The new CBS drama series Stalker is a psychological thriller about detectives who investigate stalking incidents, including voyeurism, cyber harassment and romantic fixation. Lt. Beth Davis (Maggie Q) is strong, focused and an expert in the field, driven by her own traumatic personal experience as a victim. When Detective Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) transfers to the Unit from New York City’s homicide division, his strong personality and questionable behavior may actually prove to be a valuable asset in this line of work.
The show shoots at Warner Bros. Studios, on a set that’s raised up off of the ground to simulate an upper floor in a high-rise building where the Threat Assessment Unit of the LAPD is located, and Collider was invited, along with a handful of other press, to check it all out and chat with the series stars. During the interview, co-stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott talked about playing the darker sides to their characters, getting to learn about these characters outside of their cases, the dynamic between Beth and Jack, how the show gets under your skin, Jack’s ambitions, Beth’s concern about Jack, how the physical demands of Stalker compares to Nikita, and keeping a mix of male and female victims. Check out what the had to say after the jump.
DYLAN McDERMOTT: I think that was the attraction to the roles. They both had pasts. With a lot of these procedural shows, you don’t normally know much about the characters. The great thing about this show is that there’s a lot of meat on the bone. Certainly, Beth’s character has a mystery to her, and Jack does, too. The unraveling and the unveiling of that, through the season, will help you get to know them a lot more.
How much are we going to learn about your two characters, outside of their cases?
MAGGIE Q: You’re going to get a lot of that, actually. Because of who Kevin [Williamson] is and the way he develops characters, he’s more character-driven than a lot of creators. I think that was a draw for both of us. Kevin’s development of these two is really going to head the show in a certain direction. Certainly, there will be a case every week, and even though I care about the cases, when I read the scripts, I truly am curious about these characters, where they’re going, why they’re where they are, how they got there. That, to me, has been the most interesting part of the show, to be honest.
There are rough waters in their partnership, at first. What can you tease about how that dynamic will play out?
MAGGIE Q: I think it’s going to be rough waters for awhile.
McDERMOTT: Yeah, I think it’s going to be about six years of rough waters.
MAGGIE Q: The thing that I like about Beth is that it’s not a scenario in which she’s being coy or cute or being mean to him or putting him off because she’s playing a game. She actually means it. She cares about the job first. Once he proves himself, I think the relationship will change, but I don’t think it will change until then because she’s all about the job. It’s not a game to her. She is who she is, and she knows who she is. Because that’s not the game, I think it becomes more interesting for him.
McDERMOTT: I think he likes the abuse.
McDERMOTT: Yeah, it really does. It’s a subject matter that’s out in the world, more and more it feels like. That’s why the show is so timely. You’re hearing more about stalkings, not just with celebrities, but with regular people, it seems to be more pervasive than it’s ever been. You look in your rearview mirror a little bit more, when you’re driving.
MAGGIE Q: This is a show that I hope makes young women and girls, and people who are on social media, think twice about what they’re putting out there. I think we’re not protecting ourselves the way that we should, and we are giving too much information. Because of our access to each other, stalkings have increased 30 % in the last decade. It’s not just a look over your shoulder thing. Be careful what you put out there.
Have you learned anything from the experts that surprised you?
MAGGIE Q: Victim blame is in every area, whether it’s harassment or rape or stalking, and that’s gotta stop. That’s a huge issue.
McDERMOTT: We also dive into the entertainment world and the actress who gets stalked. That’s an interesting case because this unit started because of Rebecca Schaeffer, so we’re diving into that area as well.
McDERMOTT: He’s definitely calculated. He knows what he’s doing. He knows that this is the right unit for him to be in. But, he thought it would be a little bit easier. He wasn’t ready.
Maggie, what are Beth’s fears about Jack coming into her unit?
MAGGIE Q: There are reasons that we’re going to get into, later in the show, for why she takes her job so seriously and why it’s so personal to her. There’s also a reason why Jack is in the unit that will be revealed. There’s a lot that Beth knows, that the audience doesn’t know and none of the team knows. When she feels like letting people in on what she knows, she does. But, the assumption is that she already knows everything about him. There are things that he’s done that are forgivable, and there are things that he’s done that are kind of unforgivable, depending on how you look at it. She’s very, very cautious of him. Her central focus is to do her job and do it well. If he thinks he’s coming into a unit to flirt around and sleep with women, and do the things he did back in New York, he’s got another thing coming. It’s not gonna happen. It’s too serious and too personal to her.
MAGGIE Q: It’s weird, they’re filling that [action] void with work. This show is really long hours, but so was Nikita. If I did a 12-hour day, I felt like I hadn’t done anything. We did 14 to 17 hour days on Nikita, and we worked a lot of six-day weeks. And then, in addition to everything else we were doing, there was action, and it was big action. That was all packed in, and I thought I was going to die on that show. With this, it’s steady fatigue. But, there’s so much to do in these episodes and there’s so much dialogue. It’s the same hours, but it’s mental fatigue. Nikita was mental and physical fatigue, and this is pure mental fatigue.
Do you see this as a more grown-up role than Nikita was?
MAGGIE Q: I totally do! My age is coming into play, in this role, and I’m exploring a sense of strength that’s different from kicking ass. There’s something very internally strong about Beth. Her circumstance has been rough, which you’ll learn about later, and I like that. I think that strength, if it’s real, is deep and innate. It’s something you feel when someone walks into a room or opens their mouth. You know that you don’t mess with certain people. Certain people have a depth of experience and knowledge, and that’s very much her. I’m enjoying that because I think that’s a true example of a strong woman.
Are you looking to keep a mix of male and female victims?
McDERMOTT: That’s what we’re trying to do. We can’t just have a female victim, every week. We’re really trying hard to mix that up, so that it’s not just a man chasing a woman.
MAGGIE Q: And it’s not just adults. Obsessive compulsive behavior can be transferred onto anyone. It can be a relative or anyone, and it’s real.
Stalker airs on Wednesday nights on CBS.