Brent Sexton previews what’s coming up on THE KILLING

A lot can be said about Brent Sexton’s performance on THE KILLING – he has a way of killing me with his despair that not many other actors have, and I want justice for his family more than anything.  It’s that quest for justice for the Larsens that keeps me tuning into the show, week after week.

I spent some time this week, catching up with Brent as the show heads towards the conclusion of the mystery.  We chatted about where the show is going for the rest of Season 2, what to maybe expect in a potential Season 3, and his opinion of the “Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” backlash!

I have to commend you on such a multi-layered, faceted performance, every week, never fails. So moving.
Wow, thank you, Amrie, I appreciate that.

I’d imagine there’s some sort of process to get into this dark place that Stan tends to be in.  What is the process for you, of getting into that mindset?
I guess the first thing is really about identifying the conflict. This year, specifically, in the second season, Stan’s, you know, really trying to get resolution on his past, his present, and his future.  And to gain resolution in one area, resolution or relief, I should say, it causes consequence in another area, so once I can identify that, the rest just falls into place.

When you’re reading the scripts, as a fan of the show, what has surprised you most?
You know, I watched the Danish series, and so I kind of had a big picture idea of what was going on, so certainly, the first year, there weren’t a lot of surprises necessarily, and I didn’t have an open channel to Veena and the writers. This year, our second season is a lot different than the Danish version. I’m trying to think about what would be a good example of what I can share, because some of the big stuff happens in later episodes!

Oh you can tell me everything!
Ah HA! [laughs out loud] Nice try!  I’m so blessed that this year, the scripts, I feel have really gotten depth of character.  We’ve really seen some great different levels of all of these characters, and a lot of television doesn’t get into that, so I would say that is a great surprise for me.

Catch a sneak peak of Sunday’s all new episode:

Obviously, like you mentioned, you can’t give much away, but what can you tease is coming down the line for the rest of the season?
You’ll have to forgive me, because I can’t remember what happens strictly by the episode number [laughs]. We shoot it out of order, and over the course of 7 or 8 days, so I’m not sure exactly what’s coming up in the next episode, but what I can tell you is that there was a time when I was reading scripts and preparing this, that there was just this kind of moment that happens that created, what I thought was massive momentum. It really had me wanting to get to the next script as fast as I can. And that is coming up. From that moment on, it’s a heck of a ride, and I think people are going to be pleased.

I loved the Mitch and Stan relationship in the first season, how dependent on each other they were, and now with this season, it’s so vastly different.  How has that been, without Michelle [Forbes] this season?
Well, Jamie Ann Altman, who plays Aunt Terry, I was so blessed to get to work with her this year.  We have some great, amazing scenes together.  Two people, two characters, who are trying to deal with massive grief as best they can. She’s a terrific person and a terrific actor. I had a great year working with her!

As you’re reading scripts and preparing, do you form opinions for yourself, oh I think this is the killer, was there a moment where you thought, oh is Stan involved?  What is your process reading about this big “Who Killed Rosie Larson?”
For me, specifically, yeah, I have this type of investigative streak, where I want to figure things out, so to speak.  I made guesses, and every now and then, I’d mention one to the writer, and they would just kind of look at me and smile, because we didn’t find out until episode 13, the last table read.  And I would say I was about 80-85% correct, in my guess. [laughs]

What was your guess? [laughs]
Are you guessing, have you guessed?

Every week, I have a different idea and I go back and forth between three different people and then I always convince myself that I’m wrong!
We’ll see!

I read an interview with Jamie Ann about Season 3, and what happens beyond the resolution of the Larsen case, and it sounds like we’d be looking at a Larsen free year.  Has that been discussed and fully planned out yet?
I wouldn’t have any expectation necessarily, but I think the pertinent information is, once you find the killer, how do you dramatize keeping the family around, especially with a new crime.  They only get 42 minutes to tell the story, and my guess is people are going to want to focus on the new crime, rather than the family.  They haven’t said for sure, but hey, I loved my time with them, and I’d be happy to go back, but I’m prepared if we don’t.

There has been a lot of backlash on the web, among writers and fans of the show, about not finding out who the killer was at the end of S1 – was it something you knew would happen, we’d be waiting until Season 2, and what was your reaction to the backlash?
It wasn’t a surprise at all – I knew that.  This was an unfortunate incident, as far as I’m concern, as far as that goes.  We knew, especially those who watched the Danish series, that it went for 2 years.  Even in the pilot episode, Eric Ladin, whose character Jamie is a political assistant, says, oh we have 26 days until the election.  And that’s really two seasons of 13 episodes, so I think it was just an unfortunate incident.  I also think that everything going on in the zeitgeist, with the housing, with the banking, all of the stuff, a lot of people were just angry in general, and I think they want some form of closure, they want some form of justice, you know, that maybe they didn’t get at the end of that episode, and I think that played out.  I think there were a lot of different factors that contributed, and it was a lesson learned.  We certainly didn’t do it on purpose, I know that!

With all of the lead up to the finale, there were cliffhangers leading into each episode, so to me, it didn’t come as out of left field as others might have felt, and I was ready for what Season 2 brought us.
Yeah, to me, isn’t that what shows do?  I mean, didn’t everybody watch DALLAS?  Wasn’t there always a cliffhanger?  I don’t know, that just seems that is the paradigm of a lot of series television, so I was kind of shocked, like, well, what’s the big deal here?  It was unfortunate.  I hope those viewers came back, because it’s a really good second season, and they’re going to get what they finally wanted!

Will we get to see an epic Stan and Mitch reunion, or face off, when they come back together?
Um, yes.  You will see Mitch and Stan come back together and try to relate [laughs].  How was that?  I am afraid to give details, I’m so sorry!  It’s needed, it’s necessary for the story, to tell the story.

How do you shake a character like Stan, who has been through so much?  Is it easy to walk away from him when you’re done shooting or is it something that stays in your mind?
I’ve been in the business awhile, and it gets easier each time to leave it on the set, to stay focused, or just change my vibration when I get home, or to get out of it.  I don’t sit at home in the same conflict that Stan does.

You don’t go out and beat teachers up, just to get your Stan out?
[laughs] I don’t go out and beat people [laughs out loud].

What else is coming up for you?
I got a project hanging out there in the air, but it doesn’t close, so I’m not sure.  I don’t want to say until it actually happens!  We’ll see what happens.  Maybe a movie what happens, or something else.

I also wanted to add that I loved LIFE – one of my favorites and I’m always still so bitter it was canceled!
Oh thank you, that was a great show.  I had so much fun on that, so thank you for watching!