Following Freshman Michael Ealy on Death, Destiny and Missing Dorian

The Following Michael Ealy

Remember your chief gripe about the first two seasons of The Following? It was Michael Ealy‘s issue, too.

After watching a few episodes of Fox’s serial killer drama, “I didn’t find the police work to be substantial. That’s just full disclosure,” the actor says candidly. “I kinda checked out.”

Cut to the current season, when Ealy — last seen as gentle android Dorian on Fox’s cancelled Almost Human — was presented with an opportunity to play a new, terrible murderer on the Kevin Bacon-led thriller.

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“I watched a couple of episodes” before taking the gig, he says. “Like good showrunners, they made the connections, tightened things up, and I think the show got a lot better.”

With that out of the way, Ealy could focus on figuring out exactly how warped his character, Theo, who makes his debut in tonight’s episode (9/8c), was going to be. (Are you shocked that the answer to that is “very”?) TVLine chatted with Ealy about his introduction to Joe Carroll’s world and how tough it was to flip Dorian’s off-switch forever.

TVLINE | You had a good idea of Theo before you agreed to the part?
Absolutely. What’s been interesting in terms of playing Theo, Theo is a serial killer who does not want the attention. He doesn’t want followers. Yes, he’s a narcissist, but he doesn’t want followers. He doesn’t believe in bringing the attention to himself. I could relate to that as an actor. [Laughs] At the same time, I kind of respected it because for him, as it is with me, his craft is personal to him. It’s a passion of his. If you treat it as such, you don’t necessarily feel the need to be adored for it. You can find self-satisfaction in just doing what you do. For him, it’s killing. For me, it’s acting. Very different. However, like I said, that was my in.

Also in doing the research, you realize the main difference between Theo and myself is simply a genetic code. And that is disturbing… The idea that I could have been born with this genetic code and had the same desire to kill, to take life with no fear, all of that is disturbing — and yet so fascinating. Because technically, we’re all predestined to do something, good or bad.

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TVLINE | What can you tell us about Theo? Is he impulsive? Calculating?
Theo is extremely calculating. What I’ve discovered, over shooting these episodes, is he’s always got a plan… Let’s say he failed in getting what he wants. You’re not going to see him sweat it too much, because he’s got another plan. And he always, always ready to just jump into the next plan. But at the same time, there’s a couple of unfortunate souls that come across Theo at the wrong time, and they’re just innocent bystanders. Unfortunately, they catch him at the wrong time.

TVLINE | Is Theo someone who can play nicely with other killers like Daisy and Mark? Or he is a one-man show?
Oh man, I can’t wait for you to keep watching. He’s definitely a loner. He’s a one-man killer. He’s got his own operation. He doesn’t need anybody else. That doesn’t mean that nobody else will be thrown into his mix. But he is self-contained… Anybody who gets in his way, it’s on them. You take your chances if you want to. [Laughs] But it’s a mistake.

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TVLINE | He’s the polar opposite of Dorian. Was that something you were looking for after Almost Human ended?
Dorian was, and always will be, a very special character in my heart. I really wanted to play him for five years. And it hurt when that was taken from me. It hurt bad. The bad thing would’ve been to try and do Dorian again right away… It would have been a bit sad and pathetic to try and play Dorian again. I feel like people really connected with that character. I can tell by my Twitter feed that people connected with that character. And no one connected with him more than me.

One of the blessings, if you will, of being given the opportunity to play Theo was walking away and just delving into something new and interesting and nothing like Dorian. Dorian seeks humanity that is in us all. And Theo lacks humanity in so many ways. That doesn’t mean he’s a total machine, and that’ll come up later in the season. But empathy is not something that he can comprehend.

Press PLAY on the video below for a sneak peek of Ealy’s first episode.

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  1. TVPeong says:

    I keep hoping that they bring back Almost Human

  2. Mr. Tran K says:

    Blame it on Fox for canceling Almost Human.

    • Fox wants you to blame Warner Brothers…supposedly WB wouldn’t give Fox as much as they wanted for the international rights so Fox cancelled them.

    • Dude says:

      Blame it on the millions of people who didn’t watch. Networks don’t enjoy cancelling shows. It’s not morbid fun for them but if the ratings aren’t there, they have to.

      • Claire says:

        I don’t know about where you live, but where I am they played the show out of order….just like Firefly….so how can they expect millions of people to get into a show when it jumps around due its incontinuity? Not blaming you, I’m 100% blaming the network for yet again screwing another show because they wanted the first episode to be big and action-packed…when it’s the 5th episode in the series and so makes no sense plot wise! Networks rarely look at the full picture.

  3. BeaAnn44 says:

    It’s nice to hear that he was just as upset as the fans that Almost Human was cancelled. And not just because he was out of a job. I still miss that one too.

  4. brandi says:

    I loved Almost Human. I was so bummed when Fox canceled it. I really dig The Following but would have rather had 4 seasons of Almost Human then one more of The Following. The Following is almost getting comical and I know many people feel it is lame without Joe Carol, but I am glad they have moved away from him so much. It would be more weird to keep him in the mix. How many times can he break out of prison? How many well orchestrated plans to ruin Ryan’s life and those around him can they have? And how long can Ryan really live the life he is leading? I would have totally lost in way before now if I were him.

  5. Alia says:

    Almost Human was really GREAT but wait, Fox also cancelled one of THE BEST: FIREFLY.

  6. prish says:

    Almost Human was the greatest! Bring it Back!

  7. justsomeguy says:

    I keep hoping they’ll bring Almost Human back. Was a great show.

  8. Bob Backus says:

    Sorry, but my chief gripe about the show was the pathetic repetition. Person’s caught, person tried once to escape- fails, person tries 2nd time to escape- nearly makes it and yet is caught again. After about the 5th time this same crap happened, and only about half way through the 1st season, I stopped watching. Just pure lazy writing and crap.

  9. m3rcnate says:

    Almost Human was such a good show. Now it wasn’t Fringe, it wasn’t that deep in its mystery/mythology, it was more of a cop drama…but damn it was still good. I would give quite a lot to see it get picked up by Netflix but i highly doubt it will, i dont think its one of those cult following hit shows or anything.

  10. The police work is still pretty bad. The writers have yet to improve that. However, the show is suspenseful and fun to watch. The acting is pretty solid too. So I give the bad police work a pass. Also, I’m really excited to see Michael Ealy join the series. I’m looking forward to his role.

  11. Laura says:

    Thanks, Michael Ealy for commiserating with all the fans who loved Dorian and were sad to see him go. I’ve never been a fan of The Following, but I might watch now that he’s part of the cast.

  12. JAO says:

    You had to remind me about Almost Human. Still upset they canceled that show. Loved Michael since the Cell (sleeper cell?) but do not like The Following.

  13. Jane says:

    I loved Almost Human :)