Kelsey Grammer plays Chicago mayor in 'Boss'
In this photo taken July 27, 2011, actor Kelsey Grammer poses for a photo while filming "Boss" in Chicago. Grammer plays Tom Kane, the powerful mayor of Chicago who is more than willing throw his political weight around. The new dramatic series debuts Friday night Oct. 21.(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
CHICAGO (AP) — Kelsey Grammer makes it clear from the start: He's not playing Mayor Richard M. Daley in the new dramatic series "Boss" that debuts Friday night.
Sure, his mayor of Chicago talks about being in charge for 22 years — the exact time Daley spent in office. For both men the job is also the family business, with Grammer's Tom Kane following his father-in-law and Daley his father. And if Grammer's character really wanted a disguise that nobody would have recognized, he would have put on a Cubs hat and not one bearing the logo of Daley's beloved White Sox.
"We were writing a show that is a derivative of Shakespeare (and) he's got 400 years on the Daleys," Grammer said this summer during filming in Chicago for the Starz drama (10 p.m. EDT).
Grammer told Daley as much, when the two met and he "tried to reassure him that we had absolutely no intention of taking pot shots at him and his father." And it is certainly true there is nothing about Kane's mannerisms, eloquent manner of speaking or look that even hint at Da Mayor.
At the same time, Daley and the hardball political world in which he grew up and then came to dominate are such an integral part of this story that Shakespeare's "Richard II" would have worked as a title instead of "Boss," which, just happens to be the name of the late Chicago columnist Mike Royko's famous biography of Daley's father.
Viewers around the country may not know the ins and outs of Chicago politics, but they understand this is a city where power, clout as they call it around here, is held in the hands of a few, from the days when Al Capone ran his bootlegging empire here with the help of judges and politicians he kept in his pocket to the better part of the last half century when the mayor's last name was always Daley.
Tom Kane's power is helped, for example, by the stories, legends, really, of how Daley's father had enough clout (not to mention the dead people he supposedly got to the polls) to put John Kennedy in the White House in 1960 and prompt Robert F. Kennedy eight years later to say the endorsement of Daley, a mayor of a single city in the middle of the country "means the ballgame" to his own chances at the presidency.
In this photo taken July 27, 2011, actor Kelsey Grammer poses for a photo while filming "Boss" in Chicago. Grammer plays Tom Kane, the powerful mayor of Chicago who is more than willing throw his political weight around. The new dramatic series debuts Friday night Oct. 21. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
It is the same with the son who, though not the national force as his father, could flex his own political muscles, as he did when he got tired of talking about turning a lakefront airport into a nature preserve and simply dispatched bulldozers in the dead of night to carve huge Xs into the runway.