When Season 2 of TNT’s Perception starts next week, a new character - but a familiar face - pops up in Scott Wolf.
Wolf, who we last saw on NCIS and V, joins the cast as Donnie Ryan, an attorney who has some personal ties to Rachel Leigh Cook’s Kate Moretti – he's an ex that makes it clear he very much wants to get back together.
Will Donnie get in the way of what could be developing between Moretti and Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack)? What kind of attorney is he? I grabbed some time recently with Wolf to get the lowdown on what to expect.
TV Fanatic: Is it the first time you’ve ever played a U.S. Attorney?
Scott Wolf: It is actually. I just played a couple doctors on a couple shows and a news guy on the last one but this was the first attorney and I jumped at the chance. I think when you see so many lawyer shows throughout the course of your life…it was one of those worlds that I was excited to get a chance to step into. The courtroom stuff in particular has been really fun.
TVF: Do you think we’re supposed to like Donnie in these first episodes when we meet him?
SW: I obviously have a different perspective on it because, A, I’m playing the guy and, B, I’ve now traveled a bit of a journey with him through the course of the season. So my answer would be that in the beginning the answer would be, “No.” I don’t think the intention is to have everyone fall in love with this guy in the first couple of episodes.
He’s a challenging character. The first things you learn about him are that he had this harmful indiscretion and basically broke their marriage apart and what you see him do in the first episode is really in order to win a case and those things aren’t loveable. I think the journey that we wind up taking throughout the course of the season may change people’s opinions of Donnie.
TVF: Is Donnie going to use some of his charm to woo Kate back into his arms?
SW: He announces pretty quickly that he just got transferred back and is only here for work. Then, he comes clean pretty quickly that he’s actually come back because he missed her and wants to win her back. It’s a long road. I mean, he really hurt her and made a bad mistake…I can say Donnie does everything he can and not just using charm and humor but also trying to evolve as a person. I think for him to really get what he wants, which is to win Kate back that he’s actually going to have to be a better person.
TVF: What’s the relationship between Donnie and Daniel?
SW: That’s one of those things that happen along this journey, too, is trying to find some redemption and to be a better person…[Donnie] definitely recognizes that the first thing that winds up happening is a bit unfortunate. [Donnie and Daniel] have a butting of heads with regard to their first case that they’re working on together and what Donnie winds up doing in order to preserve his case, which he believes in, which is that the guilty person should be going to jail, comes in a huge way at Daniel’s expense.
So we get off on a pretty rough foot and that’s on top of the fact that Daniel cares deeply about Kate and Daniel knows that Donnie has hurt her more than anybody. So, they’re not set up to have a very good feeling about one another.
TVF: Talk to me about working with the cast.
SW: Eric obviously is just dramatically and comedically and he’s just very present as an actor and the same goes for Rachel. So it’s been, really, really, deeply fun and good creative experience working with the two of them. With Eric, early on our characters are really at odds with each other but he’s such a lovely guy and we got along so well off camera, but there’s just a clear understanding of who these characters are. So you know, going toe to toe with him was just really fun and, and because they had such animosity toward each other early on it’s made this journey that they’re taking together really rewarding I suppose.
We’ve gone on this journey throughout the course of the season that feels really interesting, really organic and real. I think the hope is that along with Kate and Daniel their kind of journey through the Donnie Ryan of it all and who he enters as and who he’s trying to become, as they evolve with him and the way they might see him change and shift.
Ultimately, whether they’re willing to set down their original kind of views of each other and have anything lasting remains to be seen, but there’s definitely a journey that winds up getting taken and it’s been more than great to take it with two great actors in Rachel and Eric and two great people. It’s been really great.
Perception Season 2 premieres Tuesday, June 25 at 10 p.m. on TNT.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.