A police officer stands guard in front of the home of actor Michael Jace on May 20, 2014, in Los Angeles. Picture: Ringo H.W. Chiu

Los Angeles - Michael Jace, an actor known for playing a cop in the cable television drama The Shield, allegedly shot and killed his wife in their Los Angeles home while their children were present, police said on Tuesday.

The 51-year-old actor, who has appeared mostly in supporting roles on television over the past two decades, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held on $1-million bail.

LAPD Detective Dean Vinluan said it was not known if the couple's two children, who are now in the care of family, had witnessed the murder.

April Jace, 40, was found dead at their modest home in the Hyde Park section of South Los Angeles when police responded to a report of domestic violence shortly after 8.30pm local time on Monday, according to police.

A printout of the emergency call indicated that someone had said he shot his wife, Vinluan confirmed, but the detective said it was not certain at this point if Jace had made those remarks.

Jace is best known for his role in the FX drama The Shield, as a Los Angeles police detective conflicted about his sexuality. The show ran on the Fox-owned network from 2002 until 2008.

Jace had been in Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection since 2011, according to online court documents. April Jace indicated in those filings that she had been a public school teacher in Los Angeles for the past 10 years.

Messages left with Jace's agent were not immediately returned.

Jace has also had several movie credits, including Forrest Gump and Boogie Nights. - Reuters