ABC’s Rookie Blue is back for a third season, which made it a perfect opportunity for to sit down with someone who’s always great to talk to: the man behind Sam Swarek, actor Ben Bass.
While his character can sometimes be tough, Ben is anything but. He’s approachable, well-spoken, charming and in general, just one of those people that it’s enjoyable to spend time with. Given all that, it’s no wonder why Andy McNally fell for Sam!
When last we saw Sam and Andy (Missy Peregrym), things between them were pretty open-ended, a situation that Ben said actually works to the advantage of the audience. “The cool thing is the writers found a way to keep Andy and Sam apart so that he audience isn’t going to miss any of them trying to be normal together, the beginning of the relationship. That doesn’t happen off-screen. You get to see how things work for them and how things don’t work for them.”
Of course, happy relationships don’t always make for good television, especially when it’s with one’s former training officer, so there will be some bumps in the road. He explained: “A major character in Andy’s life comes back and that causes complications for her and for the relationship.” Later on, he added that “we suffer a major loss and all the characters are very deeply affected by it, Sam particularly.”
Although Sam came out the winner of Andy’s affections after a love triangle that also saw her once engaged to Luke Callaghan (Eric Johnson), Ben said he enjoyed that part of the plot for what it was. “Love triangles are actually kind of interesting, for me,” he told me. “The thing that’s nice, it creates and keeps a lot of tension going. There’s all these layers going on. It gives you a lot of interesting layers to play for an actor.
“It’s different playing a straight relationship. I think that the challenge for us is to keep the chemistry crackling. I like being written interesting storylines, and it’s great to be able to for them to come together, but it’s a lot of fun to play complicated.”
With Rookie Blue now in its third season, Ben and I discussed what it’s like to live in the skin of one character for a prolonged period of time. “What’s going to keep it interesting is the writing,” he explained. “You really have to find a way to develop new ideas and new storylines, and it’s important not to repeat what’s been done. The thing that’s very central to my aesthetic is I like not repeating myself as much as possible. I try to find a different way to do it or a different spin, and I think that’s the main thing we have to try to do moving forward.”
Of course, there are also the great things about his job that he doesn’t want to change. “What’s always a standout for me and a great source of joy is working with two of my closest friends, Matt Gordon and Noam Jenkins. Those are two guys I’ve known for years and years and we’ve done a lot of work together,” he said. “They write in that [our characters are] best friends, Sam and Oliver and Jerry, so to be able to work with those guys who are such close friends of mine, it’s a real highlight for me.”
A regular role on a TV series doesn’t leave a lot of time for other projects, but Ben has one he’s been working on. “I’m focusing on completing a little short film that I shot two years ago that I co-wrote and produced. My partner and I are trying to really get that done and we’re interested in developing some other projects,” he said. “I get a lot of creative satisfaction out of that. You’re controlling the machine, driving the project. You’re creatively at the helm of things.”
It’s a natural step for the hard-working actor, whose previous credits include a significant role on the cult hit Forever Knight and a guest spot on another Canadian drama series, Flashpoint. Here is another actor who simply has worked hard for a long time, and that effort and emotional investment has paid off with a great leading role. For all those female viewers crushing on Sam, know that the man who plays him is a pretty cool guy, too.
And Rookie Blue fans, he also has a message for you. “I would just encourage the fans of the show to tell us where they want to see the show go,” he said. “They should really weigh in about the things they like about the show and come up with ideas. I would encourage more people to do that. If we do a fourth season, I think they should give us some feedback.” So what about it, fans? The third season might just be starting, but it’s never too early to talk about what you want to see!
Rookie Blue airs Thursdays on ABC; visit the official show page here. For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.
Image courtesy of ABC