Interview: TODD WILLIAMS from IN PLAIN SIGHT

Todd Williams

Recently, Daemon’s TV took part in a conference call with TODD WILLIAMS who plays a homicide detective, Bobby D, in the new USA Network show, IN PLAIN SIGHT.

Todd Williams talked about his character, how he liked shooting in Albuquerque, and more.

Don’t forget to watch In Plain Sight on June 1st at 10pm on USA Network.

For now, enjoy the interview below.

How is it different playing a detective within WITSEC in relation to playing a detective on a show like “Third Watch”?

Todd Williams: Well, see the thing is that Bobby D’s character is a local detective, so he has no affiliation with WITSEC. So, it’s relatively the same thing, just a different type of guy.

Can you explain the long story behind your name?

TW: Yes, you know what? His last name is Dershowitz. They really didn’t give me a rundown on what his story was, so I was trying to make it up in my own mind. I figured that perhaps his grandfather’s name was Dershowitz and he had married a black woman and had his father who is bi-racial, but his name is Dershowitz, and then he married a black woman. I don’t know, but I figured that genetically maybe that would make sense. Yes, that’s all I could come up with.

How does Mary’s job get in the way of yours?

TW: Because she has to always keep the identity of her witnesses concealed, any time they get involved with any of my cases – as a detective, you need all the information that you can so that you can do your job. It’s like pulling teeth because she wants to be able to protect their identities at the same time, but then try to collaborate on trying to figure out what happened. So, it proves to be difficult, but in the end we always end up getting who we’re supposed to get.

I know your character is not in the Witness Protection Program, but is there anything about that program that surprised you? Did you learn anything?

TW: You know what, because my character isn’t within it, my research didn’t really pertain to it. As the character, he himself doesn’t really know about it. So, I figured that if I knew too much about it, it would kind of take away from the authenticity of the character a little bit.

Do you interact and work with Stan at all?

TW: Yes. In the later episodes, me and Paul (Ben-Victor) and Fred (Weller) end up working together.

Is there going to be any sexual tension between your character and Mary’s?

TW: I don’t know. I know that as the episodes progress you see that Bobby’s character definitely has an attraction towards Mary, but I’m not sure where they take it or where the writers are going to take it. It’d be interesting, though.

You’re from New York, how did you like Albuquerque?

TW: Wow. You know what? When I had moved from New York to L.A. it was a little shocking because everything in L.A. is a little more spread out – well, not a little. It’s a lot more spread out than New York. I felt like the pace of it was a little slower. So, when I went to Albuquerque, L.A. was pretty much New York to Albuquerque. It was much slower. Beautiful, though. I had to just appreciate it for what it was and not try to compare it for what it wasn’t. Albuquerque has a lot of cool things that you can do. If you want to clear your head, shoot, there’s nothing else to do but clear your head.

What attracted you to the project initially?

TW: It was a good script. The characters were well written. The premise of the show is something that I hadn’t seen before because I don’t think that any show has really touched on the life of somebody that’s a marshal for the Witness Protection Agency. It was just cool. It was a great cast. I remember when we were doing a reading, it was before I had met any of the other cast, it just confirmed all of that stuff that I had thought, all the positive things that I knew would come out of it because the actors that are involved with this – they’re fantastic. Mary (McCormack), Paul Ben-Victor, Lesley Ann Warren. I mean, it’s cool. Fred Weller. Everybody – it’s just a great cast.

Can you talk a little bit about what your character does in the show, and expand a little bit on what we’re going to be seeing from you?

TW: Oh, wow. You’re in the same boat as I am. I don’t know where Bobby’s going. He’s a local homicide detective for the Albuquerque P.D. Throughout the episodes, you find that Mary’s witnesses tend to always be involved in a case that he’s covering. They’re always going back and forth with each other because he needs certain information that she’s not willing to give. He’s just trying to do his job, but she’s just trying to do her job. So, they’re bumping heads. Then, there’s definitely a respect. It’s primarily their relationship in solving these crimes that they focus on within the first season now. Second season, I don’t know where they’re going to take them. I’d be interested to know as well.

Do you have a favorite episode from the first season?

TW: A favorite episode? Man. Let me see. There was one particular episode that was crazy. One of her witnesses ends up in a car accident where they find the car engulfed in flames and Mary goes to search out his wife. We end up finding out all this other stuff and we’re dealing with fire. We get caught up in an art gallery. They get caught up in flames. It was very exciting. Anything that has any danger, I kind of dig it. Anything that I can get close to kind of doing a stunt is cool without actually doing the stunt because I don’t like pain, but I do like to look cool. So, that was probably the coolest episode.

When you heard about the show, was Bobby D the character you were looking to play, or was there another character you were interested in?

TW: It was pretty much just an audition and I think Bobby D was the only guy whose description I fit, to be honest with you. I couldn’t be Raphael, and I couldn’t be Stan, so Bobby D I think is perfect. He’s an African-American in his early 30’s, so it just came down to that, to be honest with you.

Since you mainly interact with Mary through work, do you interact with most of the cast, or just mostly Mary and Marshall?

TW: You know what? In the first season, primarily it’s just me and Mary. That’s because we always have to deal with each other in solving crimes. So, her personal; life or her life at WITSEC, I don’t really deal with it just because we’re always handling homicides.

Since you’re from New York, do you draw on any of your experiences growing up in New York, or knowing about the New York Police Department when you create your character and think about how your character will act?

TW: No. I watched some “Law & Order” and a whole bunch of other cop shows because, growing up in New York, granted – police presence is strong, but you don’t really see it – I was never in a position where I could sit there and just witness how they did things. It’s never as exciting as it is on television. I figured if I just watch a lot of cop shows and see some people who I felt were cool that I wanted to emulate or just take things from, I figured that would be just fine. So, no experiences from New York, but “Law & Order” possibly.

Are there any types of dream roles that you’re interested in playing?

TW: Anything and everything. The whole spectrum because I think as an actor, you want to be able to stretch yourself, not to stay in one place. You want to be able to explore and discover things about yourself while you’re doing certain roles. So, just to do one type of role would get creatively boring after a while. Yes, everything. Anything that they allow me to do that’s a stretch and that is a departure from who I am naturally is cool.

Do you find that going out on casting, there’s a limited amount of roles for African-American actors?

TW: Definitely. I think that that’s just the nature of the beast. I mean, most shows are going to be geared towards the majority, and the majority amount of people within America are Caucasian, I think African-Americans maybe come in second. So, the shows that are going to be produced are going to try to reflect what the primary demographic is, so the roles are going to be just less unless they have an all Black cast, which comes along, but not as much, or if you have a more diverse cast, but even still, the roles are just not going to be as many.

Did Bobby D interact at all with Jinx, Lesley Ann Warren?

TW: You know what? See, I can’t give anything away. But, Bobby D does end up meeting Mary’s family under certain circumstances. That’s it.