Tate Donovan Teases the Hostages' Escape Plan, Says He'd Never Call Jimmy Cooper for Help

Hostages Preview Tate DonovanThe Hostages won’t be sitting on their hands, by any stretch, as CBS’ 15-episode thriller continues this Monday 10/9c.

This week, Brian Sanders brainstorms an escape plan for his family, which is being held virtual prisoner until matriarch Ellen can kill the President of the United State during surgery. After that, someone will need ER attention (but in the kitchen) and an unexpected drop-in drums up dire drama. TV vet Tate Donovan gave TVLine a preview of the twists and turns to come.

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TVLINE | You’ve played a variety of roles over the years. What about Hostages just made it a “must do” role for you?
The script was a real page-turner. I mean, I was like, “How is this going to be a television show? That’s impossible.” And that kind of intrigued me. I loved doing Damages because the writers would always paint themselves into this sort of hole, and getting out of it was so much fun. Plus, Toni Collette is a great actress, and I was looking forward to working with her. [Executive producer] Jeffrey Nachmanoff is super, super smart, a really good guy. It shoots in New York. How bad can it be?

TVLINE | Were you surprised to see Brian confess his affair to Ellen so soon into the season?
One of the good things is I wasn’t surprised, because I think that when something so horrible and violent and dramatic happens to your family, all the BS comes right up to the front. [An affair] becomes so meaningless. I was really glad that they brought that right up, and we dealt with it.

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TVLINE | Upon learning last week that Ellen successfully sneaked off to spy on Duncan’s kid, Brian seemed to have some sort of plan brewing in his head…
Yes. They’re planning an escape. And it is a pretty well thought out plan, though I’m not supposed to tell you how it comes off. I mean, there’s a little snag or two, but… One of the fun things about this show is that the writers really try to make it realistic, like, “How would they really go about this?” For example, there’s an episode coming up where my sister-in law stops by sort of unexpectedly. How does the family deal with this unexpected guest when they’re being held hostage? Stuff like that is fun.

TVLINE | What can you tease about the episode after that, where emergency surgery needs to be performed at the house?
That’s pretty intense. We had these real surgeons come to the set and show everyone what actually would happen, how you actually could perform surgery in your kitchen. They were like, “It’s not the ideal conditions, but…”

TVLINE | …if you have some nice pendant lamps over the marble counter there….
It’s really funny that you say that, because that’s exactly what we hang the IVs from!

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TVLINE | Rhys Coiro’s character, Kramer, is more sympatheticTruth And Consequences to the family members than the rest of Duncan’s crew. Is that something that Brian or Ellen might start to pick up on, that they might have a possible ally in their ranks?
Rhys’ character obviously he has that connection with [the son], so yeah, it’s kind of fascinating what’s going on with him. There’ll be some connecting with my character, actually. Rhys is a really good actor and they’ve given him interesting, multidimensional stuff to play.

TVLINE | We’re about to get some backstory on Duncan. Will it make us more sympathetic to this guy? Are we going to start to feel a little bit torn?
Yeah, you are. He becomes much more sympathetic. From Brian’s point of view, it’s still unbelievably awful and he hates him, but from the audience standpoint, you’ll understand why he’s going through all of this. Though I’m sure there are other ways that he could have done this!

TVLINE | OK, last question: It’s the middle of the night and you, Tate Donovan, are in trouble. Who’s your emergency phone call – Jimmy Cooper (The O.C.), Tom Shayes (Damages), Edward Bowers (Deception) or Brian Sanders?
[Laughs] That’s hysterical. God, it all depends on the situation. I would say Tom Shayes out of all of them.

TVLINE | And I think Jimmy is probably your last call.
[Scoffs] Jimmy, are you kidding me? That guy was, like, the worst. He’s probably the one that got me into the mess! You call him to you say, “Why the f–k would you tell me to invest my money in that?”

Want more scoop on Hostages, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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