NBC Panel Round-Up 'Outlaw' and 'Chase' - TCA Report
by Laura Prudom, posted Jul 30th 2010 9:53PM
Procedurals are a dime a dozen on primetime, but NBC is hoping to capture audiences with two new crime/legal dramas that -- according to the casts and producers at the TCA press tour -- will offer brand new perspectives on an already crowded genre.
First up was 'Outlaw,' a series starring Jimmy Smits as Supreme Court Justice Cyrus Garza, who retires his gavel to take on controversial cases from the other side of the bench. Then (after a delicious dessert break courtesy of 'Top Chef') NBC introduced 'Chase,' a Texas-based drama about a team of U.S. Marshals. Join us after the jump for highlights from both panels.
Executive producers John Eisendrath and David Kissinger were joined by cast-members Jimmy Smits, David Ramsey, Ellen Woglom, Carly Pope and Jesse Bradford.
-- On what attracted Eisendrath to the project: "I have a belief that the judicial system doesn't always lead to justice, and that good people in the system can do their job, follow the law, and still end up hurting innocent people," the producer said. "The idea that someone so high up the food chain could have that problem and feel that guilt fascinated me."
-- On the differences between this character and other legal leads: "This character is unlike any other Point-Of-View character you've ever seen," Eisendrath promised. "Every week they're going to go to a different city and take up a different cause, but he's playing a character full of vices, and he's conservative."
-- Jimmy Smits on his character: "He's something different from what I've done before, a character that's much more loose and comfortable. It was an opportunity to deal with legal matters and hot-button issues that are substantive, but he's a character outside the box in a lot of ways."
-- Eisendrath also noted that due to Smits' body of work -- which seems "virtuous and liberal" in public opinion -- it was possible for them to "lean into [Garza's] vices" and still retain the goodwill of the audience, in a way that someone without Smits' public persona couldn't manage.
-- Another draw of the character was that "you won't really be able to gauge what his position will be on gay marriage or freedom of choice or the death penalty," Eisendrath said. It will be a surprise for both the audience, and for Garza's team.
-- The team will apparently "parachute in" to lots of different situations; Garza can pick whatever he wants to tackle, pro-bono cases, or those for large settlements, all over the country, in different cities. However, Garza will have a boss who is "pushing him in a direction he doesn't always want to go," Eisendrath said. Cases involving the government and the system in Washington will also play a role, and often be in conflict with Garza's decisions.
Stars Kelli Giddish, Cole Hauser, Rose Rollins, Jesse Metcalfe and Amaury Nolasco were joined by executive producers Jonathan Littman and Jennifer Johnson for this series about U.S. Marshals chasing down fugitives.
-- On shooting in Dallas instead of Los Angeles or New York: "This is a taskforce of cowboys, interested in the simple pursuit of justice," Johnson explained. "Texas is a great character in itself -- you've got the desert and the big blue sky," Hauser added.
-- Giddish plays protagonist Annie Frost, the leader of the team. She described her character as "blunt, with a huge heart, a huge soul, involved in this game of cat and mouse." The stunts are apparently entirely done by the cast. "It's called 'Chase,' baby -- I was sprinting on the first day!" she laughed.
-- Jesse Metcalfe plays Luke Watson, the new addition to the team. He comes from an affluent family, a prep-school kid who had to leave Washington because he broke the law, the details of which will be revealed as the season progresses. He comes to Dallas and is "seduced by cowboy ways," Johnson said.
-- Annie's father is a criminal still at large, so the motivating factor of her becoming a Marshal was to catch the bad guys. "50 percent of Annie's DNA is criminal, she's got to catch these criminals to prove she isn't like them," Johnson said.
-- The main difference between 'Chase' and other cop shows is that "other cop shows try to figure out who did it, we know who it is from the teaser," Johnson explained.
-- EP Littman pointed out that "if you have U.S. Marshals on your ass, you don't just have parking tickets, you've done something really wrong." Each antagonist will be a short story unto themselves. "Bad guys don't wake up thinking that they're bad guys, they wake up thinking they need money," Johnson agreed. "We'll understand them better; it's a game of chess trying to figure out where they eat and sleep, who they love and who they don't love, in order for our Marshals to catch them."
-- On returning to 'Desperate Housewives', Metcalfe said "that ship has sailed. This character is a great departure for me, 180 degrees from anything I've ever done." He then said that a show about U.S. Marshals had never been done before, which set the TCA audience buzzing, since 'In Plain Sight' is on the USA network and in NBC Universal's wheelhouse. Watch some TV, Jesse!
Will you be watching 'Outlaw' or 'Chase,' or are you bored with the slew of procedurals?