Carl Weathers’ birthday: Looking back at Chicago Justice’s Mark Jefferies

CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Uncertainty Principle" Episode 107 -- Pictured: Carl Weathers as Mark Jefferies -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC)
CHICAGO JUSTICE -- "Uncertainty Principle" Episode 107 -- Pictured: Carl Weathers as Mark Jefferies -- (Photo by: Parrish Lewis/NBC) /

Sunday is the birthday of Chicago Justice star Carl Weathers, so we’re looking back at why we love him and his character, State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies.

Today we’re saying happy birthday to Carl Weathers, who played the indefatigible State’s Attorney Mark Jefferies on Chicago Justice.

Weathers was a newcomer to One Chicago last year, but he’s a legend whom film and TV fans are well familiar with.

He’ll always be known as Apollo Creed in the Rocky film franchise, but among his many other roles are lead parts in the cop dramas In the Heat of the Night and Street Justice.

He also had a recurring role as Will Bowman’s government partner Beau Miller in the first season of USA‘s sci-fi series Colony.

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Carl Weathers is a living legend in and of himself, which was what made him the perfect choice to play Mark Jefferies in Chicago Justice.

Jefferies was supposed to be this big figure, a man who could be moving up in city or state politics one day. He definitely had to be someone who could believably issue orders to the strong-willed Peter Stone (Philip Winchester).

The role needed an incredible amount of gravity and a certain bit of ruthlessness, and Weathers was able to bring that and more.

He was the top dog at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and we without a doubt believed that he was the man in charge.

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The thing about Mark Jefferies is that he wasn’t an easy role to play. Chicago Justice made him the voice of all the political and other considerations that everyone else would prefer not to deal with, and the one who had to bring the hammer down, sometimes when Stone didn’t deserve it.

He was the man who was constantly looking at the big picture, and that made him difficult and a character who was sometimes hard to get behind. (Just look at when he turned up on Chicago PD and ticked off Alvin Olinsky.)

But Carl Weathers was great at that. He could voice a negative opinion, or say something that no one else wanted to hear, and make it palatable. He had to get on the soapbox, but he never let that take away from Jefferies’ dignity or the fact that he was on the right side.

Because he was played by Carl Weathers, we could always get behind Jefferies, even if we didn’t agree with him. He gave the character a humanity that kept him relatable, as well as the poise and power to create some of Chicago Justice‘s most explosive confrontations. He took a character who could have been so one-dimensional, and gave him the nuance and sophistication that he needed.

Carl Weathers was an incredible addition to the One Chicago family, and even though we don’t have Chicago Justice, hopefully we’ll see him again. Until then, check out the trailer for his latest project.

Next: Why you should watch Chicago Justice again

Join us in wishing Carl Weathers a happy birthday in the comments and on Twitter! You can watch Chicago Justice season 1 on iTunes and DVD.