Dylan McDermott Interview: Big Changes on TNT’s “Dark Blue”
By Fred Topel
TNT’s undercover cop show Dark Blue returns August 4 to air Wednesdays at 9. Dylan McDermott returns as Carter Shaw, with some new backup in the form of Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer. McDermott previewed the exciting changes coming to the critically acclaimed series in a conference call with the media.
Q: How do you feel going into the second season?
Dylan McDermott: I feel good. I think we look back on season one and decided what worked and what didn’t work and wanted to make this show lighter and a little bit more humorous. And we brought in Tricia Helfer as the romantic interest for Carter Shaw as well, and that opened up the show a great deal. Looking at the show for season two, it’s much more dynamic than it was in season one. And also just selfishly for my character, I think it’s so much more interesting to have and do police work and be in a relationship at the same time.
Q: What is it about the show that continues to challenge you in your role as well.
Dylan McDermott: Well, this acting in a police role or undercover role, to me it’s fascinating. I love that world. I’ve always been fascinated by Baretta and Donnie Brasco and other undercover cops in movies. It’s just always been something that’s interested me. So I think this is a show if we gather an audience this year that can be on for many years. And with the addition of Tricia, we have the whole package now. So I just love this character. I love playing him and I love the cases and the danger that the show brings to television.
Q: How would you describe Dark Blue to someone who hasn’t caught on yet?
Dylan McDermott: I think that Dark Blue is a gritty crime drama ultimately at it’s core. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. It’s an undercover cop show with fascinating characters and, especially in this particular season, there is a lot of humor and I think a lot of care between the characters. I think these characters really care for each other and are worried about each and have each other’s backs. And I think Dark Blue looks like a movie. Every episode that I’ve seen looks like a little mini movie, and again I go back to character. It has fascinating characters. And in season two, you’re going to see every character have their shining moment.
Q: Speaking of movies, it doesn’t get much bigger than Jerry Bruckheimer. What is his involvement day to day as a producer of the show?
Dylan McDermott: Well, Jerry, I mean he thought of me initially for the role, so I thank him dearly for that. I had known Jerry over the years and you know I was his idea to bring me in for the show. Jerry is obviously a very busy man and he’s got 1000 projects going at once. I’m always surprised how interested he is. He watches the dailies and he reads the scripts and he’s completely involved in the show. So you know that’s why he is the mega success that he is because he really pays attention still when he doesn’t really have to. I’m really impressed by firstly his work ethic and that you know he really thought of me for this. I’m forever grateful for that.
Q: What is your relationship going to be like with Tricia this year?
Dylan McDermott: This is exactly what I thought this show should have, a love interest for Carter. I think it’s just much more dynamic to have him in a relationship. I think Tricia is a beautiful woman, and she’s really talented, and she can stand toe to toe with Carter, which is not an easy thing because he is brooding at times. He is difficult and you need someone who can come in and go toe to toe with him. So I think that she’s going to challenge him in ways that I don’t think he was actually prepared for. In season one, he was sort of closed down and not willing, and we find him in season two in a garden, which is really a metaphor for him that he is attempting to change, and he is attempting grow, and she is a big part of that. She is going to open him up in ways that – I think that something had died in him long ago and he had given up on himself somewhere, and I think that she brings all of that back to life.
Q: How much input do you get into Carter’s character? Is there an ideal storyline you’d like to be involved in?
Dylan McDermott: Well, in the first season, I sort of trusted the writers to take me on this little journey, and then luckily we had the luxury to look back on season one and say, “Well okay, what worked and what didn’t work?” I sat down with them and told them what I thought. Certainly the number one thing was to have a love interest because iyou forgive a character a lot more when he can you know go home and talk to someone. In terms of a storyline, I think that season two accomplishes a lot of what I dreamt of for the character. I mean we’re going to see him go through everything he can possibly go through and he’s going to be a character within a character at times. He’s going to be undercover in really dangerous situations. He’s going to fall in love. And there’s going to be a cliffhanger at the end in the finale, so everything I thought that the show should be, it finds its voice in this season. So I was really pleased that the show. We just graduated to a whole different level this year, and I was more pleased by that than anything else.