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Mark stars as "Attorney Brad Chase'' on ABC's drama series "Boston Legal". Valley first became interested in acting during high school, but put his aspirations on hold when he decided to attend West Point. He graduated with a degree in math and was then stationed in Germany, where he stayed for five years — except for the time he spent participating in Operation Desert Storm. His acting career began when he was discovered by an agent in Berlin. His first role was working in John Schlesinger's The Innocent, which starred Anthony Hopkins and was filmed in Germany. He continued working abroad and appeared in several more productions before returning to the United States to pursue his career further. Valley made an impact on television viewers with his lead role in Pasadena, as well as in recurring roles on ER and Once and Again. Additional television work includes guest spots on CSI, The Lone Gunmen and Gideon's Crossing, as well as a stint on the long-running daytime drama, Days of Our Lives. He also appeared in several telefilms, including Running Mates and Breast Men, and portrayed Senator Robert Kennedy in George Wallace. In feature films, Valley appeared in The Seige and The Next Best Thing. Mark Thomas Valley was born on December 24, 1964, in Ogdensburg, New York. He has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Playing Eddie Arlette in the new series ''Keen Eddie'' comes easily to Valley: "I had auditioned for "NYPD Blue" so many times I had a stock New York detective ready to go." However, because this detective is based in London, Valley spent seven months there filming 13 episodes. Although he hopes "Eddie" returns for a second season, colorful Venice Beach, Calif., where he lives with his cat, Cairo, seems more his style. The never-married actor, who has a daughter, Sherri, 15, is an avid outdoorsman. Latest accomplishment? "I climbed Mount Rainier a few weeks ago."
Mark Valley: Military And Soap Have Much In Common
As a soldier, Mark Valley fought Iraqis in Desert Storm. So taking on the rabid fans of NBC's Days of Our Lives shouldn't faze him. But Valley plays Jack Deveraux, replacing actor Matt Ashford, whom some viewers still clamor for more than a year after he was fired. Valley, a New York State native, beat out numerous ''names'' and began appearing last week, though his only previous soap experience was five episodes of Another World. ''To tell you the truth,'' he says, laughing, ''I have no idea what I'm getting into. What pressure?'' That attitude's no surprise, coming from a West Point grad and former Army parachutist. He says the military and soaps have much in common: ''You get up early, you need discipline, and you never know what to expect.''
Mark Valley: Past, Now, Future
5 YEARS AGO ''I was shooting The Siege in New York. I was pretty starstruck seeing Denzel Washington. As an FBI agent, I didn't have any lines, except for like, 'We're checking that, sir.' Showing up on time -- that was basically the biggest responsibility.''
NOW ''I was living in London for seven or eight months on and off, shooting Keen Eddie. I started watching football -- their football. I started calling it football. It's soccer, you know? I was watching games and getting to know players, and I'm a fan now.''
5 YEARS FROM NOW ''I want to have a black belt in kung fu. I only have a green belt now. I want to be a close personal friend of Beck, Eminem, Owen Wilson, and Sheryl Crow.
Mark Valley stars in ''Keen Eddie''
British culture bemuses U.S. cop in Scotland Yard
What keeps Keen Eddie keen? Being in Britain, says Mark Valley, who plays a brash American detective abroad in a new Fox cop show.
Valley is Eddie Arlette, who botched a sting operation for the NYPD and was then relocated to Scotland Yard in London to rehabilitate his career. "He's just constantly experiencing life," said Valley, 40, "gaining his confidence back as each episode goes on." The Fox series begins a summer run tonight at 9.
In the episode "Knuckle Punch," Eddie finds himself in the netherworld of London fight clubs up against a knucklebuster with a penchant for Monty Python.
In a later episode, "Achtung Baby," Eddie is assigned to shadow a lusty German opera singer, Liese Kohl (played by British comic Josie Lawrence), who is plagued by a stalker.
Throughout, Eddie is the American expatriate keenly aware of English differences. "Only three channels," an aghast Eddie notes of English TV, when in fact there are five.
Valley says Eddie "is a little overenthusiastic."
The actor smiled: "It's like, 'Oh, wow, the buses are red; they're ALL red.' Eddie is enthusiastic about things people normally aren't enthusiastic about, particularly in Britain."
Valley exhibited his own enthusiasm at landing his biggest break to date.
"That I had a job, that someone was going to hire me to do something -- that was pretty exciting," says Valley, a West Point graduate who did a stint in the Persian Gulf in 1991.
Early credits include work as an extra in the John Schlesinger film The Innocent -- "a great eye-opener to see what was going on." Various commercials and soap operas led to the role of Sen. Robert Kennedy in TNT network's Emmy-winning film about George Wallace, starring Gary Sinise.
Now, as Eddie, Valley is the American in London, settling into a Notting Hill flat and drawing his own conclusions about Britain's enticements, both culinary and cultural.
How does he feel about tea? "I like it, [but] what's the big deal? You put in a little sugar, and it's all right."
What about opera, the glamorous milieu of episode nine? "It's one of those things you're going to love it or leave it alone; I leave it alone."
How does Eddie mesh with Monty Pippin (Julian Rhind-Tutt), his British detective partner? Very well, says Valley, though their personalities are different: "Nothing surprises Monty. He's been through it all; he's seen it all."
In a separate interview during a set visit in January, Rhind-Tutt spoke of the way the series works. "There are a lot of cultural understandings and misunderstandings; there's a lot we can play through."
To start with, the two detectives are distinctly attired, Eddie in corduroy and Monty in a pink shirt that, coupled with his flowing hair, makes him look distinctly foppish.
"I'm not quite sure about the truth of how sharply dressed they are at the real Scotland Yard," smiles Rhind-Tutt, a British theater actor who played one of the journalists sent to interview Hugh Grant in the movie Notting Hill. While Rhind-Tutt sees Valley's Eddie as "a sexy version of Columbo," Monty, in turn, flies the flag for British sartorial spiffiness.
"It makes good sense with the tradition of English tailoring that maybe I went for something a bit smarter," Rhind-Tutt said.
The show was created by J.H. Wyman, who also is one of three executive producers and principal writer.
"It's got heart, and this is what I'm after," says Wyman, 35. He speaks of Monty and Eddie "finding a common ground. That can happen; that's what the connection is."
Don't look for ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios about Britain's gun culture, the biological toxin ricin, or the heightened threat of terrorism. "It's not the crimes in Keen Eddie that are fascinating," says Wyman. "It's the people, the connections."
"I don't think people need to hear more bad news, mate," says the California-born Wyman, lapsing into British parlance. "There are plenty of police shows on the air that talk about serious issues. I don't want to do that. I'm interested in making people feel good."
Mark Valley 's 'Eddie' proves to be keen TV viewing
Two years ago, rather daringly, Fox spent a small fortune shooting a comedy-drama series called "American Embassy" in London.
Built around a naive young Yank with an entry-level job in diplomacy and a tendency to lose her cool around attractive men, it was quickly dismissed as "Ally McEmbassy" and almost as quickly forgotten.
But the London setting, for all the expense and logistical hassles, offered novelty, glamour and loads of acting talent just a scone's throw from the set. So Fox went back for another try.
Their reward - and ours - is "Keen Eddie," a charming, disarming and very entertaining new series about an American in Scotland Yard.
When the pilot begins, Eddie Arlette (Mark Valley), a glib, self-confident New York police detective, believes he's on to something big: a hot tip on an illicit drug-manufacturing operation. He talks his superiors into a sting that involves heavily armed federal agents and panting German shepherds, only to discover that he's the one who's been stung.
Packed off to London to find the English informants who double-crossed him, the very American Eddie experiences something like jet lag of the soul. Even the portrait of the Queen at the entrance to his temporary Scotland Yard office freaks him out.
Yet Eddie does manage to undo the mess he's made, to the surprise and grudging admiration of the police superintendent to whom he's been assigned, the steely Nathanial Johnson (Colin Salmon). And to Eddie's own surprise, when Johnson offers him a full-time gig, he impulsively accepts.
Right about now, fans of "Prime Suspect" or any of a dozen other British police procedurals are undoubtedly wondering why Scotland Yard would need the services of a brash, cocksure New York cop, or why said cop would want to live in the land of warm beer and cold toast.
Well, if you want blistering realism, go watch a documentary. "Keen Eddie" is implausible and enjoyable at the same time.
It wouldn't work nearly as well as it does without the 38-year-old Valley, who's a genuine find.
A West Point graduate who didn't begin acting professionally until he was almost 30, and then mostly in small roles - he had a juicier one a couple of seasons ago in Fox's all-but-unseen "Pasadena" - Valley is a natural. A character in the pilot likens his Eddie to Steve McQueen, and she's right on the money.
Like the archetypal McQueen character, Eddie's a sunny cynic, a likable show-off and a good-natured bad boy. He's also not nearly as cool as he'd like people to think.
In one early episode, he broods for days after he's become convinced that an innocent remark has made him sound like a racist jerk. In another, the gorgeous receptionist Eddie's been leering at finally leers back, and he nearly falls through the floor.
The only American in the cast, Valley holds his own in some pretty fancy company. The elegant Salmon was Helen Mirren's colleague and love interest in a "Prime Suspect" mini. The improbably named Julian Rhind-Tutt, who plays Eddie's easygoing, slightly loopy partner, Monty, may look familiar from "Notting Hill," "Absolutely Fabulous" and a "Masterpiece Theatre" or two.
As Fiona, the inevitable sexy neighbor, Sienna Miller is another class act.
Actually, Fiona is more than a neighbor. She's Eddie's reluctant flatmate, due to another one of those plot contrivances that's too ridiculous to go into.
Anyway, she hates him and his dog; he loathes her and her cat. I give them six episodes, maximum, before Eddie or Fiona gets seriously drunk and kisses Fiona or Eddie on the mouth.
The show's clever, contemporary dialogue is matched by smart direction and quick, slick editing. Even the brighter-than-life colors signal that we're closer to the London of Austin Powers than the fogbound city of Sherlock Holmes.
Thirteen episodes of "Keen Eddie" are ready to roll, just enough for a summer run. If it's a success, look for more after the fall season starts. My fingers are already crossed.