As USA debuts Common Law
tonight, it's the chance for dependable supporting player Warren Kole to step into the spotlight. Kole recently spoke with me about playing LAPD detective Wes Mitchell and moving to center stage.
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It's a well-deserved promotion for Kole, who was one of the strong supporting players in FOX's The Chicago Code
(as Ray Bidwell, the bodyguard and driver for Superintendent Teresa Colvin), and has made memorable appearances on other solid shows like 24
(where he was duplicitous Secret Service agent Brian Gedge in season seven) and Cold Case.
"I have been really lucky to work on really cool shows for years," he
said with a laugh. "You kind of adopt a yeoman mentality about it. You
go and do the work, you're happy to boost the show however you can,
there's no fanfare. You're like a tourist. I got used to it.
"This is a whole new [thing]. It's special and you get so invested in it
emotionally. You want it to do well and you want to do everything you
can. I still have that kind of worker's mentality about it. I'm just
starting to realize that it's a show on a big network that's going to be
seen by a lot of people. I'm just taking it in stride."
Kole plays LAPD homicide detective Wes Mitchell, a former lawyer who abandoned the courtroom for the streets after putting away an innocent man. The career change cost Wes his marriage, which he still has some difficulty letting go of. After being impressed by Kole's brief dramatic scenes in the pilot (read my review here
), I asked him if we'd see him dig deeper into the character as the season goes on.
"There's some good morsels there in the pilot as for as why Wes is the way he is," he agreed. "It's a real fine line with him. I didn't want Wes to just be a grumpy person that you didn't understand why, because there's not much likeable there. It helped to know that he's got these demons and this guilt he carries around."
Wes's issues are tempered by his near-constant banter with his partner Travis Marks (a similarly underappreciated Michael Ealy), a womanizer who overcame a difficult childhood and whose arguments with Wes land them both in couples' therapy. The actors' relationship is much less contentious.
"It came easy," said Ealy of his rapport with his co-lead. "I think there's a certain connection that we both have to the material and our respective roles that ended up somehow lining up perfectly and we just clicked. Hats off to USA for casting both of us together and recognizing the chemistry in the room, because it was a long process to find the character of Wes and to find the actor to play the character of Wes. And Warren and I, it was just easy."
Kole agreed that Common Law
likewise quickly sparked for him. "As soon as I read the pilot, I thought, 'I got it,'" he explained. "I got the character and saw what they wanted to do, and it was exciting. It was clear that it was something I wanted to do."
It also gives him a chance to settle into one role for hopefully an extended period of time. Even he is hard-pressed to pick out the favorite line on his resume. "It depends," he told me. "My first role was onThird Watch
and I thought that was a really cool episode I got to work on ["A Call For Help"
], an interesting way of telling a story. I did a miniseries called Into The West
, if you like westerns. I've had the privilege of being a range of characters."
No matter the size of the part, his biggest pleasure is always the same thing: "Doing good work. Day to day, going in, being allowed to be creative on set," he said. Spoken like a true journeyman actor.
With Common Law
, Kole now has the chance to stay with one role and bring his talents and work ethic to the forefront. Here's hoping audiences take notice.For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.Image courtesy of USA