James Denton previews what’s next on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

After 8 seasons on the air, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES is winding down towards what looks to be a satisfying finish.  The events of the Season 7 finale that found our original HOUSEWIVES involved in the cover up of a murder has given the series new legs to stand on in the final year, and now that Mike Delfino is in on the secret, things are sure to get even crazier.  I spoke with original cast member James Denton about what’s coming up, what his thoughts are on being forced to quit, and what the future holds.

Been watching the show since the beginning – knowing that the show is ending, I’d say this season has been pretty exciting so far, but at the same time, I don’t know that I’m ready for it to go away.
Thanks, me either [laughs].  I don’t think you’re alone.  Most of the fans are sort of in disbelief really.  It’s great that people still care.

What can you tease for us about what is coming up this week and beyond, for the show?
Well, it’s getting interesting for Mike, because now he’s drawn into the middle of it.  He has such a criminal past, that I think that’s good.  There is a lot that we can mine from that.  With the character, now he can help Susan deal with it emotionally, which is a big deal, because she’s having a lot of trouble with the guilt and the fact that she’s gotten involved in this. And he can also help her deal with it practically – Ok, here’s how you handle the police.  Here’s what you can say and you can’t say.  So in that respect, he’s the right guy for her to have brought in.  The other idea, he’s really upset with Carlos, who is one of his best friends, so it’s been fun for us to get to deal with that; Ricardo and I like to work together.   That Carlos has drawn his wife into this doesn’t make him happy.  He’s spent a lot of his time trying to avoid the law, these last few years, and here, they drag him right in the middle of this.  There is a lot for Mike to deal with, which is fun for me.

There has been such an established Susan and Mike not telling each other everything, misunderstandings, back and forth, so it’s definitely good to see her bring it out in the open now.
Yeah, I think so.  Of all the options that Mike could have found out, this is probably the best.  He was pretty convinced they were having an affair, when she came in and said, okay, we’re going to tell you the truth, his demeanor in that scene was pretty obvious that he was expecting the worst.  He was like, just spit out, say it fast, because I know what you’re going to tell me.  So I think he was very surprised, and relieved that they weren’t having an affair.  Yeah, it’s bad news for him, but it’s better than he was expecting.

Has the feeling changed on set, knowing that this is the last season?
A little bit.  It’s a little melancholy, I guess you would say.  Particularly, for me, with the crew.  I go way back, with these guys, we were on a show called THREAT MATRIX before DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, so I go back 10 years with these guys, so that’s probably going to be what I miss the most is those guys.  They’re just so great.  It’s a different feel.  We joke around a lot about being canceled. Like, if a scene doesn’t feel like it’s working, someone will go “oh, we’re canceled” [laughs]; it’s something we never had to deal with.  It’s rare to be on a show that you’re never looking over your shoulder for the suits to come in and pull the plug, and we never were, in 8 years, so that’s a real luxury.  In that respect, this season is a little weird because you never had that feeling of doom, of impending doom, like on a series, if you know it’s not going well.  It went from “yeah the numbers have slipped but everybody’s numbers have slipped because viewership has.”  Particularly, with the demo that we’ve held up so well, nobody really anticipated it.  In that respect, it’s been a little weird, if that makes sense at all.

Has it been discussed how the show is ending, or have you gotten to give feedback for what you’d love to see for Mike as the show goes?
Not really.  We really don’t have any input, and the writers have done such a good job that it’s really for the best. It’s going well.  I don’t know that I would change anything.  It’s fun getting back to the early Delfino, and reminding people that he does have kind of a shady past, and a criminal background.  That’s what I would have hoped, was that we would have revisited sort of, some of the earlier stuff with the character, which we’re doing, so I have no complaints at all.

The show this year has already thrown some curve balls, and been exciting.  Why do you think that now viewers should stay tuned in?
I think there are people, I think of myself, there are shows that you watch, that you sort of lose interest in, that you tune in and out of.  And I think when people realize that the show is going away, it did so much for scripted drama.  You know, scripted television was not in the best state when HOUSEWIVES hit the air, so it was a little bit groundbreaking in that respect. So, I think, if I had watched in the beginning, I think I would take the opportunity to come back, especially because it is so similar to the early years. The show was so popular, and got the reaction it did, this season is very similar to season 1. Anybody that enjoyed it early on would be well served to check it out again.

Is there anything, any role, that you’d love to do once DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES is officially over?
The first thing I’m going to try to do is get on stage. I’m an old theater guy from way back, so it’s hard to do that during the run of the show, so I’ll probably look for a play, will be the first thing. You know, remind myself how to act again [laughs]. Beyond that, I’m pretty wide open. It’s kind of exciting, because as a responsible parent, I never would have left the show, I would have done it for 20 years [laughs], so it’s probably a good thing they’re forcing us to leave, because it is exciting, and there are a lot of things out there that you’d like to do, and after playing Delfino for 8 years, it will be a lot of fun to see what else is out there. I never would have chosen it, so artistically, it’s probably a good thing they’re pushing us out of the net!