Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Interview: Dylan McDermott and Dark Blue Kick Ass and Take Names

Let me be blunt: If you aren't watching Dark Blue, you should be. This ain't your average cop show, and the star ain't your average cop. I caught up with Dark Blue's star, Dylan McDermott, the other day to talk about Season 2 of Dark Blue, and I have to say — what a difference a season makes! Dark Blue is back, and it's ready to suck you in. So, get ready — the first episode airs tomorrow night at 9/8c on TNT. (All photos courtesy TNT.)

Celebrity Extra: Dark Blue is back for a second season, starting tomorrow, August 4. And aside from being introduced to the new character of Agent Rice, how have things changed and how have they stayed the same since the end of the first season?

Dylan McDermott: Well, I think we looked at the first season and we figured out what worked and what didn’t work, and we decided to make the show a little bit lighter in tone, with more humor. And  then there is the introduction of Alex Rice as my love interest on the show. And I think those components really changed the landscape of the show. And now we have a show that I think is much more attractive to a wider audience. And although the show is gritty and still dark, I think that just adding and making changes will open up the show a lot. Especially for my character, because I think you forgive my character a lot more by all the things he does when he has a love interest.

CE: I have to watch a lot of shows for my job of course. And so I watched this last night with the intention of watching only the first episode since I had other screeners to watch. But, I was so drawn in that I ended up watching all three episodes that were on the press screener, because I really wanted to see what happened.

DM: Wow. That’s good.

CE: What do you think it is about the show that draws people in and sets it apart from other police dramas?

DM: Ultimately, I’d have to say the characters. The characters are really fascinating. I think the cast is dynamic the way we interact with each other. And the relationships that we have — I think that really sets us apart from all the other shows. The show looks like a movie. And the grittiness of the show. You know a lot of times these cop shows are a lot lighter in tone. They try to make it just easy-breezy, and our show is not that way at all. And I like that because this is more real than the other cop shows, I would have to say.

CE: How was it working with new cast member, Tricia Helfer, and what does she bring to the ensemble?

DM: Yeah, I think that Tricia just brings so much to the table, and she’s beautiful and she’s talented. And I think my character, Carter Shaw, really needed to have this to open him up. I think that he was really closed down in the first season. You know, he was really mourning his ex-wife and was much more brooding. And then, as with anybody when love comes into your life, you change, and you open up and you become more hopeful. And I think that happens to Carter, and it kind of catches him by surprise. In the first show we see him in the garden, and it’s really a metaphor for him — he’s evolving and changing. And he wants to change; I don’t think he wants to remain the same person, because it’s just not working.

CE: I also love the dynamic between Carter and Agent Rice because they don’t know she’s going to end up being his boss but then she is. How is he going to deal with this throughout the season?

DM: Well, at first I think he’s so pissed off that he has a boss and that someone is coming in and usurping his power. And I think that’s not something he wants, and then he ends up falling for her and there was a lot more at risk for him. I think the whole thing catches him by surprise. He was not expecting any of this. He wasn’t expecting a boss; he wasn’t expecting to fall in love; he wasn’t expecting to care for someone and to be at risk. And all these things happen, and I think it’s something that was so needed for him and welcomed at the same time. But at first he’s really hesitant about this as something he never thought about or wanted.

CE: I know TNT’s motto is “We Know Drama” and I don’t mean to sound corny, but in the past few years, it really has been shaping up to give us really kick-ass drama. I mean, we have your show, The Closer, Leverage and all of that. Because it’s on cable, do you think that’s what grants you more freedom to explore things you might not otherwise be able to on a network-type show?

DM: Yeah, TNT really gives shows chances to, you know — I think with network television, if you don’t get a rating right away, they’re going to pull you. And I think TNT hangs in there with their shows because they believe in them. And that’s something you just don’t get on network television. And of course you can get away with a lot more on cable than you can on network. And that’s why network television is struggling, because they have to deal more with story and on cable we get to deal more with character. And character is kind of a dirty word on network television. So, I think that cable for actors is really the place to be right now. Because in the movie world, they’re making less and less of them, and they are all comic books and sequels. And network television is kind of trying to find its voice again, and they’re struggling. With cable, the characters and acting on cable is maybe the best there is out there.

CE: I agree. You touched on this earlier, but just the film quality itself is so much better. Each episode I watched last night, they all looked like mini movies, because the quality is so good.

DM: Yeah, that does, it does. We have a great DP and he’s really developed the look of the show to make it look like a movie each week. Which is so hard to do in seven days, but somehow he’s figured out how to do that.

CE: And I love the use of light, the sunlight when it would stream through little parts of the blinds … I love it. Just the whole look — I love it.

DM: Thanks so much!

CE: You're welcome. After you did The Practice, you did some movies, and then you did Big Shots. How was TNT able to lure you over to do Dark Blue with them?

DM: Well, I had done a miniseries for them with Julianna Margulies years ago called The Grid, which was sort of ahead of its time. It was about the FBI and terrorism. I think it could have been a series, but people were just not ready for that. And they still might not be ready for it. But anyway, I did those six episodes for them, and we developed a relationship then. And then Jerry Bruckheimer came to me with Dark Blue. And I was just lucky I’m in, because I like them and obviously Jerry has a tremendous record. So it was an easy yes for me.

CE: For your fans who aren’t yet watching Dark Blue, what would you tell them to entice them to watch the show?

DM: Well, if you like action and you like great characters and kick-ass drama and a little bit of romance, then Dark Blue is right up your alley.

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