Fairly Legal’s Newcomer Ryan Johnson Introduces Us To His New Character Ben Grogan [Interview]

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When Fairly Legal returns this Friday, March 16th at 9pm on USA, it will be with new blood. The series is adding a new character this season and I’m pretty sure you’re going to love him. His name is Ben Grogan and he is played by the talented Ryan Johnson who hails from Down Under.

During our recent set visit of Fairly Legal, TV Equals along with other reporters got a chance to ask Ryan Johnson a few questions about this new intriguing character and how his addition will impact our favorite characters.

On Justin and his new character Ben’s dynamic

Ryan Johnson: In the first episode Ben turns up. I think he’s a little intrigued by this woman, a little bit excited by her. He sees as kind of a worthy adversary because often, I get the impression that Ben’s the kind of guy that can work his way into a lady’s pants a little easier than some. But then when he meets Kate she shuts him down immediately. I think he’s interested in her and she’s really smart and she’s a lawyer, and there’s just something about her that’s interesting and different. And so when he finds out that the ex is an ADA and their paths cross there’s a lot of tail sniffing. That’s fun for Ben because then it’s a lot of chest puffing and bobbing, and just trying to get a rise out of this guy as much as he can, and because he’s so by the book and so stiff Ben has a field day with it.

On Ben’s place between Justin and Kate

Ryan Johnson: She’s [Kate] definitely burning a candle for the ex. And as much as Ben may at times be new and interesting I think there’s something about the stability and comfort of her ex husband. It’s like all the things that were kind of wrong about him are the things that she goes back to in some ways. It’s the stability that Justin has I think, but I think perhaps in Ben’s mind it’s less exciting, and the fact that Kate and Ben argue so much and the fact that they’re so passionate about what they do and the fact that they’re so fiery, that’s the kind of other option, and that’s what she’s playing up.

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On whether Ben will get influenced by the other character’s morality

Ryan Johnson: Well, not so much his, but I think he learns to admire Justin, within the battle there’s a mutual respect that comes along, and there’s a really fun storyline where they get paired up with a cougar judge, who takes a fancy to both of them. That’s all I can say. But within that they learn a lot about each other and a mutual respect develops.

With Kate, Ben refers to her as someone who tilts at windmills, and she sort of heads off into the fields looking for problems. Ben comes from the working class, and he’s worked his way into being a self-made man, and this is the first time he’s had to work in a team. But Kate’s kind of like a poor little rich girl in many ways, and she’s always worried that the puppy hasn’t got water to drink. Ben’s like a corporation. They’re never going to tell us the truth, so we might as well get as much money out of these bastards as we can. But in time she starts chipping away at that side of him and he learns that it’s not always about the win and that sometimes it is about the truth, to a certain degree. But if he got too much like that he’d just be wet and boring.

On whether we’ll learn more from Ben’s past

Ryan Johnson: We meet one of his best friends from where he grew up. Ben’s a dyslexic half Jew from Catholic school, and his best friend is this black guy called Travis. And so he was the only half Jewish kid and Travis was the only black guy at this school, and they kind of bonded through being the outsiders, and boxed together. Travis also ends up being a lawyer, but he has stayed on one side of town and Ben’s kind of gone to the other. When Travis turns up, for Ben there’s this mixture of excitement and pride in showing Kate where he’s from, but also when Travis starts challenging him on daring to kind of work his way out of where he was, then the rivalry kicks in. So you do learn a little bit about Ben’s past.

On Ben and Lauren’s relationship

Ryan Johnson: You know, it could have gone two ways. She [Lauren] could have been a real two-dimensional gold digger, but Virginia [Williams]’s brought so much integrity to that character, and really she just works so hard on that character to make her have as many dimensions as she does. So here’s this girl who did marry a wealthy man, but you really get the impression that she cared for Teddy, and she would have flown the coup a long time ago if she didn’t care about Reid & Reid. She brings so much discipline to the firm because she’s all about the reputation. From Ben’s perspective it’s a little bit more old school in that she’s probably part of a riding club, and she goes to those clubs where you have to wear a jacket and does lunches with clients there. Whereas Ben would probably find some fun burger joint that does cool martinis and he’d host a meeting there. Also with Kate and Ben, it’s like the kids are loose, and she’s constantly trying to rein them in. She has established a lot of the relationship, she’s got a lot of the old clients, and Ben just keeps bringing in these weird and wonderful randoms that no one really knows what to do with. A real fun kind of chemistry erupts from that because Virginia [Williams] is just so awesome, and on an actor’s perspective, she’s so experienced, and she’s got so much training, and she’s this really kind of hot character actress in many ways. It doesn’t matter what you throw at her, she just responds and it’s one of those wonderful things when you’re working with her that no matter what you’re doing and/or saying she will just adapt and come back at you with something.

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