The actor who portrays Carter Shaw talks about the new season of this TNT drama, the addition of Tricia Helfer, why he's not directing an episode this season and much more.
Last summer, the cable network TNT added another series to its already-successful lineup of shows with the critically-acclaimed Dark Blue. The series was renewed for a second season last year and the new, 10-episode season is about to kick off on Wednesday, August 4 with a special two-hour season premiere at 9 PM ET on TNT. The series stars Dylan McDermott as Lt. Carter Shaw, who heads up an elite undercover unit within the L.A.P.D., and I recently got a chance to chat with McDermott about the new season, including the show's latest casting addition, Battlestar Galactica beauty Tricia Helfer, and much more. Here's what McDermott had to say.
I was at the press conference before the show had premiered last year, and you said that your initial involvement in the show came from a call to meet with (executive producer) Jerry Bruckheimer. What was it like to get a call like that, to meet with this mega-producer and what were your initial thoughts about the script?
Dylan McDermott: Well, anytime you get a call from Jerry Bruckheimer, it's a good day. I was really pleased because I loved this world and I wanted to be on cable. I think TNT is a great place to be and, with Jerry Bruckheimer as your producer, it really helps a great deal. For me, it was an easy yes. I just loved the subject matter, Jerry and TNT.
The first season was rather successful and when you guys were picked up for a second season, it was for another 10-episode season, correct?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, we're going to have another 10 episodes in eight weeks, with the first one being a two-hour on August 4. It's been a year, so you're going to get two hours of Dark Blue and hopefully everyone will tune in and watch. It's been awhile since we've had original episodes.
Is a shorter season like that kind of a relief for you, or is it more of a challenge to have a shorter amount of time to tell these stories?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah. When you do 10 episodes, they have to be so tight and every one of them has to be great. Every episode I've seen so far - I've seen seven out of the 10 - has been really, really good and tight. We changed the show up a little bit. It's a little bit lighter with more humor and the addition of Tricia Helfer has helped a great deal, in terms of opening up my character and his relationships.
Yeah, I saw that was the big addition for this year. What's it been like working with her and will she be on all 10 episodes this season?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, she's on all 10 and I think it was a welcomed addition, because she's great and it's great to have a love interest. You're dealing with such a dark world, it's gritty and there's crime, you have to have some relief and I think our relationship together was great. It just opened up the show in ways that we couldn't even imagine.
Can you talk a bit about how her character gets introduced? She's an FBI agent, if I remember correctly.
Dylan McDermott: Yeah. We're working on a case and we actually go in for a bust and we bust the FBI. It was a big mistake and we all end up working together on this case, which is something that I don't really want to do, because we were handling it. She kind of comes in and she becomes my boss in the first episode. I'm kind of a lone wolf and I don't want to have a boss, then I get to know her and end up falling for her.
That's rather easy with someone like Tricia Helfer.
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, exactly.
Are you done with the order now or are you still filming?
Dylan McDermott: No, we're done. We're all done and it's cool because now we can just sit back and watch the show unfold and see what the reaction is.
Besides Tricia, are there any other guest stars you can tell us about for this new season?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, sure. Jordana Brewster actually comes down for a couple of episodes as well. She comes in as Dean's (Logan Marshall-Green) love interest for a couple of episodes and she was really quite good. She's great on it.
With the first season under your belt, does it feel like a well-oiled machine now? Do you all have a pretty good grasp on your characters going into this new season?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, you know what, in this season, I think we found the voice of the show. We were trying to figure it out in the first season and, luckily, we looked back and found out what worked and what didn't work. I think any show takes a couple of seasons to find out exactly what it is and where it lives and, luckily, I think we were able to achieve that in the second season. TNT was behind us all the way and we all sat down and said, 'OK, how can we make the show better?' It's a little bit lighter, a little more humor and bringing in Tricia, making it a bit more romantic and I think that this season you're going to have 10 episodes that are just a power punch and you're going to feel everything in these 10 episodes. I'm really happy with it.
TNT is also the new home for Southland. I was curious if there has been any talk of a crossover episode? I think that would be interesting since you're both set in the same L.A. underworld settings, but they're still very different shows at the same time. Has there been any talk about that and do you think that would be fun to do?
Dylan McDermott: I haven't heard any talk, as of yet, but, maybe, if we're on for awhile, we might be able to achieve that, for sure.
Yeah, because I think that would be a really interesting dynamic.
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, that's a good idea, actually.
Run it up the ladder. See what happens.
Dylan McDermott: Yeah.
I also saw that, when you were on The Practice, you directed an episode yourself. Would you be interested in directing an episode of Dark Blue?
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, I wanted to do it this year, but because it's so tight, with 10 episodes and I'm in like every frame of it, it's almost impossible for me to direct because they'd have to take me out a little bit to prepare the episode, to edit the episode, scout locations. So it would take me out of a couple of episodes, which would be impossible. If we had 22 or 24 episodes, I'd be able to do it, but with it only being 10, they can't lose me for a minute.
Yeah, I suppose that's true. Are there any new parts of L.A. that you guys delve into this year?
Dylan McDermott: You know, most of the time we're in these bad neighborhoods, because that's where most of the crime is taking place. We do go to the beach a little bit, a lot of it is downtown, most of our locations end up being downtown. We don't go to Beverly Hills much (Laughs).
Finally, what would you like to say to fans of the show that have been tuning in from last season or anyone else who might be curious about the show, about why they should tune into the second season on August 4?
Dylan McDermott: I have to say, if you like action, if you like romance, if you like bad-ass cops in a series that looks like a movie, I think Dark Blue is the place to be. I think, if you weren't a fan before, with these 10 episodes, you're going to be a fan soon.
Excellent. Thanks so much for your time, Dylan, and best of luck with the new season.
Dylan McDermott: Thanks, man. Nice talking to you.
You can watch Dylan McDermott along with co-stars Omari Hardwick, Logan Marshall-Green, Nicki Aycox and new addition Tricia Helfer when Dark Blue returns with its second season in a two-hour premiere episode on Wednesday, August 4 at 9 PM ET only on TNT.