'Common Law' Interview: Jack McGee Talks About Cops and Therapy
'Common Law' Interview: Jack McGee Talks About Cops and Therapy
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The two central detectives in Common Law -- Travis Marks and Wes Mitchell -- don't choose to go to couple's therapy on their own. That is the idea of their boss, Captain Phil Sutton, played by Jack McGee (Rescue Me).

On a recent visit to the set of Common Law, we had the chance to talk to McGee. The actor had a lot to say on the show, acting, life and therapy.

Common Law premieres on Friday, May 11 at 10pm on USA.

What can you say about your role on Common Law?

Jack McGee: [Sutton] is the guy that's seen all of that stuff and knows about all of the sense of humor and knows the quick stuff, but sometimes doesn't know how to always make the right moves in his own life. And he's got to ask for help, and that's where the therapy comes because everybody needs to talk to somebody.

What do you bring to the role of Captain Phil Sutton?

Jack McGee: I was a fireman in the Bronx for 10 years, so I know a little bit about it. I come from a family of cops and firemen. My brothers are all cops or firemen, so it pretty much is something I'm quite familiar with.

I've played a lot of cops... I spent the last three seasons of NYPD Blue as the desk sergeant downstairs.

I was born and raised in the south Bronx. And the only class -- the only acting class -- I ever took is when I was chasing a girl, you know? And there were two of those, and it worked out pretty well both times. But I don't have any formal training.

What's different about this part?

Jack McGee: When this came along, this is a little bit of a different role. This isn't just a cop. This is a cop that, a guy that's trying to find himself, and he doesn't know exactly how to do it.

I haven't gotten the opportunity. I've done some sitcoms early on, a lot of years ago, but I haven't done a lot of comedy in awhile. And I like to laugh and I like to make people laugh, so this is a great departure for me.

Why does Captain Sutton send Travis and Wes to therapy?

Jack McGee: He sees in these two knuckleheads that he's dealing with, kind of a paternal thing to it. He's attracted to them because he sees a lot of himself.

I'm very, very protective and very defensive about people that are in my life, in my family. So I figured like these two nitwits are like my sons. And I can abuse them, but don't you come in! It is kind of like a mentor or a father, and I see a lot of myself in these guys from years gone by. And I'm trying to help them not make the same mistakes that I made.

They're good cops, but they don't know how to deal with each other. They don't know how to talk to each other... It's about relationships.

Why is therapy so important?

Jack McGee: Where I come from, when you break your arm, you go get it fixed. But if your heart or your head hurts, you don't talk to anybody. And I found that what happened with me is that once I surrendered to the fact that I didn't know everything, I became teachable. And that's kind of the way I'm looking at this guy that I'm playing now is that his life had become a mess. And if he didn't take the steps to maybe go and ask for some help... There's an expression that I hear in the rooms of the groups that I go to, and one of them is: "If nothing changes, nothing changes."

You know, in my own life, my wife is a yoga instructor, and I agreed about two and a half, three years ago to go on a yoga meditation retreat in Mexico for a week. Yeah, how many people have ever been on a yoga meditation retreat? Guys don't do that because they, you know... But that's where the girls are.

(Image courtesy of USA)