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 TV Character Bios
EMERSON,  Roc  & wife, Eleanor
864 Essex Street
Baltimore, MD
Roc is a burly, black garbage man. He is married,  hard-working, likes boxing, plays poker once a week and did a stint in the US Army. He shares his home with his wife, Eleanor, a nightshift nurse at Harbor Hospital [Wing C]; Joey, his freeloading, trumpet playing brother; and Andrew “Pop” Emerson, Roc’s widowed father, a retired railroad porter.

Charles S. Dutton as 'Roc' Emerson

Roc hopes one day to buy his dream home (a semi-detached one) and so he routinely scrimps and saves by reading free copies of yesterday’s paper, frugally furnishing his home with stuff he finds along his route and always shopping for sale items.

To earn extra money Roc has worked as an orderly at Eleanor's hospital (during a garbage strike) and earned extra cash painting a luxury condominium in an all-white neighborhood (where he was arrested by the police for just standing around).

When Roc needs to relax, he enjoys a cup of coffee at The Depot Cafe and when he needs a little something stronger to drink, he hangs out at Charlaine’s Bar with his buddy Wiz (so named for a bladder problem). Roc's catchphrase is "I ain't worked that out yet!"

Living with his father and brother can be challenging, but Roc loves them and does what he can to keep the family together. Roc's father Andrew worked as a railroad porter for thirty six years. He likes to reminisce about the Civil Rights movement, adores Malcolm X and never does anything wrong. In other words, he's always right.

When his son, Joey began dating a white girl, Andrew in no uncertain terms told him that he should respect his own race and only date black women. But, much to his chagrin, Andrew's belief was overturned by his own brother Russell, who married a gay Caucasian lover and then moved to Paris. If that wasn't bad enough, Andrew also learned that Frankie, an old friend admitted on his death bed that he had an affair with his wife, Loretta and that he may be the father of one of his boys. Unfortunately, Frankie died before Andrew learned which one.

Joey Emerson is a musician with commitment and gambling problems. He is constantly unemployed and hitting up Roc for money to bail him out of debt. But Roc isn't an easy touch. He wants his brother to learn responsibility and so there were usually conditions behind any loan, like having to work two weeks at a job before Roc would pay off a gambling debt.

When Roc's landlord wanted to sell all of his rental properties, Roc and Eleanor pooled their life savings to become the new landlords. Roc allowed Joey to move back in with them, if he'd work as Roc's new building superintendent. Roc's offer was very kind indeed especially after Joey admitted (while drunk) that he was actually the one responsible for wrecking their father's car in their youth. Roc got blamed for the accident, even though it was Joey who released the brake which caused the car to roll down a hill and crash.

Roc & Eleanor Emerson
Roc & Eleanor Emerson all cuddly and lovey-dovey.

As for Eleanor, she dearly loves Roc, despite his parsimonious ways. And while Roc is careful with his money, he is very generous with his affection for his wife. Unfortunately, the frequency of their lovemaking could sometimes be a problem with Eleanor on nightshift and Roc working days, but they tried their best to get together.

When Eleanor found it difficult to conceive a child, both she and Roc took medical examines. Consequently, Eleanor discovers that Roc has a low sperm count. Eventually, though, she became pregnant and had a child on November 23, 1993. She and Roc named their baby boy Marcus. For a time, Eleanor had nightmares that turned out to be repressed childhood memories about being molested by an adult caregiver.

About the same time that Eleanor was expecting a baby, a local man named Calvin Hendricks took it up himself to shoot and kill a vicious local drug dealer in an effort to take back his neighborhood. Sentenced to prison, Calvin asked if Roc would take care of his daughter while he served time. And so the Emerson's adopted 11-year-old Sheila Hendricks into their family. The young girl presented the normal problems of any child that age and so Roc and Eleanor made sure Sheila obeyed curfews and didn't hang out with the wrong crowd.

In an effort to continue Calvin's campaign to rid the neighborhood of drugs, Roc ran for city council (and lost) but continued his war on drugs on the local level by organizing a non-violent protest movement to scare away drug dealers. For his troubles, Roc was falsely accused and arrested for shooting of a local drug dealer named André Thompson. Even through all of that, Roc found the time to study for his GED Test to help improve his chances of getting a management job with the Sanitation Department (District 36).

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