Starring in a television show about the LAPD might not seem very New Yorky, but Dylan McDermott—who, as the adopted son of Manhattan playwright Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), frequented CBGB as early as age 15—asserts that Gotham has inspired his career more than anything else. Now, in the midst of the second season of Jerry Bruckheimer’s Dark Blue, in which he plays one of LA’s finest workaholics, he is splitting his time between his new apartment in Chelsea and LA, where he films the show.

“New York was always an influence on me, growing up the way I did,” he says. “It ingrains something different in you. That’s why the people that come from [the city] are so original. It’s the intellectual hub of the world. The idea of challenging thought really starts, for me, in New York.”

McDermott, 48, seems a far cry from his current character, Carter Shaw, whom he describes as “very dark and brooding,” as he reminisces about his early days in New York and the new love in his television future. “We finally found the voice of the show,” he says. “This season, because I’m exposed to love, my character has opened up in ways that are radically different from last year.”

While both the city and McDermott have changed (dare we say for the better?), hopefully New York will inspire the family’s next generation of cultural hell-raisers.

Dark Blue airs on Wednesdays at 10 PM on TNT.

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