Joe Pesci Starred in a Short-Lived Cop Drama Early in His Career

by Chase Thomas

Joe Pesci is a legend in Hollywood. Known for his iconic roles, like his big-time role in Goodfellas, a cinematic classic in its own right. With someone who has been around for as long as Pesci has been, it’s fair to assume that you might know or have an idea about most of what the iconic actor starred in over the years. However, most folks might have missed a role for Pesci early on in his career. Yes, Joe Pesci starred in a short-lived cop drama early on in his career.

Yes, Joe Pesci was a leading man once on an NBC sitcom that got just nine episodes before it was canceled. The show was called Half Nelson. Pesci played the character of Rocky Nelson. The twist was he was a cop who left the force to become an actor.

The show did not last long as ratings were in the tank and that was that for Joe Pesci’s role on the show and the show itself.

Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

Pesci has not starred in many major films since Goodfellas. To be fair, similar to Ray Liotta, it was always going to be difficult for the duo to find anything else that matched up with one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time. However, The Irishman in 2019 was a big deal with De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Scorsese told EW about it, “Having gotten to make the film. The picture was very difficult to get made the past 10 years and for many different reasons. But I really felt that De Niro and I had one more picture to make at least. Robert read Charles Brandt’s book [I Heard You Paint Houses] when he was doing [the 2006 drama] The Good Shepard. He gave it to me. I saw he was connected with the character and we’ve been wanting to make something together since Casino.”

So it was De Niro and Scorsese that got together first for the film. The duo soared in the film Casino many years ago and this character worked for De Niro.

They Did It

He continued, “I realized he really cares about the character, and that it’s something that could be moving. So I figured we’d take the trip. It took a while. It’s very special that we got it made. And I feel at this point in my life, it’s something that I feel the value of — if not for me, for Bob, Al, and Joe — a lot of people involved in it. And the fact people have reacted so strongly is really [pauses] I don’t know if I have the words to express the thanks. What’s special about it is that everything in our hearts was put into it at this stage of our lives.”

It was a roller coaster it seems to get done, but it got done with Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. You can watch it on Netflix now.