LAST RESORT’s Lt., Daisy Betts, talks “Eight Bells” and beyond!

To anyone that will listen, at all times during the day, I am talking about the quality of ABC’s Thursday night drama LAST RESORT.  From the minds of Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek, and featuring one of the best casts assembled, the show has proven two weeks in that the tension from the pilot will more than carry over into subsequent episodes, and that we should remain firmly planted on the edge our seats as the season progresses!

Tonight’s all new episode features the first interaction that the team has with the “Mayor” of the island, Serrat (Sahr Ngaujah), and just when you think the show will zig, it zags!  I recently spent some time talking about those zags with the show’s Lieutenant Grace Shepard aka Daisy Betts. The lovely (and surprising because wow, her American accent is amazing) Aussie gave us some insight into why she fell for this role, what we’ll see as the weeks continue, and what it is that keeps Daisy tuning in!

Love, love, love LAST RESORT – I’m so excited for what’s coming.  What was it about the show – was it the script, was it who was involved – that made you want to go out for it, and be a part of it?
Oh it was definitely a combination of the two – I read the script, and the first 15 pages had me completely lost with all this Navy jargon, and I thought, okay, I’ll keep reading because it’s Shawn Ryan, and I hear good things, so I kept reading, and was like, “Oh actually? Whoa!”  It took turn after turn, after turn, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, and I thought, I hope people can hang in past the Navy jargon and get this intense drama that is unfolding here.  So I really liked it, but when I read the pilot, the character of Grace was saying things on the submarine, and I thought, oh, it’s just like a token female character on the submarine.  I called my agent, and I had a big chat with Shawn Ryan about what they saw for the character, and they said, no, no,no, this character is really important to us.  As it turns out, she really is.  I love playing her.  Week to week, she delivers something more and more gutsy, unexpected, and comes into her own as a woman in a man’s world, especially.  So it was the script, it was Shawn Ryan, and especially when Andre Braugher was attached, that was definitely what made the deal for me!

What can you tease for this week and beyond what we’ll see for the next few episodes of the season?
I think that what’s great about this show, there are so many people that wonder how it’s going to maintain this level of intensity, and what we’ve got to remember is that the stakes are so, so high!  Basically, you’ve got a guy with his finger on the button to launch nuclear weapons, which are always going to be a threat.  And then you’ve got people from all over wanting that power themselves, so trying to kill everyone on the sub, or plant this conspiracy, or come and steal the sub from the island.  Every week, there’s a new kind of threat to deal with, meanwhile, everybody’s whole world and lives are hanging in the balance.  This week, coming up, “Eight Bells,” we have our first major dealings with Serrat, the “Mayor” of the island, and he’s just not a nice guy.  He will do whatever he wants to get what he wants.  In the situation, Grace has a bit of a backseat because she had such a huge week last week, and she got injured, so she can’t be at the front line at this point.  The suspense is still there; the rest of the crew have this crazy demand from the Mayor and they’re going to do everything they can to deliver. Otherwise, the consequences are really severe, and just when you think you’ve got the show figured out, and what’s going to happen, and maybe they’ve saved everybody, and it’s all going to be fine, and we’ll deal with whatever comes next week, it takes another turn.

You mentioned keeping up the level of intensity in the show – and that was a big question I had after the pilot. After season follow up episodes, the show is tense, it’s intense, and you are walking on eggshells, and you don’t know what will come next.
Yeah, and what I love about it is that it’s not formulaic.  As I’m reading the scripts, I read a major plot point, and I think, okay, that’s what this episode is about, and I turn a couple of pages, and it’s something much, much bigger [laughs].  It’s crazy.  Just when you think they’ve gotten to the limit, they’ve gone one step further.  I think that’s what’s really good; people think, oh, they’re going to play it safe.  It’s on ABC, it’s at 8 o’clock, how heavy can they really make it?  I can tell you from my perspective that they’re really going there.  Every week, it’s bigger, and it’s better, and meanwhile, we’re falling in love with all of the characters, really rooting for certain characters, and wanting to see what they come up against next week.  It’s exciting to film, and it’s exciting to read.  It’s really great to see everybody finally seeing the show, and seeing how they respond to it.  And I love that everybody loves my character!

Your character has some really intense interaction with so many characters already – the friendship with the XO, the relationship with the Robert Patrick, your father off the island being my favorite so far.  I love how they’re handling it, and will we continue to see bits and pieces of their interaction?
My character in particular doesn’t get to have a lot to do with them. Her father is obviously a huge part of her life, but they don’t have that connection with the mainland, with DC.  They don’t have that telephone access or communications access, and even if they did, that would not be the first phone call that they could make, you know?  She has to just go along with whatever the Captain decides is the best course of action.  Meanwhile, back in DC, they’re figuring out the conspiracy, and whether they’ll get out to the island remains to be seen, but we will have a lot of that every week.  That’s what I love watching, actually.  They’re the parts that I don’t get to see.  It’s not my story line, I’m not filming on those days.  I never get to see Jessie (Schram as Christine) and Autumn (Reeser as Kylie) in action, so when they come on screen, I really enjoy watching that, and seeing what’s happening on the rest of my show [laughs].

Why do you think that this is a show that people should tune into?  What is it about LAST RESORT that is going to grab onto them?
I think it’s the escapism.  It’s the escapism that’s not a fairy tale.  It’s the escapism that is slightly off reality, but imagine if it was reality, and that’s where everybody has to question themselves, and their own ethics, and limits, in terms of what they would do.  And do you think the Captain has done the right thing?  It doesn’t hurt the fact that it’s shot in Hawaii, so some of our locations are so exotic and amazing, breathtaking.  I think that it generally is a show that I could sit and watch with my husband, and it’s not going to be like, “Oh, I’m just watching it for him” and he won’t be like “Oh I’m just watching it for her.”  It’s genuinely a show that both men and women can sit and enjoy together, probably for different reasons, but you’ve got some really great one liners that will have them going “Yeah, I love that character!” So it’s a lot of fun, and I think it’s got all the right ingredients to be huge if people would just take the ride with us!

LAST RESORT airs at 8/7c, Thursday nights on ABC.