When news of Jason Dohring’s casting on Ringer broke, the Internet veritably exploded with excitement. In fact, the actor tells us, his manager promptly forwarded him “pages and pages of support…. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
In this Tuesday’s installment of The CW’s freshman thriller (airing at 9/8c), Dohring makes his debut as Mr. Carpenter, a teacher at the public school that Siobhan’s troubled stepdaughter, Juliet, is forced to attend. While the character may seem innocuous enough, there might be more to him than meets the eye.
“I’m excited to see the arc of this character because I think it’s going to end very dramatically different than it started,” he says.
TVLine got the scoop from Dohring on what’s going on between teacher and pupil, his character’s secrets, and whether — having already worked with Buffy alums Alyson Hannigan and Charisma Carpenter on Veronica Mars — he shares any scenes with TV’s erstwhile slayer herself. And of course, we couldn’t resist asking what he thinks of how Veronica Mars ended and the long-rumored follow-up movie.
TVLINE | Tell us about your character.
It’s funny because I don’t know too much; so far, they’re very tight-lipped. As you’ll see [tonight], my character starts off as genuinely pretty straight forward, one-dimensional. But there’s the interesting aspect in that I’ve never really played an adult before — my characters have been so loose and crazy, so I can just do whatever I want, but now I have to almost be free within the limitations that a school teacher would have. So I’m actually learning a lot more about acting from doing this. And as you’ll see in the episodes beyond that, the character will start to open up and branch out into various plot points that weave into the overall story.
TVLINE | He takes an interest in Juliet, who’s one of his students. What is it about her that calls out to him?
Obviously, she shows up with whatever designer bag and that sort of thing, so she stands out against a medium to lower social economic background. I imagine he finds that amusing at first, but there is potential for this kid. She is sharp. She does work hard. He finds in her things that a teacher would respect.
TVLINE | You have to know that people are thinking “student/teacher romance.” It’s The CW. They’ve done it before.
I know that’s a hot topic of the day. Has been for some years now. We are seeing more of that, so it is a topical issue, for sure. I think you’ll just have to see. I think it might go beyond that even.
TVLINE | So there is a hint of feelings between the two? Or is it one-sided?
I wouldn’t say that because I don’t quite know yet. There is an admiration for her as a student, to be sure. And… I don’t know what to say because I don’t want to give anything away. It will be an interesting relationship, that’s for sure.
TVLINE | In the episodes you’ve filmed, does it seem like she’s crushing on him?
She likes him, but she also feels like she can be understood by him. She has trouble with that [with other people], so I think he’s someone she can have faith in and trust.
TVLINE | Is Mr. Carpenter from a rich background too?
Not a rich background, but maybe unstable as far as parents or school locations growing up. They share that sort of issue.
TVLINE | A lot of the characters on Ringer aren’t what they appear to be, or they’re holding onto some big, dark secrets. Does that go for your character?
I would think so, for sure. But it’s very ambiguous at this point. We’re at the point where it’s like, “OK, cool, here’s one aspect of him,” and then they plant a seed of doubt. I think they’re not telling us on purpose so we play it a certain way and then that will make the reveal even stronger, or the transition even more powerful.
TVLINE | Does him taking an interest in Juliet bring him into contact with her parents? Do you get to share scenes with the other adults?
I do, yeah. Not with [Sarah Michelle Gellar’s] character, but I do with her father (played by Ioan Gruffudd). We have a couple scenes together, which is cool because he’s just a lovely man.
TVLINE | I have to ask: What did you think of how Veronica Mars ended?
It was just a bit tricky because we didn’t know that it would be the full end. Rob [Thomas, the creator] had already written them, and we had already shot them by the time we found out it wasn’t going to continue for another year. We couldn’t wrap it up as much as we wanted to storyline-wise had we known several episodes before the finale, so we maybe could have tied up some loose ends. I thought it ended very well, but I’m sure Rob would have had some really interesting and twisty, amazing things to do had he had the opportunity.
TVLINE | Is there something you would have liked to have seen for Logan if it had gotten a proper finale?
[Kristen Bell] is so awesome — I think the world of her, and it’s always fun to do scenes with her — and some of the better moments that my character had on the show were with her, without question. I would have liked to see [Veronica and Logan] together. It doesn’t even have to be as much of a romantic ending, but something shocking or a powerful that ends in them being together. I really loved working with her and the emotionality that came of those scenes.
TVLINE | Fans are still campaigning for a movie. Is that something you’d be into if it was a real possibility?
We’d probably have to kick around ideas of how to make it work at this point because it’s been so long, but yeah. I guess part of the charm of it was it wasn’t quite finished, but for some people, that even holds a little bit of mystique in a way. I would have liked to see it, as I said, ended in a more final way. But it is what it was. If there’s a movie, we’ll see.