6 Fun Facts About The New ABC Series ‘Mind Games’

STEVE ZAHN, CHRISTIAN SLATER, CEDRIC SANDERS, JAIME RAY NEWMAN, MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE, GREGORY MILES

“You think you’re the pilot, but you are a passenger in your own brain.” -Kyle Killen, Executive Producer

Welcome to Mind Games, a new series on ABC which focuses on two brothers Clark (Steve Zahn) and Ross Edwards (Christian Slater) who have a business based on the belief that people’s decisions are influenced by their environment in ways they’re not aware, aka they can play Jedi mind tricks on you.

During the Televisions Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, cast members including Steve Zahn and Christian Slater, as well as executive producers Kyle Killen, Timothy Busfield and Donald Todd made an appearance to talk about the show and answer questions.

Below you will find 6 fun facts and highlights from the panel.

Clark

When describing Clark and his being bipolar, Zahn explained “He’s unmedicated. And part of the reason why he studied, has become a genius, basically, in human manipulation and behavior and psychology is just to understand his own problem and be able to deal with that. Sometimes it’s an important part of the character and sometimes it’s not. Just like it’s quite a common disorder and there are many different levels of it.”

Zahn later joked, “You know, I spent a decade playing stoners. And then one day, all of a sudden, I’m a genius.”

Brothers

Ross and Clark each bring something different to their business, which we’ll see play out in the show. Killen explained, “they each have a different sort of toolbox. Christian’s character brings, unfortunately, years of experience actually conning people, which while there’s not a lot of psychological names for it, it’s all based on techniques that actually work to get people to do what you want them to without them knowing you’re doing it. And Clark brings the real studied, researched approaches, and what they usually end up with is a combination of those things. Clark’s character has something that’s been done in a lab and an idea how it might function in the real world, but it takes a little bit of what Ross knows about the real world to sort of make it happen out there.”

Busfield added, “I think the adding of Sam, too, brought Ross’s, the con world, into Clark’s world too. Maybe that influences that dynamic as it evolves. Again, it all evolves with the stories that come down the pike.”

Meet Sam

Jaime Ray Newman plays the character of Sam, who has a past with Ross, Killen shared “they actually met in a prison work release program and when they’re sort of in a pinch, Christian’s character is able to call on someone he knows will be capable of doing what they need her to do without asking a lot of questions. And she’s sort of so good and so useful and so helpful that she ultimately becomes a part of the firm.”

Slater added “We both are con artists. We have a similar background. We both have some pretty rough histories. So that element bringing us together was a lot of fun. And like Kyle was saying, it does lead to some dangerous situations and some pretty tricky stuff.”

Mind Games Series Premiere Pilot (3)

Realism

When asked how real some of the techniques used on the show are, Killen explained “I think a lot like a medical show, it’s all real. The science is real. It’s all based on real things. The ways that it’s applied and the circumstances that it’s applied under in the show are, you know, a little bit of TV magic in the same way that there are brain surgeons and there are elevators and there are interns, but it’s very rare in the real world that interns perform brain surgery in an elevator except on Grey’s Anatomy.”

Morality

Some of the techniques used in the show to achieve the behavior wanted from people can pose questions of morality, and that is explored in the show as well, as the characters discuss morality issues amongst themselves.

In addition, the series also explores the consequences of people finding out about what has been done to them. Even more, the characters can’t help but using some of their tricks on each other, which Killen explains allows them to “play that moral gray area and discuss what’s fair and what’s not in terms of guiding other people.”

Killen also shared that in episode 5, Clark comes clean about what he is doing to the guy he’s trying to manipulate “because he’s afraid that it’s not going to happen and it’s so important to him that he get the right result that he drops any pretense of manipulation and just speaks from the heart.”

Stories

Killen gave us an idea of what we can expect in terms of storylines and clients in the show. He shared, “the stories go a lot of different directions, and some of them go in such moral gray areas that the characters themselves rebel against doing what they’re doing. There’s one where Clark literally pulls the plug because it’s not his decision to make. He refuses to take any part in sort of pushing it one way or another, and Ross feels like they’ve made promises to people. And playing that conflict over, in a weird way, this show is about a group of people who are really underqualified to play God, but they’ve set up a business where they do just that.”

Mind Games premieres tonight, February 25th, at 10pm on ABC.

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