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'Crisis': Dermot Mulroney gives insight into his complicated character

Dermot Mulroney as Thomas Gibson in Crisis
Dermot Mulroney as Thomas Gibson in Crisis
NBC/Chuck Hodes

NBC's new drama "Crisis" is a thrill ride that gives the audience lots of twists and turns and keeps them on the edge of their seats. The drama starring, Gillian Anderson, Lance Gross, Rachel Taylor and Dermot Mulroney, follows the lives of a bunch of kidnapped high school students with high profile parents. For those who saw the premiere episode know that the big twist was the reveal of the criminal mastermind behind the kidnapping.

The "mastermind" of the entire plot is Francis Gibson, played by Dermot Mulroney. Gibson is posing as one of the hostages. To complicate things more, Gibson's daughter, Beth Ann, is one of the hostages and is completely unaware of her dad's misdeeds. Beth Ann thinks he's a "nerdy" dad who only embarrasses her. Gibson is clearly not who he says he is and no one, not his daughter or the people working for him, know what his agenda really is.

On the April 6th episode entitled, "We Were Supposed to Help Each Other," Finley (Lance Gross) and Dunn (Rachael Taylor) continue to look into the backgrounds of the parents, while three of the parents are tasked with using their influence to steal a key piece of the mastermind’s puzzle from the CIA.

Classic TV Examiner, along with other reporters, chatted with Mulroney during a recent press call about his complicated character and the villain behind it all.

Check out some highlights from the call below:

Q: Can you talk about some of Gibson's hidden elements?

Dermot Mulroney: Sure. There are more hidden elements of the character of Gibson then the current view has any idea about. There’s an incredible plot twist, several of them in fact in the opening episode. But what you need to know is that this keeps happening week after week. It’s what makes this show so fun. As it evolved in its story, I just kept being so pleased by the twists and turn of the plot. So what I say is there’s more to come.

Q: How does having his own daughter as one of the hostages in the kidnapping scheme affect him?

Dermot Mulroney: The story gets really crazy. But what stays the same is how much he loves his daughter and how important it is for him to repair his relationship with her and put his family back together. Now his intentions are good and you will see that his methods are questionable at times, but then you’ll learn how effective it is. So the story makes you really question motives versus results. It’s very smart in that way. Another thing I love about it is there is a lot of story coming at you really fast; but I’m more surprised to how clear it is. In other words, its complex, but it’s not confusing. You’ll see what I mean, it’s really great the way they were able to do that.

Q: Did you add anything to your character's profile that wasn't apart his original back story?

Dermot Mulroney: Very little. I didn’t improvise dialogue at all, but the directors that we worked with were really collaborative and well chosen. There were really sort of 12 or 13 different people came in to work on these scripts to shoot the thing. So that’s where my contribution would be just in how the scene plays. But I didn’t change anything in the script. I said every word as it was written. I don’t even think there’s an extra word in that character at all. This web of plot was so intricate that there wasn’t anything I could add. I mean that wasn’t my job either. So this for me was fun because I was reading the scripts like a spy novel and then just doing what they said. In Episode 4 I didn’t necessarily know how something I was doing was going to affect something we would shoot for Episode 8. So I just followed the steps as they laid them out in front of me.

Q: What you think the most challenging aspect of playing a man liked Gibson?

Dermot Mulroney: I found it difficult sometimes to contain my evil glee as other stuff takes place later on. I’ll be honest with you, it’s really fun to play that character. My challenge was to play it in a contained and controlled way. I mean there are other aspects to the character that are challenging too, but that was one of them for sure — just to be real cool, I guess.

Q: In the first episode your finger had been cut off yet all you seemed to be thinking about is your notebook which seems to hold the key to your plan. Can you talk about that?

Dermot Mulroney: The notebook is as much a character in this series as well. Its got its own storyline in a way and it’s one of the best props I’ve ever worked with. I wish I had in my mind the name of the woman who worked on this prop — page after page of intricate drawings, all of which dealt directly with the story — if you can imagine this, there were things in that book when we were shooting the pilot that I didn’t know about until about seven months later when we were shooting the series and that’s when the picture that had been in the notebook the whole time came into play. It was really fascinating for me. Also for me, the double whammy plot where you cut the finger off and then right away it’s revealed that he had planned that, that’s what I think makes this first episode so great. It’s great the way they structured the reveals in this first episode and we do that throughout the series.

Q: Gibson is a bad ass and always in control. Will we see his Achilles Heel at some point?

Dermot Mulroney: Well, not everything in Gibson’s master plan is going to go as he conceived. So some of the fun parts of the series are to see Gibson think on his feet and have to adapt to the changing situation. So there’s that tension between knowing that he has a great plan and learning that it’s not going according to that plan and what’s the character going to do next. That becomes part of the series. It is a good question for that reason because he’s always close to having everything under control, but it’s not as simple as that. As I said, it’s a very complex story, so he has to adapt as it evolves.

Catch Mulroney in "Crisis," airing Sundays at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.

To read more articles with actors from your favorite shows and movies, check out LA Music Examiner, Daytime TV Examiner, Classic TV Examiner and Animation Examiner. For more video interviews, visit our page: LA Music and TV Examiner. Also, follow us on Twitter at @spotliteonENT, @Phyllis_Thomas and @belindasLAmusic

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