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Reckless

Q&A Interview w/ RECKLESS Stars Anna Wood, Cam Gigandet, Shawn Hatosy & Adam Rodriguez and EPs

Late last month, TV Tango attended the 2014 CBS Television Studios Summer Press Junket, where RECKLESS stars Anna Wood, Cam Gigandet, Shawn Hatosy & Adam Rodriguez and executive producers Dana Stevens & Ian Sander dished details about this hot and steamy new series, revealing that sex is the linchipin for the show and that RECKLESS will have a case of the week as well as a season-long case that climaxes in the season finale.

RECKLESS premieres on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.

Set in Charleston, South Carolina, this one-hour drama follows Roy (Cam Gigandet), a Southern city attorney, and Jamie (Anna Wood), a gorgeous Yankee litigator, as they battle in the courtroom over a police sex scandal while fighting to hide their attraction. Jamie is enviously cool, confident and armed with south side of Chicago street-smarts, while Roy is a divorced father of two, embodies the Old South and is the newly minted City Attorney.

According to executive producer and series creator Dana Stevens, “The inspiration from the show really came from the last few years — five years even or even longer — watching people do reckless things that essentially ruin their lives. Anthony Wiener, General Petraeus, everybody seems to be willing to tweet or video almost anything they do and take a risk, thinking that it won’t affect their lives. I just started thinking about a world where we would be discussing that and I wanted to think about two couples, one that had a strong attraction to each other but they cannot act on that attraction because they are opposing counsel in a very big case, and another couple who are co-workers in the police department who go as far as they can go in every way and how it affects their relationships and their lives. And finally, I really wanted to push the envelope on network. I love shows like NYPD BLUE, and those shows really broke ground with sexiness on network TV and that’s what we are hoping to do as well.”

Executive producer Ian Sander added, “We shot the show in Charleston, South Carolina, which was kind of a new place to shoot a show which was very hot and steamy. And as Dana just said, this is a show we are really thrilled that it is going to be on in the summer because it is hot and steamy. And Charleston was both unique and steamy. Although when we did the pilot it was 30 degrees behind the camera, in front of the camera it was hot and steamy.”


Anna Wood as Jamie Sawyer and Cam Gigandet as Roy Rayder.
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/CBS

Question: You discussed the inspiration for the show, but how did you set it up?

Dana Stevens: Well, I started dating someone who lived in the South who is a city attorney in North Carolina. I was completely inspired by his work because he represents firemen and policemen and local drama that happens in his town. I had never spent any time in the South, and I was blown away by how different it is. I’m always inspired to write about a place I’ve never been, because it’s great to fantasize about being there. And if y’all have never been to Charleston, it is a great city and a great kind of secret, especially for people on the West Coast. People don’t think about going there and it is every bit as historic as London. It looks even like a little mini London. I just got really excited about setting a story like this in the South which has all this veneer of civility and gentility, but underneath, those Southerners know how to party. So I felt like it was a good place to set the show.



Shawn Hatosy as Terry McCandless and Georgina Haig as Lee Anne Marcus.
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/CBS

Question: Adam and Shawn, how much did your prior work playing police officers on other shows influence your performances here? [Adam played Eric Delko on CSI: MIAMI; Shawn played Sammy Bryant onSOUTHLAND.] Ian and Dana, did their experience influence your casting choice of them?

Adam Rodriguez: I think that you learn something along the way every job that you do. And so you carry little bits of that, whether it’s something of a technical aspect or a character aspect. Every role that I’ve played a cop in — which have been many — they all inform the next one in some way. There were plenty of things that I have learned along the way that I brought to this character. But I’m also getting a chance to do something here that I didn’t for so long playing a cop on a procedural show. There’s so much more depth to the characters, because the writers and producers intended to explore those character aspects going into this. They wanted to make this a show that was self-encapsulated but serialized and you got a chance to follow some real-life stories that these characters were going through. So the things I’ve learned as a person that I wanted to bring to the role have probably informed the role more than the things I’ve learned as a cop. But I think when you see the show you will see all of that mixed together along with the steam and the sex and the heat.

Shawn Hatosy: Yeah, I played a cop on a show who’s a beloved character in Los Angeles. One day I was standing on the side of La Brea and Wilshire on my skateboard and I looked over and there was a police officer in a car who looked at me and he said, “Sammy,” which is the name of the character I played, and he said, “Cops don’t ride skateboards.” The difference with that and this show is after they watch RECKLESS, I have a feeling that that same cop would probably look at me and throw me in handcuffs and maybe spit on me.

Dana Stevens: I have a story about Shawn. He finished SOUTHLAND. He was in a shot in the last episode of SOUTHLAND until 10:00 at night, got on the plane, came to the set of RECKLESS in Charleston, did not go to sleep or anything, went to his trailer, and put on his suit. That’s a big turnaround. He plays a villain in our show. And we were all kind of standing around talking. In the first scene that he shot,  he intimidates this young woman. We were all standing around the monitor to see what Shawn would do and it was like a lightning bolt went off. He was so mean and intimidating to this girl and we were like all right, he’s ready. He’s ready to go over to the dark side.

Ian Sander: When we cast the actors, obviously they played cops. But one of the things we are proud of in this show is nobody is exactly what you think they are. The villains aren’t all villains and the good guys aren’t all good guys. And the fact that these two actors are able to bring so many levels to the show, it wasn’t about being cops, it was about being people that are multi-level. And as I said, this is a show that you may think you know where it is going and I can assure you that it is going somewhere else.

Shawn Hatosy: From all my research I did on villains — and I did a lot — what I learned is that bad guys start behaving nefariously because, in some way, love screwed them over. Off the top of my head, Darth Vader, here is a decent guy who ultimately went to the dark side because Natalie Portman hurt him. Now Wylie Coyote. This was a coyote with good intentions and the road runner comes along and he’s addicted to the chase, something he can’t obtain, and that made him be impossible to be around. Bill O’Reilly, here is a guy that’s so in love with himself and the sound of his own voice that he’s become the personification of evil. And so my character on this show, Terry, he — once Lee Anne Marcus [played by Georgina Haig] enters the picture, he drinks the Lee Anne Marcus Kool-Aid.

Dana Stevens: Yeah, it’s all Lee Anne’s fault.

Shawn Hatosy: And he’s dark and he will never be the same.


Cam Gigandet as Roy Rayder.
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/CBS

Question: Dana, you mentioned that the South is so different. In which way was it a culture shock, good or bad? For the actors, how much are you at home in the South?

Dana Stevens: Well, at first it’s a good culture shock because it’s very sultry there. It’s very…

Cam Gigandet: Hot and steamy?

Dana Stevens: Yeah, how’d you guess? It’s beachy and the history is really seductive. It’s fantastic to be in these buildings that people lived in in the Civil War. You are walking on the Battery. People used to sit out there and watch the battles go on during the Civil War. So as a writer I’m very inspired by history, so I love that. But of course as a liberal Californian, it is a shock to be in a city or a state — and most southern states are exactly the opposite of the way you feel politically. So it’s been actually a really good lesson to see other points of view and see that people are passionate about their points of view. You don’t necessarily have to agree with them. But I think that the hot button issues for our country, morally and politically, are very hot button even more so in the South. That’s what I felt.

Shawn Hatosy: I agree. One of the things that drew me in is there is a strong female character who comes into the setting of the South. She’s from the North, so she’s immediately the underdog and she’s the quintessential fish out of water. She’s clever, she’s smart and she’s a female, so she’s got to go up against this southern legal, archaic…

Dana Stevens: Good ol’ boys.

Shawn Hatosy: …and real Southern gentlemen.

Dana Stevens: That’s the other thing. The Roy Rader character is the Southern gentleman. I’m incredibly attracted to that character and he’s a man’s man and he’s a gentleman and he’s got a lot of integrity — and he can also kick your ass.

Cam Gigandet: I agree 100 percent.


Cam Gigandet, Anna Wood & Adam Rodriguez during the 2014 Summer Press Junket.
Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

Question: Can you briefly describe your characters and discuss what drew you to the role?

Anna Wood: Jamie is a lawyer from Chicago who has found herself down in the South and, like Shawn said, is a bit of a fish out of water. She is uncompromising in her passion and her seeking of justice. She doesn’t take crap from anybody — male or female. She’s very grounded and strong within her morals. What drew me to her was, well, it’s very refreshing to have a strong female character who isn’t using only her sexuality to get what she wants but also isn’t afraid of her own sexuality and knows that it’s a tool that we women possess that if we need to pull it out of the toolbox, we will. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m actually Southern myself. I’m from North Carolina, I think the only Southerner in our midst. So it was really fun for me to play the Yankee fish out of water while being one of the only people that was actually extremely comfortable being in the Carolinas where I grew up.

Shawn Hatosy: We would do things with our dialect and I could see you over there looking at us and criticizing.

Anna Wood: Just judging.

Adam Rodriguez: I play a character named Preston Cruz who is a detective who has moved down to South Carolina from New York for reasons unknown at the start of the show. And as things roll out, little by little, you get to see more and more of why I chose to go see what the South was all about. Part of that on the surface is this beautiful face here [pointing at Anna Wood] and she pulled out her tools of sexuality and lured me in. And she’s actually my girlfriend on the show and is toying with my heart and emotions while a separate heat is brewing on the side between her and a certain handsome, unstoppable someone [Cam Gigandet’s Roy Rader]. And I just think that the character was something that when I read it I was like, you know, this is actually really interesting. There are a lot of places to go here. This guy is all about the right things and yet there’s some dark side that is hidden there. I was excited about exploring that dark side. The rest of the writers, Cory Miller and everybody involved, have given us all a chance to explore a lot of different sides of all of our characters.

Shawn Hatosy: So the show satisfies viewers that are interested in a case-of-the-week narrative, but our genetic makeup is the complex, romantic relationship that occurs in and out of the courtroom between these three. They have got kind of like a love triangle. And then also the egregiously titillating union between my character, Detective McCandless, and Lee Anne Marcus, which occurs whenever and wherever they feel like getting naked and having sex.

Ian Sander: I like that, egregiously titillating.

Cam Gigandet: My character is Roy, the Southern gentlemen city attorney, and I guess what I love about Roy is that there’s so much honesty. He is the one person on the show who is kind of what you see is what you get. So there’s this simplicity about him, and yet it’s not simplistic and he’s not simple. There’s depth and complexities to him, but on the surface it is simple. I thought that was kind of a difficult thing to explore and something new for me, getting a chance to have this genuine good guy trying to do the right thing.

Dana Stevens: Being the hero.

Cam Gigandet: Being the hero, which I’m never comfortable with. So let’s not call myself that. But I agree. I just fell in love with the character and I fell in love with the rest of the cast and crew and Catherine Hardwicke, who was the director of the pilot. It was just kind of one of those things where everything lines up and those are opportunities that you can’t pass up.

Dana Stevens: I think it’s hard to find an actor — all these actors can do this by the way — but especially the men on our show, they really can handle the romanticism and the machismo equally. It is a very romantic show. It has a lot of intimacy and juicy love-type scenes, even if they are not actual sex scenes. But then we’ve also got gunfire and pushing people up against the wall and these guys are great on the show.

Ian Sander: The other thing that happens when we are talking about the cast, when we got to Charleston it became remarkably familiar. One of the reasons we went to Charleston, of course, was what Dana said before and we were thrilled about that. But obviously it could be shot in New York to look like someplace else; or shot in New Orleans to look like Los Angeles. So we got to go to Charleston for Charleston which gave it an authenticity and we got to bring the cast, of course, and they were amazing. They took over this town. We had eight regulars on the show and they became a family. They could talk about some of the things that happened while we were down there. I wish we had shot that too. It would have been a really great reality show because they were like amazing.

Shawn Hatosy: Some of us are stuck there and still there. [as of Mid-May 2014]

Adam Rodriguez: But loving it.


Shawn Hatosy as Terry McCandless and Georgina Hardwicke as Lee Anne Marcus.
Photo Credit: Fred Norris/CBS

Question: Dana, you said earlier this was kind of a closed-ended story line. Have you shot all of the episodes? How many? Is this open for a new role or something like that?

Dana Stevens: Every week it has a close-ended legal case. It might be Roy’s, it might be Jamie’s, it might be the two of them against each other. But, in addition, there is an uber case, like a damages ongoing case for episodes which the big finale has to do with that case. But every week you are going to see more twists and turns in the uber case, which is about Lee Anne Marcus suing the police department for sexual harassment because of the Terry McCandless character. There’s all kinds of twists and scandals going on in the police department, going on in the city of Charleston. Why was Roy chosen at this moment to be city attorney? All these things are happening at the same time. You will have your moments of feeling like the bad guy got his comeuppance each week. Roy and Jamie have these other cases that they deal with, but you are also going to have that soap -opera satisfaction of you don’t want to miss it, you don’t want to miss next week when you see what you find out about a character that you didn’t know. And then in terms of if we were renewed, we would continue to do the closed-ended cases and we would also have a new uber case that would still involve our cops, our lawyers. One of the things we’ve always felt is that this is a multi-franchise show. It’s about cops and lawyers and we always say and the linchpin is sex.

Ian Sander: That was going to be my next line.

Dana Stevens: I beat you to it. It is a show like NYPD BLUE, which is about these cops and lawyers and how they interact constantly — and then there are great guest stars. There is Deborah Monk, Kelly Rutherford…

Question: Why is Lee Anne suing for sexual harassment and wrongful termination rather than rape?

Dana Stevens: She doesn’t have enough proof. We talk about it a lot of whether she could charge them with rape. She doesn’t have the evidence. In the first two episodes, Jamie and Lee Anne sit together and talk about what is exactly going to be their strategy and what can they win. They search for clues or evidence that could give them the rape charge, but they don’t have it.


Anna Wood as Jamie Sawyer and Cam Gigandet as Roy Rayder.
Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/CBS

Question: Cam and Anna, in this series are you finally getting to show everything you know how to do? Does it feel a bit like a graduation for you?

Cam Gigandet: No pressure.

Shawn Hatosy: Get your tweets ready.

Anna Wood: It does. It’s been so thrilling to have this amount of work, to have this length in a person’s life to tell that story. I, up until this moment, was popping in for a guest star here or there and just doing little fillers and being the guy that tells you this is what happened and just so you know and the audience knows, this is what happened. So it’s been really thrilling to dig into a character, figure out how she ticks and then apply that week after week after week. It’s like having a relationship. It’s been really cool to collaborate with Dana and create this character and to feel like part of a team. It’s been a total blessing and it’s been absolutely thrilling.

Ian Sander: And you should know we saw, I would say — and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said we probably saw 100 different actresses, Dana, would you say?

Dana Stevens: Yes.

Ian Sander: She came in the room and went through the whole process, which you gotta know is not an easy process for actors, and she just won, it man. She just came in the room and owned it. It was just such a pleasure to find someone who did that. Actors are always nervous when they come in. They don’t know we want them to be great and she was. When Cam walked in the room he walked out and I think we called CBS and said we got him. We got him and it was fantastic.

Cam Gigandet: It’s true. And then there’s also — I mean working in television is such a different set of skills that you need and it’s such a different way of storytelling. And us as actors, that is something that we strive for in terms of finding new ways to challenge us, new things that excite us and push us so we can keep striving to find out more about ourselves and pushing the limits and getting hot and steamy, hot and steamy, hot and steamy, hot and steamy, reckless, hot and steamy.


RECKLESS premieres on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on CBS.

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