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Dermot Mulroney talks NBC's "Crisis"

Mulroney plays Francis Gibson on NBC's new midseason drama 'Crisis"
Mulroney plays Francis Gibson on NBC's new midseason drama 'Crisis"
NBC Universal

Usually on television shows major twists involving the main-players happen overtime, but that's definitely not the case with Dermot Mulroney's character on NBC's 'Crisis". On the new prime-time thriller, Mulroney plays an ex-CIA agent, 'Francis Gibson', who is taken hostage when the school bus he is chaperoning, full of Washington D.C.'s elite (including the President's son), is high jacked. The twist? Gibson is involved in this grand scheme that leads the country’s most powerful parents to be coerced into doing things that not only compromise their lives but that of the entire nation as well in order to see their children again. The bigger twist? Gibson's daughter is one of the children kidnapped and unaware of the national crisis that her father has ignited. All of this happens within the first episode of "Crisis" and that is one of the aspects of the show Mulroney says he is most enjoying as an actor.
In a recent conference call with reporters, Mulroney discussed the complex layers of his character and the story that meshes government, FBI and Family issues. The actor also shares why he loved the fast-paced and unpredictable direction “Crisis” moves in and what viewers can expect this season!

Question- When we first see you it looks as if you are among the taken. But then it turns out that you may not be who you first appear to be, can you talk about the hidden elements of your character?

Dermot Mulroney- There are most hidden elements of the character of Gibson than the current viewer has any idea about. There is an incredible plot twist. This keeps happening week after week. That’s what makes this show so fun; as it evolved in its story I just kept being so pleased by the twists and turns of the plot.

Question- While your character is a part of the scheme and the kidnapping of the students; he also has his own daughter involved. Can you talk about how her also being a hostage and being afraid is going to affect him in his plan and behavior, if it all?

Dermot Mulroney- Yes, this 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, you will see that his methods are questionable at times but then you’ll learn how effective it is. And 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. The show is complex but it’s not confusing. You’ll see what I mean, it’s really great the way they were able to do that.

Question- You talked about how there are a lot of twists and turns in the story, did you get to know a lot of that ahead of time or are you kind of learning it as the story unfolds and how does that affect you playing the part?

Dermot Mulroney- I had very little knowledge of what was coming moments later. We’d get the scripts about four or five days in advance. Now I know everything and it’s awesome. There’s some really good semi SiFi-by twists in our story too. It’s not alien mother ships or anything, but there’s some touches. It’s really enjoyable in terms of those types of stories.

Question- Is there a clear-cut answer on whether your character is good or bad? And if there is an answer do you have it and do you have a preference as to whether he’s good or bad?

Dermot Mulroney- No I have no preference, I prefer that people wonder. But yes I do know for myself and quite clearly is that he is good. There’s not other choice as the person hired to portray this person than that but people will wonder that for themselves. His intentions are good.

Question- You talked about the fact that you didn’t necessarily have all the answers coming in, that you go sort of from script to script. And the fact that you have obviously done a lot of movies over the years and in that case you would have a lot of the answers and the plot points ahead of time. Was this something that was more of a challenge for you? Was it exciting for you sort of coming in and not having all those answers?

Dermot Mulroney- Yes it took me about two or three episodes before I really embraced it and then I loved knowing. That reading of next week’s script became so enjoyable. I should be clear, there were very specific story points that I was aware of and needed to be in order to play the character who knows the whole plan. But I didn’t know how the other characters were going to develop or how their storylines end up crossing, things like that. The intrigue of the story was the reveal for me each week and so to answer your question I loved it. But not at first, I had to adjust to that way of working.

Question- What are some of your most memorable moments you’ve had from filming this season?

Dermot Mulroney- Well you’ll come to see that a relationship and a dynamic develops within the kitchen, so I worked very close with Max Marteie, he plays Cause. He’s got a mask on for some of it but he’s the one that amputates my left pinky. And our other partner in crime was Jessica Dean Turner, who was a Chicago actress who was also particularly great in the part. And so we felt like we had our little team there while the Crisis crew was off shooting all these other storylines. So it was sort of like you could color code the storylines, but then of course they all come to cross at the end of the season in a very gratifying way, so stay tuned.

Question- What do you admire most about Gibson?

Dermot Mulroney- There are two things- his heart and his mind. I very much admire the reasons that he goes to the lengths that he does and makes the decisions he does, which is an intense and profound love for his daughter and his family. But the thing that most impresses me about Gibson is how truly genius he is. It’s fun to play a character that is vastly more intelligent than I am to be frank. It made me feel really smart.

Question- Once your pinky had been severed and you’re in the room with a couple of other people you kept looking at that notebook. It seems really important. What can you tell us about that?

Dermot Mulroney- The notebook is as much a character in this series, so it becomes its own storyline in away 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 diagram- drawings, all of which dealt directly with the story. If you can imagine 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-really fascinating for me.

Question- We’ve seen Gibson in the first episode as being surprisingly strong and in control, are we going to see weaknesses at some point soon?

Dermot Mulroney- I’ll answer it this way, 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 the character is going to do next becomes part of the series. He’s always close to having everything under control but it’s not as simple as that. It’s a very complex story so he has to adapt as it evolves.

"Crisis" airs Sundays at 10pm EST on NBC. @CrisisNBC

More on "Crisis": Check out interviews with Rachael Taylor and Halston Sage here!


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