Catching up with RECKLESS’ Gregory Harrison
In the words of Gregory Harrison, “Dec Fortnum is a “bigshot, Southern lawyer. He’s a Southern Democrat; he’s ruthless; he’s a very successful lawyer; he’s always thinking like a chess player, several moves ahead; he’s got everybody under his thumb; and he’s a longtime Charlestonian; he goes back generations. He goes back far enough to actually be considered a local.” And Harrison should know Dec. After all, he plays Dec every Sunday night on Reckless.
Everybody Serves Somebody
His description of the character is pretty spot on. Recently, though, loyal viewers of the series have discovered one person even the mighty Dec Fortnum appears subservient to. Harrison says, “They say everyone serves someone, and we learn around Epsiode Five who Dec is subservient to – it’s his wife, with whom he has an arrangement. She’s able to see others, and he’s able to see others. Obviously, their only rule is discretion. A couple of scenes ago, I got to play him sheepish for the first time. His wife confronted him with news that he hadn’t been discreet enough, and he suddenly became quite uncharacteristically apologetic.”
When viewers first meet Dec in the Reckless Pilot, “he’s in his office, and he’s asked to see Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet). He tells Roy, his former son-in-law, that the City wants him (Roy) to be City Attorney. What this does is put Roy in the position of owing Dec something, which is how Dec manipulates. Everybody owes him something.”
This becomes an interesting story arc in future episodes, though Harrison can’t tease too much. “Dec is always two or three moves ahead. He’s got his fingers in every pie, and he knows never to let on what it looks like he’s doing. He’s a diabolical character. But, on the other side of that, he continues to have his charm and ability to manipulate people. I can’t give away any more than that. But, it’s really fun to play Dec in every episode. I love it.”
Harrison also loves Charleston and says the City brings its own personality to the series. It is a character itself, and actors must simply adapt to Charleston and its cinematic nature. “There’s so much charm, culture, and beauty. And, there’s so much history, which is one of my favorite things. The roads are made of cobblestones from England that were brought over when the first settlers came in the 1600’s and 1700’s. The Revolutionary War was fought there, and the Civil War began there. You’ve got old historical architecture mingling with modern art businesses and the university that sits in the middle of the whole town. It’s an endlessly interesting town both visually and otherwise. I’m also a surfer and a golfer. There’s a big surf community on the outskirts of Charleston, and some of the best golf in the whole world is located in South Carolina. I don’t think I’ve been on many film locations where I enjoyed so much being away from the set. I hope we’re able to go back to Charleston and shoot another season,” though word on the fate of the series won’t be coming for some time.
In the meantime, Harrison, who was a star in Trapper John, M.D. for seven seasons, has been working on a few projects that will be airing in the coming months. Two of these projects will be airing on the Hallmark Channel. Though one is as yet untitled, the other is a Christmas project that will be airing in December. “It’s a sweet little Christmas romance. I just play the Fire Chief of a firehouse where one of my underlings is falling in love. I’ve graduated now. I’m no longer the romantic lead. I’m either the guy making it easy or the guy making it hard for the romantic lead. In this case, I’m making it easy. In Reckless, I’m making it hard for everyone.”
Harrison also shot an independent feature entitled Fair Haven, in which he got to work with his daughter Lily Anne Harrison. The project also stars Tom Wopat (The Dukes of Hazzard) and is about a young man returning home from a lengthy stay in ex-gay conversion therapy. Harrison plays one of the therapists. The project will be shown in film festivals across the country next year.
Spotlight on the Theatre
Harrison also recently completed stints in “An Enemy of the People” and “The Other Place” (also starring Calista Flockhart) for L.A. Theatre Works.
These days he’s simply enjoying life in Southern California with his wife and children while awaiting word on whether Reckless will be picked up for Season Two. Watch Reckless on Sundays at 10 P.M. on CBS.