There is one show that has literally put a little known network called Investigation Discovery on the map for many viewers. That series is entitled, Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda. The series is a detailed recreation of the cases of a now retired police detective, Lieutenant Joe Kenda who had solved more than four hundred murders in his career. The series stars actor, Carl Marino in the pivotal role of the detective in what is essentially a docu-drama told from the eyes of the celebrated investigator. This Examiner.com columnist had the opportunity to speak to the eloquent actor against the backdrop of the stunning Palace of Fine Arts in the city Marino calls home-San Francisco, California.
Carl Marino is a strikingly handsome actor whose piercing green eyes will cause many to swoon over the tall actor. Our conversation covered a number of topics and this columnist couldn't help to notice that his appearance was seemingly tailor made for portraying heroic and larger than life characters. As a veteran Deputy Sheriff who had graduated from West Point, Carl Marino's entrance in the business is very unique and immediately stands out from other tales. It is a tale that started in 2009 and is best told by Marino himself. Carl speaks, "acting is something I never wanted or had an inclination to do. I moved from New York to California because I had family in San Jose and after both my parents had passed away." Marino continues, "it just so happened that they were filming the T.V. show, Trauma at the time in San Francisco. I found it on Craigslist in an ad where they wanted real police officers to play fake officers. I called casting and they put me on for three days of the pilot. It was background work which was fine by me. At the same time I started working for a private investigator and I had a case that came up that would have sent me to New Orleans and that would have conflicted with one of those three days." Would this be a possible opportunity lost? Carl Marino continues, "it turned out that the P.I. case was cancelled so I called casting back up and they apologized that the police officer spots were filled. They asked me if I wanted to be a paramedic on the show. I thought I could fake being a paramedic and it sounds like fun so I said yes. It turns out it was a show about paramedics and it was one of the best things that could have happened. I was a background paramedic on the show because once they picked it up they brought us back for more work after a few months of being off." Marino's prospects continued to rise. Carl explains, "about the third episode of just doing straight background work, producer Jeffrey Reiner gave me lines in the show. I didn't think it was a big deal until I saw him opening a chair next to the main actors! Obviously it was a big deal because after that he gave me lines again and then again and then again!"
Throughout the interview it was evident that there is a casual and refreshingly genuine confidence that emanated from Carl Marino that this columnist surmised originated from an individual who had the ability to attend West Point. Many of his answers are accented by an easy and quick smile that would win over even the most hardened of hearts. Trauma lingered on the air for a year and then cancelled which was unfortunate for many actors that are based in the northern California region of the state because it was the first series to film in the area since the famed Don Johnson series, Nash Bridges. Marino then answered an ad for a documentary style show that is arguably making him a household name. Carl speaks, "it wasn't long after Trauma that I answered the ad for Homicide Hunter and I had no idea that we would be getting four seasons!"
Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda has now begin filming its fourth season. Carl Marino knows the real Joe Kenda quite well at this point as he continues to play the fascinating man. Marino details the procedures and routines he utilizes to successfully portray the retired detective. Carl details, "when I am getting ready to go on set, I feel I am really getting into character when I put the suit, the gun and drive to the set-I feel like I am in character. There is a little bit of preparation. I am partly Joe Kenda all day long because I am just about in every scene!" Marino continues, "there is not much of a better person to portray than this guy. It is an honor to get to portray this guy who has done so much for his community and is such a unique individual. He is pretty much like you see him on T.V. He is a straight shooter!"
Carl Marino's admiration for the character he essays on Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda is readily evident. That admiration can also be applied to the actor himself. Marino displays his sense of morality as he speaks of how he believes certain scenes should be filmed. Carl speaks, "I have had to tell people sometimes to remember that these people have family members that are going to be watching this show. It is not a funny show and the parents and relatives of the victims are going to take it as so. Every once in a while you have to take it back to reality and show people what we are truly doing here." Marino continues, "I think that it does bring some closure to the families. You can see some of the raw emotions during the interview process."
Speculating about the future direction of an actor's career and choices is an often entertaining indulgence on the part of the press and fans alike. Carl Marino's classic features coupled with his noticeable charisma could conceivably allow him to portray an array of characters from the heroic scientist found in the Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four to the classic Cold War era spy. Carl enthusiastically addresses the subject. Marino speaks, "I would love to do that! I am a big fan of those movies to begin with and the opportunity to portray one would be something I would love to do! I have to concentrate on Homicide Hunter at the moment and after that we will see what happens and definitely pursue things that are a lot stronger!"
Another television series may be in Carl Marino's future after Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda. Carl Marino reveals, "we just filmed a promotional teaser for it and we are probably going to film the former first episode after I am done shooting Homicide Hunter for this season. It's a really good story and I play another police officer, but in this one I play the sheriff of a small town that is dying. I enlist a couple of people to help me out. They help my character find out what is going on in this town. There is a lot of mystery involved. It's got a lot of dark humor involved." The thought of Carl Marino once again playing an officer of the law allows the actor to have the final word. Marino exclaims, "a famous quote I recall is I would rather typecast then not cast! If I were to be typecast as anything I would rather be as a police officer because any movie or television show you see will always have them."