At age three Dulé Hill was tap-dancing in New Jersey, and at 10 he was already an understudy on Broadway.
His career has gone on to include films and long-running TV roles, most famously as Charlie Young, personal assistant to Martin Sheen’s U.S. president on NBC’s The West Wing, and as Gus, the crime-solving buddy to James Roday in USA’s Psych.
These days, Hill inhabits a new character, in the CBS legal drama Doubt. As cocky defense attorney Albert Cobb, he costars with Katherine Heigl on the ensemble drama about a close-knit New York law firm.
Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, the husband-and-wife creator–executive producers of the series, “have done a great job of weaving this web of love, lies and law,” Hill observes, “and all hell breaks loose personally and professionally with the characters.”
The cast includes Elliott Gould as the firm’s legendary leader, Laverne Cox as a transgender Ivy League attorney and Steven Pasquale as Heigl’s client.
With his dance and stage background, Hill has a special appreciation for the set. “One of the good things about being on a law show,” he enthuses, “is there are lots of courtroom scenes, with hardwood floors and open spaces. With jurors on set, I also have an audience. It kills two birds — I can give a theatrical performance while also working on a television show.”
Albert joins Hill’s pantheon of “smart characters who own the suit they wear, who know exactly who they are,” he says. Another member of that lineup: Miami Dolphins general manager Larry Siefert, Hill’s recurring character on HBO’s Ballers, where he met costar and girlfriend Jazmyn Simon.
“I’m attracted to these characters who work hard and don’t apologize for where they are in life. I’m so thankful for this journey.”
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 1, 2017