This Monday on The Closer‘s winter finale (TNT, 9/8c), Gavin Q. Baker III may decide that working pro bono for the LAPD isn’t worth any amount of courtroom infamy, when yet another twist in the “Shootin’ Newton” case puts him and Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson even more on the defensive. In this exclusive TVLine Q&A, Mark Pellegrino spoke about this latest wrinkle for his Closer counselor as well as previewed his most unlikely Being Human encore and his role in Castle‘s time-trippy episode.
TVLINE | I understand that in this week’s case, another murder related to the “Shootin’ Newton” case throws Gavin yet another curveball….
Indeed, indeed. It seems like Brenda is always throwing me curveballs, that something is always going on with her. [Laughs] She’s a high-maintenance client, I would say. She’s definitely got issues to contend with.
TVLINE | What’s the nature of this latest twist?
There’s a gang member who winds up dead, and he quite possibly is an informant to somebody.… I don’t know what I’m supposed to reveal and what I’m not to, though.
TVLINE | Does Gavin get fed up by this latest snag? Does Gavin ever get fed up?
Gavin does get fed up with Brenda from time to time because there’s always some crisis to stamp out, plus Goldman [the opposing counsel played by Curtis Armstrong] is such a bulldog intent on bringing down the LAPD, and Brenda in particular because he thinks she’s rogue. So [Brenda and I] have our spats, and the last you saw us together she was kind of snotty to me for some unknown reason, and I was kind of forced to work for free.
TVLINE | I loved that scene, how Pope told Gavin the way it was going to be….
Well, I hope I delivered a well-timed kick to his butt for putting me in my place [by blabbing that Fritz, not the LAPD, had covered Gavin’s initial retainer].
TVLINE | Gavin is such a distinct, colorful guy, and there probably us no one quite like him on primetime. Was that all in the script, or was there anything that you brought to the characterization?
He was definitely written in a flamboyant fashion, and in an unapologetic fashion, and I did decide to take couple of real life characters in primetime TV — Carson Kressley and Tim Gunn — and kind of combine them. But you’re right, I don’t think that character exists in that world in any primetime show, and it’s pretty doggone great that they brought somebody in like that.
TVLINE | What’s it been like working with Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Tenney (who plays Fritz), JK Simmons (Pope)….?
They’re wonderful, and they really welcomed me in to their group. I think JK is a frickin’ genius; he’s so funny, and everything he does is so spot-on and interesting to watch. Jon was amazing, and though I didn’t get a chance to see him direct [a later episode], I remember him asking questions that were really, really great questions from an actor’s point-of-view. And Kyra’s just so soulful and fun; I really liked working with them all.
TVLINE | What can you say about your return to Syfy’s Being Human (Season 2 premieres Jan. 16), seeing as how you were decapitated and all?
I’ve been told not to say anything, so…. But I became really, really close everybody on that set, so that’s something that I hope becomes a consistent thing. Sam Witwer (who plays vampire Aidan) and I are really good friends and going back to work for them is like going to work for my brother. I’ve gotten close to them like I’ve never gotten close to any cast members before.
TVLINE | TVLine broke the news that you’re a part of Castle‘s upcoming “noir” episode. What’s that all about?
[Castle] gets a hold of a diary that was written in the ’40s, and he’s trying to solve a [modern day] crime through the information in it. And every time he reads it he flashes back to the ’40s, with the principal characters playing characters in the diary. I’m the only “stranger,” because I’m playing a gangster who owns this famous nightclub, a jazz club. Nathan [Fillion] was so good, Stana [Katic]’s so good…. They’re both so easy to work with.
TVLINE | Did they do Stana right by the period glamour and everything?
Oh, my god, she was fantastic. She’s dressed to kill. As was I. I love being in those double-breasted suits, pinstripes, hair slicked back…. It’s definitely a great thing.
TVLINE | Do Nathan and Stana’s 1940s alter egos have the “angsty” sort of relationship that Castle and Beckett have in the present?
It kind of mimics that, yes.
TVLINE | The arcs you do on shows (including Supernatural, Lost) rarely hit double digits. Is that by design? Do you like dipping your toe in, creating someone memorable and then exiting stage left? Would you be open to a series regular gig?
Of course I’d love to be a series regular on a show. There’ve been times when I went in on something for a couple, maybe four episodes, and then they extended it further. Like, Dexter went longer than it was supposed to. I loved being on Being Human for 10 episodes, basically the whole [first] season. It’s a little disconcerting to come onto a cast that’s been together for five, six years, and kind of has their own way of working. You kind of have to feel your way around and get comfortable. It’s nice to be on from the beginning and develop the closeness and camaraderie that you see on other sets.
TVLINE | So you’ll be going out for pilot season?
TVLINE | And Locke & Key, the pilot you did last spring for Fox – that’s 100-percent DOA?
I think it is, yeah…. I didn’t know how they were going to do it because I’ve read all of the graphic novels and it would have been massively expensive to do what they did [there]. I mean, there is some crazy stuff that goes on!
After this week’s episode, The Closer will return to wrap up its seven season run in summer 2012.