Detroit Police homicide detective Ira Todd is no stranger to lights, camera, action.
The 33-year-veteran of the police force has been a consultant for cop shows, including ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, AMC’s Low Winter Sun and a yet-to-be made Eddie Murhpy-Beverly Hills Cops sequence.
He’s also no stranger to homicides, including the fact In 1993, he and his work partner were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of an unarmed man in southwest Detroit. At trial, he was acquitted after two hour hours of jury deliberations. That made him particularly aware of the idea of being wrongly accused.
This time, Todd, 60, finds himself in front of the camera, rather than behind it, in a new show on Starz TV, “Wrong Man, which tries to prove the innocence of three men convicted of murder, including one who is awaiting to be executed in Mississippi.
The series, which includes six one-hour shows, debuts Sunday night at 9 p.m.
“I think it’s going to be a great show,” said Todd, who has been working on the show since 2016, using his leave time from the department. “It gives people an opportunity to really think about how many people are in prison for wrongful convictions.”
“It’s a team of experts who basically reopen these cases to see if we can find any discrepencies, to see if we can get them a new trial.”
The show focuses on three murders: A death penalty case in Winona, Miss. a murder-rape in Idaho Falls, Idaho and a murder in Yakima, Wash. Todd works with a team of investigators including a prosecutor, a defense attorney and a NCIS investigator.
“I actually started working on these case at a time in my life when I had some serious medical issues. I felt like I was dying and then this one case comes along where this guy is on death row. His life is confined. It made me feel better that I was helping to save a life.”
“I looked at all the cases and I do believe they are innocent. I really believe there definitely are some reasonable doubts.”
He said he also is grateful to members of the homicide task force in Detroit and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, who encouraged him to branch out to do other things as he nears retirement.
Over the many years, Todd says he helped free innocent men in Detroit. He got a confession from a hit man, which helped free Devontae Sanford in 2016 after he was wrongfully imprisoned for eight years for a quadruple murder he didn’t commit.
While Todd has a familiarity with Hollywood, and has enjoyed his affiliation over the years, he says of the new show:
“This is about saving somebody’s life.”