Actor Eriq La Salle Talks About Laws of Depravity

Eriq La Salle, award-winning TV actor, can now add published author to his list of talents, along with acting and directing. He has written Laws of Depravity, a thriller about good versus evil with a heavy undercurrent of spirituality throughout the narrative.

La Salle, 51, has been hailed for his portrayal of Dr. Peter Benton on the TV series ER,  has directed the HBO movie “Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault”  and directed episodes of  “CSI: New York,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Without a Trace,” and “ER.”  The book Laws of Depravity is the first in the Martyr Maker series he has planned.

La Salle shared with the AFRO how he reveals the faults of brothers through their crimes. Faith is fully explored in damaged characters who seek justice for hidden and unexpected criminal acts.  

AFRO: You wrote about a lot of damaged people. Where do you get the background to actually write about so many different characters?

La Salle: First and foremost, you start with what’s going to make the most compelling story and who’s going to make the most compelling character. Historically, the more damaged you are, the more interesting you are. The book was conceived to be a sort of a darker version of Wizard of Oz, basically.

You have one character who is missing faith. He doesn’t have faith, so the pursuit of a serial killer of who’s killing priests, will challenge that absence of faith. You have a character that is missing forgiveness. She doesn’t know how to forgive. Everybody has that hole that they have. I thought that would be an interesting way of telling a story about a bunch of bruised characters that aren’t beyond redemption.

AFRO: How long did you work on the book?

La Salle: It took roughly about three months. A good two months to sort of get the story down. Another three weeks for rewrites.

AFRO: You would like to see this become a movie?

La Salle: Yes, ideally. Right now they are doing so many interesting things in television (TV), that I think with the cable outlets, obviously – not network, I would also look at what was originally conceived to be a movie. I am a big movie buff. I love the whole concept of doing a trilogy of books. I am open as to whether it becomes a series or whether it becomes a movie.

AFRO: Do you think there will be much interest for such a religion-based story?

La Salle: But in general, this is about man, you know, the flaws of man and the hypocrisies of religious men. I don’t think it’s a book about religion, so much as it is religion as a back drop. It’s a modern day parable.

AFRO: Did you suffer any abuse in your life that you could identify with any of these characters?

La Salle: No. There have been times when I can go left and be angry at God. Or I can go right and realize that this is what faith really is. Faith really is maintaining even under the most difficult circumstances. I have problems with religion, with institutionalized religion. I find it to be hypocritical: ‘If you don’t believe the way I believe you’re going to hell.’.

AFRO: Sure! Thanks, Eriq. The {Laws of Depravity} is available at Or visit Eriq’s website

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Actor Eriq La Salle Talks About Laws of Depravity


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