"When we started casting, I thought, 'Well, we would have our pick [of] older actresses,'" the former In Living Color actor tells the TV Guide Channel. "In Hollywood, if you're older than 25, you're shunned to the barren women's menstrual hut."
Designing Women alum Delta Burke apparently escaped in time to nab this plum role to the surprise of Grier. "Her name came late to the mix. I didn't even know if she wanted to do a show," he admits, before adding with a laugh, "She came in and we just went at each other... fighting, pulling hair. I said, 'Wow.' I can take a punch and I can work with Delta."
In DAG, which premieres Nov. 14 (9:30 pm/ET), Grier's Jerome "Dag" Daggett is reassigned to protect first lady Judith Whitman (Burke) after diving the wrong way during an assassination attempt on the president. "It's like that [Ronald] Reagan moment when he got shot and we're all going, 'Man, those guys really will take a bullet," he explains. "I didn't, and I become banished to the 'hat-box detail,' [which] is what they call it.
"He's like a star pitcher who's been sent back down to the minors," Grier continues. "His whole attitude is, 'If I do a really good job here, I'm going right back up to the top.' So, he doesn't want to get comfortable. He [feels] like a wrongly accused man who's been put on death row [he] refuses to decorate his prison cell. He has his street clothes on, ready to go."