Reviews, Television
Aug 21, 2012

BOSS IS BACK, Q & A WITH TROY GARITY

Boss returns for it’s second season this Friday and we had the chance to talk with star, Troy Garity, who plays a reporter (Sam Miller) trying to uncover the truth about Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer). He is possibly the only beacon of ethics and morality in this dark, fun drama and we can’t wait to see what this watchdog uncovers Season 2.

WHY WE ARE WATCHING:

Every so often a series comes along that is a game changer for the network it is on- think The Sopranos for HBO, Dexter for Showtime, The Shield for FX, or Mad Men for AMC. These shows paved the way for countless other hits like Game of Thrones, Californication, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad respectively. Well for Starz, Boss is that show- a hit that makes the network a real contender in the cable world and opens the flood gates for future great content to be created.

Not only that, it’s Kelsey Grammer in a dramatic turn and don’t worry, any concern you had about seeing Frasier is wiped out in the first scene of the pilot episode. The last time an actor made such a seamless transition from comedy to drama was Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, and we all know how that turned out (Ah…hum, three consecutive Emmy nods for best actor).

In case you need any more reasons to watch, the pilot episode was helmed by director Gus Van Sant (who also executive produces) and the series was created by Farhad Safinia who co-wrote the film Apocalypto and has surely announced himself  with this series in the land of TV. Think, the opposite of The West Wing, but just as good. Instead, this dark series, shot on location and set in Chicago, takes the viewer to the ugly underbelly of politics where power is the only motivation and the characters will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

WHAT YOU’VE MISSED

Kelsey Grammer is Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago who in the pilot episode is delivered essentially a death sentence by his doctor (which takes place in an abandoned slaughter house no less) that he has a degenerative brain disorder called Lewy Body Dementia (related to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). This secret, like so many great Shakespearean characters before him, is what drives Kane and the show. We instantly see his mind turning but not about his mortality rather his political position, his legacy, his predecessor. It is clear this is a character who cares more about power than his personal life, even in the face of a disease that will slowly strip him of his senses.

The supporting cast includes Connie Nielsen (as Meredith Kane). Being the daughter of the city’s former mayor and wife to the current man in power, it is no surprise she is an ice queen with equal parts ambition, manipulation, and patience. You begin to wonder if their marriage is solely a political partnership if not for the subplot of their estranged daughter Emma (played by Hannah Ware). Emma battles between the forces of good and evil- volunteering at a church and free clinic and being equally intoxicated with her drug dealing boyfriend Darius (Rotimi Akinosho) and the drugs he pushes.

Kane’s senior advisers are (or should we say were) Ezra Stone (played by Martin Donovan) and Kitty O’Neil (played by Kathleen Robertson). In the first season, Ezra is the man that cleans up Kane’s messes but is then ordered dead by the man he serves. Now, that’s not messy! Though he promises to appear throughout Season 2 as a ghost/hallucination, his role is short-lived (no pun intended) but its effects far-reaching. Kitty remains the no-nonsense female who is not beyond using her sexuality to get what she wants, including an affair with treasurer Ben Zajac (played by Jeff Hephner) who is being groomed by Kane as his predecessor. Can you say playing with fire?

And finally, we have the reporter Sam Miller (our very own Troy Garity) who is on a mission to uncover all that Kane is hiding both in his personal and political life. You can’t help but wonder if his focus to get the goods on Kane will cause him to jeopardize his own ethics down the line, but for now we are rooting for him.

FROM THE SOURCE:

Here’s what Sam Miller (Ah…hum), Troy Garity, had to say about Season 2 and his acting career.

Q: What can we expect from your character in Season 2, how would you describe him?

A: I play Sam Miller and he is the editor of a fictional Chicago Newspaper called the Chicago Sentinel.  I am obsessed with exposing the mayor’s dirty deeds and removing him from power. I am myopic in my pursuit and in this season, I kind of cross ethical lines. One of the themes of the show is ‘do the ends justify the means’ and they don’t always.

Q: What is it like working on a show that has been so well-received?

A: We completed the series first full season on television and it’s been really enjoyable to be able to live with this character for so long. As an actor, not really knowing what is going to happen from one week to the next- we get the scripts only a couple of days prior to shooting- is always really exciting. I like getting to see what I am going to do next-  am I going to win, what will I do psychically. I’ve had a lot of fun and everyone in the cast is so talented. It really feels great to be on a good show where the star of the show is doing extraordinary work. I think Kelsey Grammer is exceptional in this role.

Q: What is it like shooting in Chicago and where are you from originally?

A: I’m from Los Angeles- born and raised. It’s always exciting to go someplace new and film. I get to fulfill the adventurer in me. Chicago is a fantastic city; it’s really become my home away from home.  As far as making films, the level of acting talent that you find is extraordinary. There is such a strong theater culture. We use about 90% of local Chicago actors in our show. We film in a studio called Cinespace which I believe is the biggest film stages in the country outside of Hollywood. They are enormous, and I believe there are three TV shows filming here at once.

Q: How did you decide to pursue acting as a career?

A: I didn’t realize I wanted to be an actor until I was about twenty, but I had been acting most of my life. My parents had a performing arts gym that I had spent every summer at of my childhood, and we would write and perform plays there for our family and friends. So acting was in me but I never thought of it as something serious to pursue as a career. Then when I was in college, I took a performing arts class and ended up in a play. It reminded me of my youth and how much fun I have doing this. It dawned on me that it was something I was good at and could pursue. In a way, acting sort of saved me. I was adrift for a while. I moved to New York and I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and it was very humbling. You have to get on stage by yourself in front of your peers and your teachers break you down. You can’t hide or talk your way out of your problems. You have to deal with everything and that was a good life lesson for me. I think that being in a business that is making me better as a person, well,  its an admirable profession to pursue. So far I’ve been really lucky, and I’m having a lot of fun.

Q: What do you think or hope might happen with your character Season 2?

A: I don’t know if I can really talk about that! I mean I have a lot of hopes…I hope I get to kick the mayor’s ass (laughs), but it’s his face on the poster so I’m sure I’m going to lose that battle. We have to see if I live through this season in the first place! I’m really, really proud of the show. It’s a tough competition- cable- these days. There are a lot of really good shows out there but I think our show is one of the best. I’m really proud of it and everyone I know who watches it gets sucked in. When you work on a project that’s really great and nobody sees it, it’s not as fulfilling. This is a show that I think deserves to be shared and watched.

WHAT’S NEXT:

Up next for Troy Garity is a turn in the film Gangster Squad hitting theaters in early January.

“The film is Sean Penn playing Micki Cohen again- the notorious Chicago gangster who came to Los Angeles and took over the rackets. It’s based on a true story about this renegade group of cops called the Gangster Squad who were employed basically to not prosecute and arrest, but to terrorize the mafia out of L.A. It’s a story of their escapades and it’s a lot of fun. It feels like a classic old gangster film. I play one of Sean Penn’s hit men in the movie and I have four really fun shoot-out scenes. Some of the best actors in Hollywood are working on this film so it was just great to be around everybody,” Garity told Press Pass LA.

Other new characters to keep an eye on for Season 2 of Boss include Mona Fredricks (played by Sannaa Lathan) as the tough new aide and Ian Todd (played by Jonathan Groff) as the inexperienced but (you guessed it!) ambitious temp filling in for Ezra until Kane chooses a permanent replacement.

This drama just got even darker! Boss airs on Starz on Fridays at 10pm starting August 17th.