Richard L. Brooks (born December 9, 1962) is an American actor, singer, and director. He is best known for his one-off role as the eccentric bounty hunter Jubal Early in the space-western Firefly and assistant district attorney Paul Robinette in the NBC drama series, Law & Order from 1990 to 1993 and reprising his role as a defense attorney on that same show. In 2013, he began starring as Patrick Patterson in the BET drama series, Being Mary Jane.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Brooks studied acting, dance, and voice work at Interlochen Academy of Arts in Michigan. Later, he moved to New York City and was a student of the Circle in the Square Professional Theater School.
While in New York, Brooks performed in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Conference production of August Wilson's Fences, which gained him a positive reputation. A subsequent move to Los Angeles found the actor landing numerous television roles, Hill Street Blues s04e10 "The Russians Are Coming" also with made-for-TV features as Badge of the Assassin (1985) and Resting Place (1986). With Teen Wolf (1985), The Hidden (1987), Off Limits (1988), Shakedown (1988), and Shocker (1989), Brooks began his work in the world of feature films. Brooks appeared as OD in the award-winning film 84C MoPic (1989), directed by Patrick Sheane Duncan.