In the new FX drama ‘Terriers,’ Donal Logue (‘Life’) and Michael Raymond-James (‘True Blood’) play Hank Dolworth and Britt Pollack, a dishonorably dismissed cop and semi-reformed thief who have formed an off-the-books P.I. biz. Like the best FX dramas – and especially one from the brain of Shawn Ryan (‘The Shield’) – the protagonists are antiheroes you relish rooting for, as they doggedly stick their noses into other, powerful people’s business. Yes, they are like feisty terriers in the way they grab onto something and don’t let go.
On the occasion of the series’ Wednesday, September 8, premiere, Fancast spoke with Logue about what ‘Terriers’ is, what it isn’t, and why this “weird sort of 650-page indie movie” caught his eye.
I hope you take this as the compliment it’s intended to be, because I’m a huge fan of ‘Fletch,’ and I feel some of the same sensibility in ‘Terriers.’ You’ve got the scrappy investigators looking into cases that aren’t always what they seem….
My little sister would marry you immediately if she heard this. If you were ever suffering from a crippling depression, she would urge you to watch ‘Fletch’ because it’s impossible not to have momentary relief watching that film. ‘Fletch’ was fantastic, and I’ll take that as a huge compliment. I felt like the whole ride was pretty thrilling. But by the end of the run of 13 [episodes], it gets a bit grittier and darker.
Yeah, this definitely has a darkness that ‘Fletch’ didn’t.
But I love hearing that. I hope it dips between those different worlds in a way that never feels forced or wrong, and I get the feeling from you that it does. Honestly, I’m in no position to sit and argue with anyone, “Well, the show is this or that.” We dug in and made this weird sort 650-page indie movie over the course of five months in San Diego, and I’m excited to hear what other people feel about it. It felt like Michael and I were [playing] guys that I could relate to, guys that I recognize from growing up. I don’t know if people want to hang with those guys – that’s up to them – but discussions like this are of value to me.
Will the cases Hank and Britt work always pack a twist, or is sometimes an investigation into marital infidelity simply marital infidelity?
It’s interesting because after Episodes 2 and 3, there was only really one other standalone episode [revolving around a particular case]. It’s a bit of a novelty that the show starts out that way, because we [Hank and Britt] are trying to make money to get our lives together, but once we do that the conspiracy case [from the pilot] takes over. From the fourth and fifth through the 13th episode, that becomes kind of the primary focus, and that was a joy ride to me.
When Hank gives his deposition in that conspiracy case, I was thinking, “Hmm, this guy’s kind of a d–k.” But then I reminded myself that there are reasons why he’s not a cop anymore. Hank is flawed.
Exactly. We get into it later, what actually happened that ended his career, and it gets pretty heavy. This cop and this robber became friends and hooked up again in the future. I’m partial to Hank, of course, but he pulls some d–kish maneuvers certainly with his ex-wife’s husband-to-be. He’s prone to foibles.
What do you think Hank and Britt need from each other that they work together?
I think its like ‘Marty‘ [the 1955 film starring Ernest Borgnine] – they just need each other, man. That’s the most significant and fulfilling relationship in their lives. Even though Hank is very much in support of Britt’s relationship with his girl, and Hank really wants to have his relationship with his wife back, these guys can provide a lot of stuff for each other without judgment. They’re very important to each other – especially by the end [of Season 1].
Watch this video clip for a taste of ‘Terriers,’ then read on for more from Logue:
Do you have any films in the pipeline coming out soon?
I have a film that I love a lot called ‘Oliver Sherman,’ and it’s an unabashedly unapologetic dark-ass little movie about two war vets. It’s with Garret Dillahunt (‘Deadwood’), who’s amazing in it, Molly Parker (‘Deadwood’) and myself. That’s premiering in Toronto right after ‘Terriers’ premieres. And I adapted ‘Big Sur,’ the Jack Kerouac novel, I’ve got another movie cooking up that I’m producing…. I’m staying busy!
Last question: If you could have extended the longevity of any one of your past TV shows, which would you choose?
I would say ‘1%,’ a pilot I did at HBO about bikers. It happened around the same time that ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ was [in development]. Michael Tolkin wrote it, Alan Taylor directed, we had a fantastic group of actors…. Also, ‘Knights of Prosperity‘ at ABC was a really fun show. I’ve rarely spent that kind of time laughing on a set. But I feel like everything organically has its life. Sometimes it’s a little disappointing to walk away, but in the disappointment of something like ‘1%’ comes the possibility to do things like ‘Terriers.’
Right – if ‘Knights Of Prosperity’ runs too long, maybe Sofia Vergara never finds ‘Modern Family.’
And thank god that [since departed ABC entertainment president] Steven McPherson kept her in the mix. He was a real champion for Sofia, and it’s just a lot of fun to see her doing well. She is one the coolest people, a really, really amazing woman.