Jason George teases what’s to come on OFF THE MAP

When we were getting ready for OFF THE MAP to premiere a few weeks ago, I had the chance to chat with series co-star Jason George about why he signed on for the role.  Now that we’ve gotten to know Jason’s character (Otis Cole) a bit better, I once again spoke with Jason about what’s coming up on the show.

I really enjoy how the show took the time to introduce us to the characters before starting to dig into the past.  Especially with the Cole character.  Did you know going into it that Cole was a recovering drug addict, and he is still dealing with his demons?
Yes.  In the original pilot, there was a lot more discussed about it.  When we went to series, the decision was made to dial it back and reveal that information slowly over several episodes.  You don’t necessarily walk up to somebody and say “Hi, I’m Otis, and I’m a recovering addict.”  It’s drawn out.  They go to grab a beer, and you say “Yeah, I don’t drink.”  [laughs] And it starts to creep out over time.

With every character, we’re getting the back story, you start to understand the characters, feeling like you’re a part of it as a viewer.
Yeah, it’s how real relationships develop.  You don’t get hit with the person in full the first day you meet them.  You discover more and more and more, and they get depth.  And the more that you begin to flood the depth, the more you care about them, and that’s good TV.

What can you talk about for this week’s episode?  What can we look forward to?
This week was a lot of fun to do.  Lily and Otis go down into a mine.  It’s an abandoned mine, and they rescue some folks who got a couple of drinks in them and decided that they were going to go looking for this gold down in the mine that hasn’t been there in decades.  What is down in the mine is all sort of things that can get you killed.  Noxious gases and things that explode and go bump in the night.   Given all the dangers, Otis doesn’t come out in the same condition that he went in.

I like that the relationships are growing among your character.  Otis started with Zee, but we’re starting to see something brewing with Mina, too.
Yeah, as a fan of the show, I’m fascinated by the relationship between Mina and Otis.  Because on paper, so doesn’t make sense.  Sometimes that’s what makes so much sense.  The other fun part, you know, is it romantic, question mark?  I really kind of dig that.  I like that it’s not such a black and white, either we’re heading down this path or we’re not.  We really don’t know what we are, all I know is that you’re becoming important to me.

As a viewer you start to hope for an Otis and Mina scene.
But the other part is, have you seen Valerie’s legs? Zee is not to be ignored!

Why is this a show people should be tuning into now?
The thing about this show for me is that it’s everything that you want in a medical drama and more.  You’ve got the medical cases, the whole idea is that these people have to take on an extra role.  It’s not like most medical shows because we go and put our asses on the line to save people.  We’re the first responders as well as the medical specialists.  We’re getting ourselves half way to getting killed trying to save your life, and then we go to the wire and try to save your life.  It’s got things you want from an action show as well as things you’d like to see from a medical show.

The action is what gives it a different feel for me.  A lot of people have compared it to GREY’S ANATOMY in the jungle, but they don’t go out into abandoned mines in that show. This is, like you said, definitely an action show, too.
That’s the thing!  I’m like, this is GREY’S and THIRD WATCH in like M.A.S.H.’s world.  THIRD WATCH, they’re the firefighters and paramedics who have to go in and cut through stuff to get to you, and that’s us, except we happen to be surgeons.

How much training or background do you get?
There’s always someone on set, there’s a medical expert on set.  The writers have people who have different expertise.  Some of their expertise is in an OR setting.  Some of their expertise is sort of the jungle pharmacy, knowing the different things.  We have experts in that.  There are four or five different doctors who the writers deal with, and we have one or two med techs that come on set and work with us and are teaching us, you know, this is basically how you suture a wound.  We try and cram multiple years of med school in fifteen minutes!

What else can you tease beyond this week’s episode for us to look forward to?
What’s fun for me, like I said, Otis is taking a hit for the team in this week’s episode, and the repercussions of what happens to him, going down into that mine, trail on for an episode or two.  When you’re faced with death, the fun part is that, a lot of the superfluous stuff going on in your mind goes away and you start bottom lining some decisions about what you want to do with your life and in different relationships.

What else besides OFF THE MAP do you have coming up that we can look forward to?
Brother’s looking for a job like always, like actors always are.  I’m sticking my nose into some film work and one that I’m trying to produce.  There’s a documentary that I did that I really want to explore.  I think I may take some time to explore that.  It will be a family affair.