Actor Tim Griffin discusses portraying Augie Blando alongside Maria Bello on the NBC cop drama Prime Suspect
This week is quite the busy one for actor Tim Griffin, who has two big projects launching, one on the big screen and one on the small screen. Tim Griffin portrays Flannel in the Lionsgate thriller Abduction, one of the mysterious men who gives chase to Taylor Lautner's lead character. Abduction hits theaters on Friday, September 23, but the night before that movie debuts, Tim Griffin also stars in the new NBC cop drama Prime Suspect. The actor portrays Augie Blando, one of the characters who must deal with Maria Bello's Jane Timoney, who takes over a New York Police Department precinct typically dominated by men. I recently had the chance to speak with Tim Griffin about both Abduction and Prime Suspect, which debuts on Thursday, September 22 at 10 PM ET on NBC. You can to read the Abduction portion of the interview, but you can read our Prime Suspect interview segment below.
Can you talk a bit about your character, Augie Blando, and the relationship he has with Maria Bello's Jane Timoney?
Tim Griffin: We're just wrapping up our sixth episode and, there is no guarantees, but there is such a high level of talent on this show, from the top brass all the way down. The network gave Peter Berg, who is our brilliant executive producer, a proven formula. He just has an unbelievable reputation for efficiency and quality from Friday Night Lights. When we originally did the pilot, I think we were exploring, like the original (British) Prime Suspect, a lot of sexism in the workplace, but it is amazing how quickly it evolved. That is always there, but I've seen some of the reviews of the pilot and they like what Maria is doing because it's unlike anything they've ever seen because she's unapologetic and driven. I think I read a quote from Esquire which read something like she has such an a-hole personality that she could be discriminated against, but it's for all the right reasons. It's like if somebody came into your workplace, where you had a protocol and a way of doing things, and this somebody was always pushing. She's right for pushing, because she's phenomenal at what she does. From the pilot, you see this instant push-back from guys who are also highly efficient at their jobs, get all the results, all the cases. Why should these guys bend over backwards for someone they think is going about it the wrong way? They've taken it in a new direction where she's so good at her job and, at heart, we're all a bunch of pussycats, and you see the way it morphs into camaraderie. It's a really phenomenal thing and we get along so good I can't even describe it. There's an incredible chemistry there. You look at the cast and everyone is such a veteran with 20-some-odd years in. This is hands-down, the greatest job that any of us have ever been associated with, from a quality standpoint and to just show up at work and have a great time. It's almost too good to be true.
The show airs at 10 PM, which is the dark and gritty hour. It's the kids-are-in-bed adult entertainment hour. Can you talk about how this show plays into the mentality of the 10 o'clock time slot?
Tim Griffin: The tradition that we're going with is more along the lines of Hill Street Blues. I think it even aired on that Thursday night at 10 o'clock time slot, but I'm not sure. You know, shows like ER were real character-driven shows. And, yes, it is brutal because of the nature of the job. It's a homicide squad, but there is so much dark humor that is attached to it. It just has this fresh energy. Peter Berg will not stand for affectedness and over-emotion. That's not his style, that's not real, that's not who these guys are. They are all cut-ups, they're all characters, people who are fascinating in and of themselves. That's what it should really be about, and we give them a great crime every week. Here we are on Thursday night, and NBC couldn't have given us such confidence. We're so grateful for it, because it just shows that they've always believed in us. I think we were actually one of the first shows to get picked up. They love the show and they love the showrunner and the writers. To have a night of pretty much all comedy, they are of the opinion that they can get back to the heyday of NBC, where you had Seinfeld and Friends and all of these shows lead into a one-hour drama like ER. It's just a night of great television.
Especially coming off of last year, when they tried the three-hour comedy block with six shows in a row, all comedy. It didn't really work out quite so well, and I'm interested to see how this format plays out.
Tim Griffin: I think you're right. If any show can complement it, I think it's us, because there is a lot of humor in it, even when things are dark. That's a defense mechanism and a coping mechanism for all these people who do this job for real, that dark sense of humor. It's a darker, more sophisticated hour, but I think it complements the comedy. You need both of those in your life.
Finally, what would you like to say to get fans to tune into Prime Suspect on Thursday night?
Tim Griffin: I think Prime Suspect is going to be a show that is fascinating and one of the best casts you'll ever see assembled on television, and I'm not saying that because of myself. Everyone is Emmy-nominated or has won five Tony's. I myself, I look around and pinch myself every day, because you won't see that level of talent assembled. I don't know if that means it's going to go, because you never know what the American public is going to like. We are certainly swinging for the fences, though, and it's fantastic to be a part of.
You can watch Tim Griffin star alongside Maria Bello on the new series Prime Suspect, which premieres on Thursday, September 22 at 10 PM ET on NBC. You can also to read the Abduction portion of the interview with Tim Griffin.