The TNT drama Dark Blue follows the lives of an undercover team of Los Angeles police officers so covert that many of their own colleagues don’t even know they are involved. Supervised by Lieutenant Carter Shaw (Dylan McDermott), Season 2 will see the team forced to take orders from FBI Agent Alex Rice, played by show newcomer Tricia Helfer, who is also the love interest for Carter.
During an interview to promote Season 2, Battlestar Galactica star Tricia Helfer talked about the appeal of this new role, her chemistry with Dylan McDermott and her desire to juggle a film career with the show. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Question: What made you want to play this particular character?
Tricia: I’ve always had a desire to play a cop or FBI agent. I’m a bit of a tomboy, so it’s fun. There are a lot of challenges, emotionally and mentally, playing a role like this and trying to get into the character. This role, in particular, is fun because there are also going to be some undercover roles within the role, so to speak. As an actor, that is a lot of fun to play. And then, of course, there’s the team that’s behind it. With the Bruckheimer camp, Warner Horizon and TNT, it’s a great group of people and companies to work with.
How did you get involved in working on Dark Blue and how has your experience been so far?
Tricia: I got involved through the normal audition process. It was pilot season in Los Angeles, and I auditioned for the show and was offered it after auditioning. I didn’t have a script to work off of. There was just four pages written for the audition. So, after I was offered the role, then I spoke with the producers and writers about what they saw for the character, for the season. I liked what they had to say, and they held up their end of the bargain. They said she was definitely going to be involved with the team, and that she would be a smart, fun, strong character, and not just the FBI finger-pointer. And so, I had a great experience on the show. I really like the character, and I really like playing her. We’re already done filming. We’ve been done for about a month now. Ten episodes goes by really quickly, especially when you’ve got a really tough shooting schedule of seven-day episodes. The three months you’re filming, you’re so immersed in it that you just eat, sleep and breathe it, and then it’s done. Hopefully, people will enjoy what we did.
Was the chemistry between you and Dylan instant?
Tricia: Yeah. Chemistry is a hard thing. I don’t think you can force it, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have great chemistry outside of work. It’s just something that sparks on screen or doesn’t. When you’re playing it, you don’t really see what other people are seeing behind the monitors, but Dylan’s a great actor. During the scenes, it was great to work off of him and he gives you a lot as an actor. Hopefully, it was reciprocated. It’s always hard, stepping into the second season of a show, because everybody else is already a team that’s working together, and they know each other already, so it takes a little bit of time to settle in and get to know everybody personally. But, it worked for the first episode because Alex was just thrown in there. They meet undercover and the characters have chemistry, but they don’t really know each other. What I was going through personally, with them getting to know me, worked for the first episode because it was a bit of what the characters were going through, without the one-night stand at the end. But, Dylan is just a great actor, who’s somebody that offers a lot to be able to work off of. The most important thing, when playing characters with chemistry, is being able to work off the other actor and be supported, in that way.
How is your character going to be challenging Dylan’s character this season?
Tricia: Aside from the fact that the characters have chemistry and like each other, they’re going to have to hold off. Alex is challenging Carter because he’s used to being the boss. He has headed the team in a joint task force between the FBI and LAPD, and the FBI has the final say. So, Alex comes in and, essentially, is the boss, but she’s smart enough to know that that’s not going to work with this team. She can’t just come in and say, “This is the way we’re doing things.” She knows that, and she wants to be part of the team and work with them, and not just be their boss. There are definitely going to be moments of tension, when they disagree on something, or disagree how a case should be handled, and that’s a definite challenge for somebody who is as strong a character as Carter. But generally, they have a pretty good working relationship. The key to successfully working with each other is that they respect each other and their abilities.
What drives you to succeed?
Tricia: I just want to be challenged. I want to be proud of what I do, and I want to learn new things and keep growing. I’m not very good at resting on my laurels. I am a bit of a workaholic, and I like to keep busy and active, so I think that’s what drives me.
What do you find challenging about this particular role?
Tricia: I think what I find challenging is just trying to bring a truthfulness and a realism to it. Obviously not having been an undercover FBI agent myself, you want to bring a truth to it and it’s great to have a consultant on set. We have a consultant that was an undercover cop, for many years. And, aside from reading on that type of job, you just want to bring a truth to it and always challenge yourself that way. Physically, I guess it was fairly recent after I had gone through massive back surgery, so I was still in recovery. So, I could do some stunts, but luckily for me, it just worked out that, in the 10 episodes, there wasn’t that much that I couldn’t do. I could pretty much do everything except for a fall down the stairs, but I wouldn’t have done that anyway even without back surgery. Physically, I had some challenges going in, but it’s been a fun character to play.
Is it just luck that so many cast members of Battlestar Galactica are doing so well?
Tricia: You know, it was a good group of people that were together on the show. I think actors’ careers have highs and lows, and ups and downs. It just really all depends. But, Battlestar was very respected within the business, and it’s nice to see that people have embraced a lot of the actors. Most of the actors working are quality actors. There are a lot of great actors out there, but it’s nice to see that the Battlestar cast is finding other roles. And, you also hear about getting stuck in a science fiction stigma, but that’s really not the case with the show because it was a lot more of a human drama than just a science fiction show.
What do you have coming up next?
Tricia: I have a couple of independent movies coming out, one with Brian Geraghty from The Hurt Locker and Stephen Moyer from True Blood, called Open House. It’s coming out on DVD on August 3rd. And, I’ve got another film with Harvey Keitel, J.K. Simmons and Scott Caan, called A Beginner’s Guide to Endings, and we’re waiting to hear if it gets into Toronto. I shot that last Fall, and I’m looking to do a few more independents this Fall.
Tricia: I do like to treat myself, I just don’t do it very often. For me, relaxing is going on a 10-mile hike. When I have time off, I like to be at home and spend time with my animals, and things like that. I’m not the girl that goes out for facials, and manicures and pedicures, all the time. I wish I did. It would be better for me, but I get annoyed. I don’t like sitting still too much. So, treating myself is more about just going out and having a great hike, or going on a long motorbike ride.
Will this be your only season, or will you return, if the show comes back?
Tricia: If it comes back, fingers crossed, yes, you’ll be seeing more of me. Unless something happens that I don’t know about, I will be back, and be glad to be back.
DARK BLUE returns to TNT for Season 2 on August 4th