Some people will always remember Michael Trucco as Anders from Battlestar Galactica, but for others he is now known as Assistant District Attorney Justin Patrick in USA’s Fairly Legal.
During a recent visit of Fairly Legal, now in production for its second season premiering this Friday, March 16th at 9pm on USA, Michael Trucco took some time to answer a few questions from TV Equals and other reporters on the scene about season 2, Justin and Kate’s relationship, newcomer Ryan Johnson and more.
On a pretty shocking revelation Justin makes to Kate in the premiere episode
Michael Trucco: Let’s just say that that weighs heavily on the nature of the relationship between Justin and Kate. There is definitely a shift in the paradigm between Justin and Kate. But I think, strangely enough, it’s not what you would assume that that’ll come to be. I think that that revelation, it does in some ways, weirdly enough, almost brings the characters closer together. I think it breaks down a few doors that may have been up before. But it still remains complicated, and as far as we know, at least deep into Season 2 we are unresolved in that scope now. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
On how Justin is going to progress in Season 2
Michael Trucco: I think, and speaking in broad strokes, all of the characters have room to expand from Season 1 to Season 2, and I think that with the changes with the writers and whatnot, I feel like this season there are more character based stories. The core of the cast, and with the addition of this character [Ben Grogan], [played by] Ryan [Johnson], we get deeper into the characters, less about the particulars of the mediations and of the cases that we’re doing and more about background and character study, which makes me happy in general for the show. Specifically for Justin’s purposes, that was something that I discussed with Peter Ocko at the beginning of the season. I want to see Justin do what he does.
He’s an Assistant District Attorney. He’s a prosecutor and I wanted a chance to see Justin in his domain. A lot of the time it was on the phone, he’s in his office, it’s dealing with Kate. What I like is that there is a storyline that is growing outside – Justin is just not a singular entity for Kate’s purposes only. There is a storyline growing about the election and running for the office of District Attorney, and seeing him in his element helps me, the actor, get my teeth into this character a little deeper.
On his approach to playing a lawyer
Michael Trucco: I try to bring some insight into the idea of the office of being a District Attorney because my father was a police officer, and they’re on the same side. So, I have the unique perspective of being raised the son of a cop that I hope I can infuse into the Justin character.
On Justin and newcomer Ben’s relationship
Michael Trucco: It’s complicated. That’s a facet that I like about Season 2, is the introduction of this character Ryan to which in the beginning my hair was up a little bit on the back of my neck. You know you get your back up when, you know, I’m the guy in this show. I’m Kate’s guy. I’m her man, and suddenly we introduce a character who’s spending a lot of time with her. He’s becoming a central character, and deservedly so. I think he’s worthy of it.
So, in the beginning when I first read the scripts and when I was first introduced to him, we were kind of “hey man, nice to meet you. How’s it going?” And it actually plays really well into the show because that’s the nature of the relationship between Justin and Ryan. And there’s an episode, I think it’s episode seven, where we actually get a nice juicy storyline and you get to see the dynamic between Ben and Justin and it escalates. And there’s some playful banter and some flirting, you know, and it’s classic territorial thing. Two guys trying to stake their claim on the same territory, the same property. It was a lot of fun. I hope they explore that more. There’s a healthy mutual respect between the two characters, but I’m not so sure that they’ve completely integrated their friendship yet.
On the evolution of Justin’s [spoiler!] District Attorney campaign this season
Michael Trucco: We have Esai Morales recur as the boss, as the DA, and they didn’t drop the ball and just say bring this thing up a couple of times. They’ve kept that storyline alive, and they’ve definitely raised the stakes between his character and my character. I think resolution is coming, but I think there’s value in stringing it out a little bit, because they are building on it and it wasn’t just something they brought up in the beginning of the season and then we kind of forgot about it. There’s no resolution yet and I’m not sure if the obvious choice is Justin becomes the new DA of San Francisco, or can you mine more drama out of the fact that maybe he doesn’t? I don’t know. So, I can honestly say I’m not sure which direction it’s going to go right now.
On creating the signature tone of the show
Michael Trucco: I think there is a theme to all of USA network shows and they’re not out and out dramas. They’re not slapstick comedies, but they find that tone… the word dramedy is overused. I like finding the irony and the humor. There are times when we shoot a scene that hits a dramatic note that we all like went “Holy shit, that got heavy.” But it’s okay. It felt real. It felt right, and that makes those lighter moments really stand out. And conversely, it makes those dramatic moments really stand out when we’re playing the humor because if you play everything tongue-in-cheek, then you don’t get invested in the characters.
Shooting with Esai [Morales], it’s hard to keep a straight face sometimes. So we try to bring that element into it so that it doesn’t just become laden and be a heavy legal drama, but you actually walk that line between comedy and drama.