It’s every family’s nightmare when a wacky relative drops by unannounced. But tonight on Hostages (CBS, 10/9c), that scenario is kicked up a notch, given that the Sanders home is currently under siege. Dylan McDermott previewed for TVLine the intense (but funny-ish!) sister act ahead, as well as teased a shockingly “intimate” encounter to come, between captor and captive. Plus: Is there another Horror Story in the actor’s future?
TVLINE | When you were first pitched the show, did they tell you off the bat that Duncan was also an elite FBI agent, that he had this sick wife…? Or was that revealed to you as you read the pilot?
They gave me the bullet points for the whole season and I just thought it was a fascinating concept for a different type of network show. I knew it was a risk going into it, because it’s not your normal fare in terms of what most TV looks like.
TVLINE | Talk about this week’s episode — Ellen’s sister (played by Tony winner Nina Arianda) drops by unannounced?
Oh yeah – and it’s fun. I saw Venus in Fur on Broadway and I thought Nina was so great, so when she got the part I was so excited to work with her. It’s a funnier episode this week just because she’s funny, as the kooky sister arrives in the middle of this war zone. And [Duncan has] the backstory on everybody — I know full well that the sister is not psychologically sound — so when she arrives I’m like, “Oh s–t, she has got to go.” But she’s kooky, she wants to talk, hang out…
TVLINE | But maybe her kookiness will work in Duncan’s favor…?
Yeah, yeah. The first time I see her, I draw my gun on her, so we start there. [Laughs] She doesn’t know what to make of me.
TVLINE | That’s one of the things I enjoy about this show, that they’ll take something as mundane as the uninvited guest and reinterpret it via this high-stakes machine….
I like that aspect of the show, too. Obviously things are getting more and more intense each week because we’re running out of time. We’re [in production] on Episode 11, so it all has to go down in these next four episodes [we shoot].
TVLINE | Archer has been arrested, so Duncan is now down a man. Will that present logistical issues for his operation?
It certainly does. But I will tell you that I put him in [jail] for a reason. Duncan is very calculating, so he knows exactly what he has to do to get this job done. He’s always two steps ahead of everybody else.
TVLINE | And Kramer, he’s the most compassionate toward the Sanders family. Will that make him a liability?
In my head we’re all characters in The Godfather, so we have to figure out who’s who – and if I’m Michael, he would have to be Fredo.
TVLINE | It has to be hard roaring at Toni Collette every week. Will Duncan and Ellen ever have quieter, more conversational moments?
Actually, we just did an episode, I think it was Episode 10, where we had some really, really intimate moments together, where we were just talking, getting a little more personal and getting in there….
TVLINE | OK, because in the sizzle reel shown at the May Upfronts, there was a quick cut to a Duncan/Ellen embrace. Did that tease go on to become a real moment?
Funny you ask, because we just finished shooting it. That’s going down for sure, oh yeah. I’ve always thought Stockholm Syndrome was interesting, the relationship that people taken hostage can develop with their captors. They start needing each other in some strange way, and I think that’s what happens here in many respects.
TVLINE | At the end of the season’s 15th and final episode, will we be done with this story, with these characters?
I really don’t know where we go from here. I think it’s a great story and it feels like the people who do watch it are really into it they love it. It’s not a procedural show, so people are a little afraid of the fact, “Oh, can I not jump in if I haven’t seen an episode?” With Hostages you do have to pay attention, but you can just turn it on, too. If you watch just one episode, you will get a thrill ride.
TVLINE | Speaking of short-season, closed-ended series, are there any plans for you to go for the trifecta and pop up on American Horror Story: Coven?
I start a movie called Survivor in January, with Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson and Angela Bassett, but Ryan [Murphy] wants me to come back, and I want to come back. So we just have to figure out the scheduling. To me, [doing American Horror Story] is always like going home.