Jason Lee seems like a man who prefers to stay busy. Having just appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly moments before, Lee talks to us from a car on his way to the airport so that he can return to shooting his new TNT cop drama Memphis Beat later in the afternoon.

And Lee’s last TV hit, My Name Is Earl, was barely deceased before he reappeared in this somewhat less-quirky role as Dwight Hendricks, a southern police detective who is also an Elvis impersonator.

“(Earl was) more goofing off and having a good time doing that and [Dwight] is having a good time taking a completely different approach, which is a little bit more thoughtful,” Lee explains about the new role. “It really became my objective to make this guy real whereas with Earl, it was a little more fantastical.”


Memphis Beat isn’t a usual gritty crime drama.

“It’s certainly more interesting when you can be as invested in the characters as you are in whatever the case is or who the bad guy is and how they find them,” Lee says. “I think it’s a character thing.”

Lee believes the setting of the show makes in unique.

“The way things work down there as opposed to anywhere else in the country and the pride that people have — it makes the show so much more interesting,” he said.

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