Family & Companions
Solid-looking African-American character player, known mostly for his work on TV. Born in Philadelphia, Johnson moved to Toronto when he was a teenager and he has returned regularly to Canada to appear in features including "Iron Eagle II" (1988) and "Soul Survivor" (1994). Work in Hollywood began in the early 1980s with a few small roles in features and TV. Things began to improve in mid-decade with a regular role in the Canadian-produced CBS crime series, "Hot Shots" (1986), as the smart staff researcher for CrimeWorld magazine. Feature work began to pick up, too, as with his gang leader in "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) and other modest but noticeable roles in "Wild Thing" (1987) and "Colors" (1988).
Johnson later played other supporting roles in the films "Renegades" (1989), "Final Round" (1993), "Drop Zone" (1994) and several othr lesser film outings, but TV gave him his best roles and greatest visibility. TV-movies have brought him an interesting variety of roles in "Heart and Soul" (1988), "Personals" (1990), and "Model by Day" (1994). In 1993 the critically acclaimed police drama, "Homicide: Life on the Streets," premiered on NBC and cast Johnson as Detective Meldrick Lewis, who has had to cope with unrequited love, the death of a partner and the opening of a bar with one of his colleagues.
Johnson would stay with the series until its end in 1999 and return for a 2000 reunion movie, but the actor cannily used his "Homicide" time to gain a tremendous amount of experience behind the camera as a director. He would helm several episodes of his own series, and go on to direct episodes of other high-profile dramatic and action-oriented television fare, including "NYPD Blue," "La Femme Nikita" "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The West Wing," "Third Watch," "The Wire" and the pilot episode of the critically hailed cop drama "The Shield." His extensive resume--and experience with high-tension crime dramas--made him a natural choice to direct his first feature film, a big-budget, straight-faced adapatation of the '70s crime series "S.W.A.T." (2003) starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Visual Effects (Feature Film)
Stunts (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Family moved to Toronto
Earliest feature film work included a role in the film, "Killing 'em Softly"
Earliest US TV appearances included a role in the CBS TV-movie, "Rona Jaffe's Mazes and Monsters"
First role as TV series regular: played supporting role of Al Pendleton on the CBS crime drama, "Hot Shots"
Began acting regularly in Hollywood features with his roles in three films, "Wild Thing", "Adventures in Babysitting" and "Nowhere to Hide"
Supplied a voice for the ABC animated children's adventure and music series, "Hammerman"
Played detective Meldrick Lewis on the NBC police drama series, "Homicide: Life on the Street"
Directed episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street"
Helmed the HBO original "Boycott"
Directed several episodes of "The Shield" (FX)
Directed and appeared in the feature adaption of the TV series, "S.W.A.T."
Directed and appeared in "The Sentinel" starring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland