FBI: MOST WANTED's Julian McMahon on the Evolution of the Fugitive Task Force Team - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FBI: MOST WANTED’s Julian McMahon on the Evolution of the Fugitive Task Force Team

November 2, 2021 by  

FBI MOST WANTED season 3 cast

“Unhinged” – After a deadly fire at an arcade, the team discovers the blaze was just the first step in an intricate plan to exact revenge on one of the victims. Also, Hana rejoins the team, finding new adjustments in all aspects of her life, on the CBS Original series FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesday, Nov. 2 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Pictured (L-R) Alexa Davalos as Special Agent Kristin Gaines, Miguel Gomez as Special Agent Ivan Ortiz, Roxy Sternberg as Special Agent Sheryll Barnes, Julian McMahon as Supervisory Special Agent Jess LaCroix and Keisha Castle-Hughes as Special Agent Hana Gibson
Photo: Mark Schäfer/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Hana (Keisha Castle-Hughes) returns to the Fugitive Task Force on the Tuesday, November 2 episode of FBI: MOST WANTED, and things have changed quite a bit in her absence.

Gone is Crosby (Kellan Lutz), who was injured and is still recovering; in is Kristin (Alexa Davalos), who transferred in from Florida. But it’s just the latest change to the FTF over the show’s three seasons, which also saw Clinton (Nathaniel Arcand) exit and Ortiz (Miguel Gomez) come aboard in season 2.

“It’s an interesting thing,” Julian McMahon, who plays boss Jess LaCroix, says of the evolving team dynamic. “When we developed the original core group of the show, this very tight family type thing, I’d always said that there were two families on the show: one was, at that period of time, was Jess’ family, which is Tali, [brother-in-law Clinton,] and everything that grows from that. And then there’s the FBI family, which is the five guys and girls who go out and hunt the bad guys.”

“So we kind of connected on that level; I think we connected on that level as actors, and also as characters,” he continues. “Our show kind of mimics the real life of what we’re doing—these five people spending a lot of time together, traveling to unique locations. So the actual concept of the show suits exactly the way that we shoot the show. And so we develop that kind of relationship, on and off the screen, and then when it starts to change, you realize things.”

As the lead of the series—and the on-screen team—“it’s also a fascinating thing as a person, but it’s also fascinating from the character[’s perspective],” McMahon says. “So what I wanted to do is relate one to the other. So, how do you do it as an actor? How do you you feel comfortable with somebody coming into your set, and immersing themselves in that way? And it’s been an interesting thing, because you have to—and I think this kind of relates to Jess, too—allow people to have the room to be able to find their feet. Plus, you have to be able to support them.”

With decades of television experience under his belt (including NIP/TUCK and CHARMED), McMahon is very aware of how delicate the process of changing a team—on-screen and off—can be.

“You can’t force them into a family that they haven’t been in,” he says. “That’s not good for anybody. And so you have to allow them to figure their way out, at the same time, try to massage it in the right direction—and also be conscious that the team who was there previously are not negatively affected.”

“With both Miguel’s and Alexis’ characters you have to give them a room to be able to find [their place],” he continues. “And it’s an interesting balance and one I’m still interested in developing. And I didn’t want to develop it too quickly. Because with 22 episodes, I didn’t want it to be everything was a bed of roses to begin with and everything went perfectly and smoothly [from the start], because we can develop, we can learn, we can evolve, we can massage those relationships and see how they fit. I think it’s a real fascinating thing to be the Jess character in that environment and watch those pieces of the puzzle come together.”

As the characters are frequently in life or death situations, how to utilize each new person’s skill set—and not lose what former team members brought to the equation—has also been something the creative team has been conscious of.

“With the Ortiz character, he had his own battles of how to come in and [Jess] wanted him to find those things,” McMahon notes. “At the end of the day, you need to know that person next to you is going to be there for you, no matter what. And that’s another thing that we wanted to maintain consistency, because Jess has this thing where he talks to the bad guys, and in order to do that, you have to be covered by your guys. You have to feel comfortable. Originally when we had Nathaniel who [played] this sharp shooter guy, no matter what, I knew I was taken care of. So that was one thing I kept pushing. As we developed and he left and Miguel came on the show, his character started developing into the sharp-shooting. We pushed that part of his character and that part of his expertise. It’s really been an interesting thing to evolve.”

Equally as changed over the years has been Jess’ home life. While his daughter, Tali (YaYa Gosselin), has remained a constant, he’s had to balance a still-new romance with Sarah (Jen Landon), as well as the return of his father, Byron (Terry O’Quinn) last season.

“You’ve got Jess, whose day to day life is such a struggle,” McMahon says with a laugh. “It’s so difficult, it’s so intense; you just want to come home to a happy house. [And] oh my God, I feel so bad for Sarah. She’s at home, after this catastrophe, with this kid, literally taking care of the day-to-day operations of how that family operates…it’s a really interesting dynamic that we’ve kind of developed there between the threads [of the procedural storytelling]. I’m not sure exactly how we’re going to continue that, but I think it’s a great, it’s an interesting kind of family dynamic, and a struggle that I’d like to dig into if we can.”

And with Byron’s upcoming return, McMahon is just excited to reunite with his on-screen dad.

“I love working with Terry,” he gushes. “Whatever happens, it’s just so much fun working with that guy. Whether it’s good or bad, fun or ugly, whatever it is, it’s all good. The fun thing for me, as an actor, is getting to work with Terry. Everybody knows him and how talented he is.”

“I loved that episode we had last year, the [Byron] wedding episode,” he continues. “I thought that was one of my favorite episodes. They dedicated the whole last quarter of the episodes of that wedding; I thought that was just so cool. And then the stuff we had before with the troubles between the two of them, I just thought that was a great way to indicate a father-son relationship, and the struggles that you may go through and then the repairing of that relationship. I’m hoping that there’s more of both.”

FBI: MOST WANTED, Tuesdays, 10/9c, CBS


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