The Eric actor McKinley Belcher III plays a determined missing-persons detective with strength and vulnerability.

Additional reporting by Keely Flaherty
Detective Michael Ledroit (McKinley Belcher III) looks solemn at a police desk.

The Detective

22 May 20243 min read

McKinley Belcher III was making history as the first Black Happy Loman on Broadway in Death of a Salesman when he got the call about auditioning for the role of Michael Ledroit, an NYPD detective in Abi Morgan’s limited series, Eric. Belcher secured the part, and given his astonishing performance, it’s hard to imagine anyone else portraying the dedicated officer tasked with finding a missing nine-year-old boy named Edgar.

Belcher is no stranger to the crime genre — he played Agent Trevor Evans in the prestige series Ozark — though his career spans a range of characters and mediums, with roles in the zeitgeisty series One Piece and Oscar-nominated drama Marriage Story. He’s appeared onstage in A Soldier’s Play on Broadway and delivered a Drama Desk AwardⓇ-winning turn Off Broadway in The Royale.

Belcher’s Ledroit has his hands full trying to enact real change on and off the streets of seedy 80s New York City. “[Being] a Black man in the NYPD is a difficult thing to deal with,” says the actor. “But a Black gay man — there isn’t space for that. I was excited that the show was not only interested in him as an officer but also as a human.” Despite the sometimes gritty nature of the six episodes, for Belcher, it’s Eric’s larger themes, chiefly the notion of creativity as a means to offer hope in dark times, that resonate: “Creativity in art can be a kind of salvation. In the story it functions this way, but I hope the series itself is [also] a way of connecting.”