Talking THE UNUSUALS with Harold Perrineau

haroldIn recent years, one of my favorite people to watch on TV has been Harold Perrineau!  Michael Dawson, the man who sold out his friends to save his boy on LOST, made a huge impact on the TV landscape that his celebrated return last season was a welcome addition.  Back on TV again this season, with a new show that’s gathering critical acclaim (while facing a limited audience), Harold spent some time chatting with me about what to expect, why he likes this show, why he thinks you will, and what about my movie choices make him laugh!

What drew you to this show?
I really thought it, I thought it was really, really funny, and really well-written.  I hadn’t done anything like this so far, that was light and funny, but really dark, and a little strange.  When they told me that Adam Goldberg was going to be doing it, I thought, yeah, I’d love to be down, so those are the things that drew me in!

What have been some of your favorite episodes that you’ve shot so far?
We have an episode called 42, where Leo Banks, everything he sees, reminds him of his age, so he’s like, today’s the day.  I think it’s really funny.  I think that episode is really funny.  Some sort of poignant moments, with Adam, where we chase a guy, that I keep calling the zombie.  The guy was actually pronounced dead, but then walked away.  He had a brain tumor, so Adam is really connected, Eric Dellahoy, who Adam Goldberg plays, is really connected to this guy, and there’s some stuff that happens in that episode that I think is really good.

I talked to Amber a few weeks back, and she described the show as an eccentric procedural.  I thought that was spot on.  How are you describing the show to people that ask?
You know what, I wish I was as smart as Amber Tamblyn because I wouldn’t come up with eccentric procedural as well.  I have had these long wordy, well, you know, it’s kind of like.  I have no really quick concise way of explaining what THE UNUSUALS is like.  I hope one day, people will say, oh that show is like THE UNUSUALS, because I think we’re our own entity.  I’ve been describing it as a cop drama with a lot of humor and pathos.  Does that make sense?  There you go!  Mine is way longer and wordier than quirky procedural [laughs].  Love Amber Tamblyn!

Why do you think people should tune in?
You know, what I think people will connect to are the characters.  The characters are really real, and people that you can empathize with, or be excited about.  I think they’re all really, really caring police officers, which is something that’s really refreshing to see.  You can write tons about police corruption and tons of that, but this isn’t writing about that totally.  This is about cops that care, though they may be a little strange, and their methods may not seem logical to most people.  I think that people will really like hanging out with them.  I think you’ll love hanging out with Amber Tamblyn every week, like I do.  Banks and Dellahoy are fun to be with, and crazy.  That’s what I think people will be attracted to the most.

What I noticed about the characters is that they all have some sort of secret, or quirk to them.  We find out early in the show that your character wears the vest because of his age and possible impending doom.  Is there more to learn about your character, secrets, or anything like that, that will slowly show themselves?
The secrets in our show, they’re not like the secrets in LOST where people are trying to figure out how that works.  Our secrets are more on a personal level, and how that changes their relationships.   You find out really quickly that my dad died at 42.  I tell my partner, but nobody else on the squad knows, and they’re all like, what is his deal?  So it changes the relationship, when Adam protects me, or doesn’t protect me, as my partner or not.  Waiting for him to tell me about what’s going on with him.  That’s how the secrets play out.  They’re really sort of ways to move the character relationships forward, as opposed to like, why is the 2nd precinct in 1974! [laughs]  We don’t have secrets like that.  But we might look like we’re in 1974, Adam with the ‘stache.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of one of my favorite interviews!