In an exclusive interview with theTVaddict.com, Tim Griffin, one of the stars of NBC’s gripping new drama PRIME SUSPECT shared what it has been like for him to flesh out his character Detective Augie Blando and embrace the dark, gritty world in which Maria Bello’s Det. Jane Timoney finds herself currently entrenched in. Based on the British television series of the same name, which had starred Helen Mirren, the NBC remake seeks to put a fresh twist on the series which riveted viewers on both sides of the pond.
In a candid interview, Tim was eager to share his experiences and thoughts on the show. He said that when he first read the script for the pilot, it was his gut reaction that, “It was the greatest script. The writing is the true strong point of the show. It’s smart, fresh and the characters bounce off of each other.” He was also quick to point out, “We have the best writers in the business. It’s truly original and their own.”
Reflecting on what drew him to the complex role of Detective Augie Blando, Tim did not hesitate to say, “The chance to work with Pete Berg. I’ve worked with him in film and was excited to work with him in TV. This part was handed to me and I can’t imagine another part.” Looking deeper into what makes his character so compelling, Tim said that he really admired Augie’s “great love of life.” He also loves that Augie uses humor and he has such a firm joy for life at his core. In fact, when asked to find the one word that best describes Augie, Tim thoughtfully said, “Buoyant. He tends to lighten up a room. He’s excited to be there and he loves his job.”
However, as a counter-balance, not everything is so smooth beneath the surface for Augie. Tim explained that Augie has his flaws too. In fact, he has a multitude of them. Tim revealed, “He spends extra time at the office and he comes from a place of pain. This is his coping mechanism. And we’ll be exploring it more. He has a darkness to deal with. But he aspires to be a better person.” So amidst his love of life, there is a darker-side to be addressed and explored which adds to the depth of the character and gives Tim something to dig into.
He also explained it as, “There are hints at dark undertones. We show the baggage and what it takes to do this job as heavy as it is. Every day is another homicide. It’s a fascinating job with a dark undertone and what type of person that it takes to do it.” Adding, “It’s a great journey they are all going on. The writers and producers have really thought about it. It’s meant to be a long-running series. For example, Kirk Acevedo [FRINGE] — you’d think we’ve know each other since kindergarten – and given such a 3-dimensional template to work with, it’s amazing.”
As for the filming process on the new show, Tim is astounded how fun it has been. He enthusiastically shared, “Every script is so fun. There are so many scenes that I enjoy. Augie and Jane — he recognizes that she is brilliant – and he has a great respect for her. The bickering between them is great fun. Plus, Blando and Calderon [portrayed by Kirk Acevedo] are like the ‘Laurel and Hardy’ of the show. In this one bar scene, there is an instant photo-booth that Blando and Calderon take photos in and Timoney [Maria Bello] opens the screen and is like ‘What are you doing?!’ It was great!”
Given the darker themes of the series, there have been concerns that the show may be too dark, but Tim was quick to allay those fears by saying, “What I love about these guys is that they’re going bold, not traditional. It is real-life stories. They’re using their coping mechanisms, so they bury themselves in work and become a brotherhood.” Solidarity in the midst of turmoil and whether or not Bello’s Timoney can become one of the tight-knit group is a running theme.
Singing the praises of his illustrious co-star, Tim shared, “Maria and I did two movies. ‘Abduction,’ which comes out in September, but we have no scenes together. Also, ‘Carjacked’ with Maria and Stephen Dorff — I wanted to be in that film because she was in it. She is one of the greatest actresses, no one could do what she does!”
Looking toward the season ahead, Tim described it as, “Each crime is varied and different, and every week is a different script. One week, it’s the mob underworld and the next, we’re at a strip club. Each week is different.”
To date, he recalls that the funnest aspect of the show is, “This job is the best thing to do! I love the camaraderie. That’s why soldiers reenlist — because it’s their family. Every actor, director and producer is the best-of-the-best.” On the show, Tim’s partner-in-crime is Kirk Acevedo. Tim playfully described their working relationship as, “We call ourselves ‘Bangers and Mash.’ We’re the-meat-and-potatoes — the glue of the squad-room. We crack heads when they need to be, but other than that we’re The Idiot Twins.”
Finally, when asked what he hopes viewers will be excited about when tuning in, Tim said, “I’m excited for people to get to know and love Augie.” Yet he also cautioned, “People are embarrassing this character and they will be surprised by how he reacts.” But mostly, Tim is excited because he thinks PRIME SUSPECT is a show worthy of viewer’s time and passion. His final words of encouragement were, “It’s the greatest thing! There’s no doubt about the quality. It’s real people and great characters. They’re people you want to get to know. Everyone is unique. These people, all of whom are incredible, are a ‘Dream Team.’ I don’t think there’s been anything on TV, cable or network, in a long time. It’s a stroke of genius!”
To find out more about the tense and challenging world of PRIME SUSPECT and Tim’s carefully constructed role amongst it, be sure to tune-in for the premiere on Thursday, September 22nd at 10PM on NBC (GlobalTV in Canada)
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower). Tiffany also writes as a columnist for NiceGirlsTV.
Photo Credit: Jeff Berlin