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"There is a fine line between going under and crossing over".
Actor Dylan Mc Dermott has finished practicing the law and is ready to keep the order as Carter Shaw, the leader of a special undercover police task force committed to ridding Los Angeles of violent criminal scum in the new cop drama Dark Blue. The show explores the risks that he and his crew take as they immerse themselves in roles that sometimes become very difficult to leave behind when the job is done. The mood is set with a dark blue palette, and a dramatic visual darkness like you’ve never seen before. From the get-go, it’s clear you’re entering brand new TV territory.  


TNT and executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer take viewers into the complex world of undercover officers in the hard streets of Los Angeles. The series – which co-stars Omari Hardwick (Saved) as Ty Curtis, whose love for his wife risks his operations, Logan Marshall-Green (The O.C.) as Dean Bendis, the wild card of the team, and Nicki Aycox (Supernatural), the only girl– follows the exploits of an undercover team of police officers so covert, many of their own colleagues don’t even know they exist.

Dish caught up with McDermott in L.A. recently, and here’s what he had to say…. 


“I was initially attracted by the undercover world. I think it’s a great backdrop for a television show in that you get to change characters. Maybe not every week, but every once in a while, you are a different character within a character. I thought it was a great way to go to work. So that initially attracted me. I think cable is the place to be right now, particularly TNT. So the combination of TNT and Jerry and undercover, I was definitely in, and this amazing cast of course.”


It’s well known that McDermott grew up in a rough neighborhood, sheltered by his grandmother. He recalls those days, “I grew up watching Baretta with my grandmother. I love that show. Maybe somewhere in my psyche, I was attracted to this. Of course, you always use your life in any thing that you play, you always use your life. You know, it influences me in terms of my character and my work. We’re dealing with the darker criminal aspects that certainly, if certain things didn’t happen to me in my life, I don’t think I’d be able to play this character.” 


“I think that it’s always linked somewhere. I think the greatest thing about being an actor is that we always get to work out things in our lives, and we get to put them on the screen. With the part of Carter, it helps me in my own life. There’s a part of him that’s me and there’s a part of me that’s him. I can’t get away from that sometimes.”


“By being a dark character like this, you know, when you go into the darkness of your own life, you find out who you are. People are afraid of their darkness. But I think it’s just the opposite. Once you embrace it, as Freud said, ‘we all have this shadow self’, but once you embrace your shadow self, then you can be free.”


He continued, “I always look at parts from a psychological point. I try to break down every character I play from what their psychology is. What happened to them? How did they become who they are? How did they end up here? I think with Carter he’s lost everything. A lot of the time he sleeps in the office, he doesn’t have relationships. He’s very much alone. And that’s a great thing, you know, because you have nothing to lose when you play a character like that.”


Dish asked McDermott what he thought he brought to the role of Carter, “If another actor played this role, I’m sure he’d bring another interpretation. My interpretation is being artistic. This is my interpretation, and I like him, I like everything about him. I think he’s a very difficult character and there’s so much about him, and there’s so much I have to learn about who he is, and what he is, and what he becomes and where’s he going.”


Dish remarked that McDermott seems exactly like Carter. “I’m coming from work, that’s why. I think I’m more Carter now than I am Dylan.  Also, Carter is braver than I am, and maybe that’s what I’ll learn from him, to be as brave as he is.”


Executive Producer Rick Eid explained to us earlier, “Dylan is clearly the leader of the unit. He can go undercover if it makes sense. He’s been through it, and he’s sort of the coach. He tries to lend his experience on the job to these younger detectives, yet at the same time he has a bigger mission. These guys are out there trying to protect society. And I think Dylan manipulates the character sometimes, and he plays games with them toward the bigger end; yet at the same time he has their backs. So it’s a complicated mix of support and exploitation.”


“We all lead in different ways,” McDermott responded. “I’m surrounded by these actors who are so incredible, and I already love them. You know what I mean? I mean they’re great people and we’re a really tight knit group.”


“It’s hard to talk about those things, they’re sort of magic when the come, and you don’t put a label on them when they come,” he said. “That’s why I do this, that’s why I’m an actor, because I love those moments. I love the magic of acting when you use your stuff with the characters stuff and that’s when the magic happens.”


Bruckheimer added, “I think it’s a real hard hiting show. It’s a tough show. I just love great dramas. You watch movies like Serpico and some of the things where these poor officers go undercover and they can’t quite tell if they’re the criminal or the good guy. And those kind of lives have always intrigued me, and I think it does the people too. We put the audience in a place that they’ll never be, hopefully, and show them how it actually works. We have advisors who have done this, and bring their expertise to our writers and to our actors to really take them to these dark places and show them the difficulties that these men do to protect our society. That’s what they do. They’re our heroes.”


“We finish on Friday,” McDermott adds, “and I’ll be stepping away from Carter for a little bit, spending some time with my girls. I’m going to take them to Disneyland next week, and we’re going to hang out for a couple of days and just have some fun, and you know, just let them be with Dad for a while.”


Check out Dylan McDermott in Dark Blue on TNT, Wednesday’s at 10/9c 

















 / Issue 100 - September 2018
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