Played by Henry Simmons: Jones, whose mother named him after the writer James Baldwin, transferred into the 15th squad from a bias crimes unit to replace the departed James Martinez. "D," as he likes to be called, get his amazing physique from a lot of exercise, including a daily run, and is still working out some racial issues as he gets to know (and like) his white colleagues. Despite the colossal difference in their size, appearance and demeanor, he and Medavoy have become fast friends and solid partners. Baldwin and ADA Valerie Haywood have had an off-again, on-again relationship, and currently Valerie is helping Baldwin raise troubled teenager Michael Woodruff, whom Baldwin took in after investigating the murder of Michael's mother by his father, Craig.

Henry Simmons

Hard as it may be to believe, the very large Henry Simmons was once just a little boy growing up in Stamford, CT, the son of a schoolteacher and an IRS officer. After his physique shot up to its 6'4" height, he became a star high school basketball player and got a full scholarship to Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. The usually polite to a fault Simmons found an outlet for his emotions in a college drama class, but initially followed through on his plans by getting a post-graduation job at a Fortune 500 company.

He hated it, and very quickly started sneaking off to Manhattan during the day for auditions. Despite his size, his role in the company was so infinitesimal that nobody noticed his frequent and lengthy absences. He landed a small role in the movie "Above the Rim," as well as guest-starring roles on "Mad About You" and "New York Undercover" before deciding to leap into acting full-time. (His first TV role was actually in a basketball sketch on "Saturday Night Live," where he was a last-minute fill-in for injured NBA player Derrick Coleman.)

He spent two years playing Tyrone Montgomery on the daytime drama "Another World" before deciding he was ready for something more ambitious. The "NYPD Blue" producers were looking to replace the departing Nicholas Turturro, but intended to rotate in a number of actors to both keep the show fresh and make sure they didn't get saddled with a dud. When Simmons walked in to audition, the thinking quickly changed. Co-creator David Milch, who had admittedly never been comfortable writing black characters, was excited by the possibilities of writing for this tall, muscular, strikingly handsome yet soft-spoken young man. The rotation plan was scrapped, and Simmons became a regular in his very first episode. He proved so popular with viewers that he was quickly named to People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" list.

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