he was also once married to a woman.

Cumming portrays Dr. Dylan Reinhart, an author and university professor who is an expert on serial killers, and is asked by New York police to help solve a case where a criminal is basing his behavior on one of his books. It's based on James Patterson's novel.

Cumming, who had a longtime role as a political strategist on the CBS drama "The Good Wife," said he was attracted to playing the part of Reinhart because there are so many aspects to the character. The professor is a combination of a fuddy-duddy and a dandy with an expertise in extremely anti-social behavior.

"There are so many different layers, and I guess the challenge is to make it into one character," he said.

The show's executive producer, Michael Rauch, described "Instinct" as a procedural — meaning a different crime is solved in each episode — "with a light tone."

"Instinct" premieres on CBS March 11.

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