KEVIN ALEJANDRO (TNT’s Southland) Exclusive Interview

Kevin Alejandro Southland

I recently had the opportunity to interview KEVIN ALEJANDRO who plays Detective Nate Moretta on the TNT series SOUTHLAND. Alejandro graciously took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the upcoming Southland episode “What Makes Sammy Run” (airing Tuesday March 30 2010 at 10PM on TNT), his approach to his character, and his upcoming guest spot in the third season of TRUE BLOOD.

I’m excited to see ‘Southland’ on TNT rather than being cancelled.

Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, me, too. You and me both.

So what’s coming up for Nate and Sammy in the episode “What Makes Sammy Run”?

Kevin Alejandro: There’s so much. I just watched the episode the other night and it’s so good. It’s one of my favorites. You get to see a complete sort of evolution of these guys. You get to see a real genuine part of how they deal with life and the kind of people that they are. There’s so much going on. It’s a strong episode for both of our characters. I can’t give anything away but it’s a nice, great emotional sort of arch. It’s a great arch. It’s a great story and Shawn Hatosy does a great job. It’s by far one of his strongest.

From what I read there’s some sort of gangster shootout in a club. Is that a case that you two are involved in?

Kevin Alejandro: That is one of the cases that we’ll be involved with, yeah. I think they showed in the last episode that we started a stakeout on a big ex or supposedly reformed gang member. You’ll see exactly how deep we have to go to uncover what’s going on.

In season one you guys were on a case for a few episodes that affected you personally. Will this season have something like that as well, a case that goes through multiple episodes?

Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I mean, our cases that we’re working right now, we’re undercover and we’re doing stakeouts and it does take a little while for it to unfold. So, definitely. I think that’s one of the cool things of how Ann [Biderman] puts her things together. There is that sense of serialism where she puts time and effort into something like that, letting it sort of unfold itself. That’s definitely a part of the formula for this season as well.

Are we going to see more of Nate’s personal life in this episode or later in the season? We don’t see much of him outside of work.

Kevin Alejandro: I think there’s a good balance, to compare it to last season, where there’s a little bit of outside, work life and family life. There’s a good balance of that this season as well. In fact, we just saw a little bit of it in the last episode where I’m at home. I’m asking my daughter where she was and that kind of thing. It’s sewn together well, my home life and my work life.

How did you and Shawn Hatosy create that chemistry as partners? It’s so good.

Kevin Alejandro: It’s one of those things where we’re both naturally, as people, as Kevin and Shawn we’re pretty different, pretty opposite, and it’s the same with the characters, Nate and Sammy. They’re pretty opposite of each other. I think it’s a natural thing that just happens like the way that it happens in real life. It just sort of unfolded. It’s hard to explain how it worked out but I think that a lot of it has to do with our respect for each other as well. So that’s a hard question to answer.

Well, it works.

Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, and I agree that we do have chemistry. I love working with Shawn.

Can you tease anything about what else is coming up for Nate in the future episodes?

Kevin Alejandro: I can give a little bit of a teaser. It’s basically what I was saying; some things happen, some great things that affect him personally and for the job. I’m going to speak for both of our characters, actually. There’s so much that happens that you really get to see who these guys are and how they relate and what they have to do, what goes on in their minds and how they have to overcome certain aspects of their lives and how hard and difficult the struggle is to carry out what they have to do for themselves and for the force, for society and all the way around as human beings. So you really get to see who these guys are.

Are you going to interact more with some of the other characters in the show?

Kevin Alejandro: I hope so. Right now it’s difficult to say but I’d love to. I love those guys. They’re awesome. I think that if we go for another season, hopefully TNT will pick us up again, I think that there will definitely be some of that dynamic.

Do you personally notice your surroundings more when you’re out, more than you did before playing this character? Has this character affected your perspective?

Kevin Alejandro: Absolutely. It was going through all the police training that we did before each season. We’d have a classroom activities and we’d go to the firing range and just go through a kind of mini-police academy. It was those classes and the ride-alongs and the research that we did which really gave me a new respect for these guys and who they are. It also made me much more aware. When I’m walking down the street at night I know where to look and how to be more aware. I’m definitely more aware of who’s around me and what’s going on. I think that everyone should be that way. You never really think about it but I do now.

How have the fans reacted since the show has been on TNT? Has there been any interaction with them?

Kevin Alejandro: I’ve heard nothing but great things. I have a few friends that are on the force and everyone is very excited and I feel the same way. I feel that TNT is the perfect home for it. It just feels right there. It feels like home. Hopefully they feel the same way.

I know you also have a part in ‘True Blood’ coming up, playing Lafayette’s love interest. Can you talk about your part on that show?

Kevin Alejandro: Yeah, that’s pretty much it though. He is the love interest to this guy which is completely different from Nate which is what attracted me to it, too. It’s just two completely different characters. Honestly, that’s all I can tell you though. They’re so secretive over there.

Does he get involved with the vampires at all?

Kevin Alejandro: I can’t even say that. I mean, they’re so strict that even our scripts have numbers on them and if they find a piece of paper on the ground that has my number on it I can get in trouble. It’s so tight.

Can you tell me how many episodes you’ll be appearing in?

Kevin Alejandro: I’ll be in a few of them actually. I’ll be in for the season, for the whole the season. It’s basically the same kind of formula as ‘Southland’. You’ll see me in an episode and then you won’t see me in an episode. It’s that kind of thing.

But your character will appear throughout the season?

Kevin Alejandro: Yes.

How was that experience working on ‘True Blood’ different from working on ‘Southland’?

Kevin Alejandro: Well, ‘Southland’ is a faster moving piece of work. What I’m doing on ‘Southland’ is so natural and real. They’re putting us in East L.A. and putting us in these situations where we really have to sort of think quick and react and they shoot it as similar to real as possible, as close to it as we can. So we’re all just sort of on action mode. They don’t print up sides. We have to be ready at work. When we get to work we just go and go with the moment and be there on point at all times. That’s what I love about ‘Southland’ and ‘True Blood’ is great. It’s long hours sometimes. It’s a lot of night shoots, that kind of thing. It’s dealing with a world that’s totally not real.

How do you prepare for your character on ‘Southland’?

Kevin Alejandro: At the beginning of the show, when we first started your character started to develop then. So the work outside is just, for me and I’m sure it’s different for every actor because everyone has their own process, but for me it’s just going through it, reading the script and putting the part of myself into the situations and how I would react. Also, it’s using whatever training and research that we’ve done beforehand and integrating those and asking questions. It’s a process that changes from script to script. Sometimes I don’t understand parts of what’s going on because of my lack of knowledge in how detectives would deal with something. So I could pick up the phone and call our police advisers. So it just changes from script to script.

Do you have any other projects coming up that you can talk about?

Kevin Alejandro: I have this western that I went and worked on this summer out in Texas called ‘The Legend of Hell’s Gate’ where I play a Civil War soldiers who sort of left and started his own posse of bounty hunters. No one would ever recognize me in it because it’s set back in western days and I’ve got a huge mustache and I’m wearing big old cowboy clothes and guns. But that should be coming out soon, hopefully, but that’s about it though.

If you could guest star on any other show which one would it be?

Kevin Alejandro: That’s a hard one. There are so many cool shows out there. I would’ve liked to have been part of ‘Lost’. That would’ve been cool. I don’t know. That’s a hard one. Lets just go with ‘Lost’. ‘V’ looks pretty cool, too.