The BFTV Interview: Mary Mouser

Body of Proof

Body of Proof

ABC’s Body of Proof has been on a roll with its reinvigorated third season – so BFTV checked in with Mary Mouser, who plays Dr. Megan Hunt’s daughter Lacey Fleming, to see how different the show really seems and if the cast has any idea whether or not ABC is going to bring the show back for another season.

Season three has been a time of change for fans, with the exit of some cast members, the addition of others and some rather unique plots, but Mary said it doesn’t feel like a different series. “To me I guess it really doesn’t,” she told us. “It does when I’m watching it, but even with the new cast members it automatically felt like home. It felt like family.

“It’s been so cool having the new cast members [Mark Valley and Elyes Gabel],” she continued. “I was kind of nervous at first. I was expecting them to be great, but they’ve been above and beyond – to work with, to watch work, and to get to know as people.”

Something else new this season is the mystery surrounding the death of Lacey’s grandfather, which was thought to be a suicide but now looks like murder. Does Mary know who the culprit is? “I get the scripts, even the episodes I’m not in, [but] I purposely made myself not read the answer,” she confided. “I’m going to be waiting to see like everyone else!”

And although playing the daughter of the main character means that she doesn’t get to solve murders or bust bad guys, Mary’s still found a way to be part of the action – Lacey was kidnapped in the third-season premiere (which featured Southland‘s Shawn Hatosy as one of her kidnappers). “I think getting kidnapped was really fun,” Mary said with a laugh, adding that she also enjoys poking around Megan’s office. “I like getting involved in the action. I’d have a lot of fun with Lacey getting into some trouble.”

As we approach the end of Body of Proof‘s season (the finale is slated to air May 14), there’s one burning question, and that’s if the cult favorite but never quite ratings hit will come back for more. Has Mary heard anything about whether or not she’ll be playing Lacey for a fourth season? Not yet, but “With the people that we work with, it’s always a positive atmosphere,” she said. “This past season has been so positive. Everybody’s looking forward, everyone’s excited. Everyone put so much into the season.”

Aside from loving her job, Mary also has a much more personal tie to her character. Like Lacey, Mary is type 1 diabetic, and she’s currently working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Tomorrow night, she’ll be at the JDRF Los Angeles “Finding A Cure: A Love Story Gala,” which helps to raise money for type 1 diabetes research. For more information on the JDRF and tomorrow’s gala, visit the organization’s website.

Body of Proof returns Tuesday, May 7 at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC. You can also keep up with Mary on Twitter (@MaryMMouser).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

‘Body of Proof’ Recap and Review: ‘Committed’

Body of Proof

After a faked death last week, Body of Proof visits a mental hospital this time around, perpetuating the idea that there’s no such thing as a garden-variety murder in TV’s Philadelphia. There’s normally nothing wrong with that, but this particular demise is more like a movie of the week.

A young woman named Renee is found dead in the shower of a psychiatric institution for girls, bringing Megan, Tommy and Tommy’s would-be girlfriend Riley Dunn (guest star Marisa Ramirez) to the scene. Megan can tell Riley has a thing for Tommy, who must be over his all-of one-episode-interest in Riley, because he tells Megan that he’s “saving myself for someone special.” As quickly as the possible love triangle arrived, so has it departed.

Returning to the murder, the hospital’s director is Dr. Derek Malcolm (guest star Craig Bierko, who previously played a romantic rival to Mark Valley’s Brad Chase on Boston Legal), and he’s the usual authority figure who doesn’t want to help the investigation. Another patient named Darby tells Tommy that she saw a man sneaking around the hospital, and also believes that she, not Renee, was the person he wanted to kill. Cue Megan seeing Dr. Malcolm looking on ominously. Tommy’s skeptical, but Megan persuades him to investigate the young woman’s statements anyway, as if he wouldn’t already do so given that it’s his job.

She then meets with her mother (guest star Joanna Cassidy), telling her about the unidentified fingerprint found on her father’s suicide note, and asking to exhume the body. Mom Hunt is still not pleased with Megan’s digging into the past and refuses to provide the necessary signature. The next day, Megan calls in Dr. Charlie Stafford (a returning Luke Perry from “Skin and Bones”), in order to go around her mother. He agrees to see what he can do.

In the lab, Curtis wonders how someone inside a mental hospital got access to a ball peen hammer, which may be the murder weapon. Megan is pulled away from the autopsy to meet with Tommy and Mo Childs (guest star Jude Ciccollella, 24), the detective who investigated the earlier murder of Darby’s sister, Beth. Childs tells them everything he knows about Beth’s still-unsolved case, and asks if they believe there’s a connection between the two. Tommy isn’t sure yet, but the conversation is enough to send him and Megan back to the hospital to ask Dr. Malcolm for permission to interview Darby. This would be a good idea if Darby wasn’t drugged, which sets Megan off on another rant.

One of the CSU technicians tells Tommy that they’ve inspected the heating vent and confirmed that someone’s definitely come through it, which confirms Darby’s story. Once she’s alert enough to talk to them, the young woman says that her mother hired the mysterious man to kill her – because she saw her mother murder her sister and then her mother made her lie about it to the cops. Take a second to wrap your brain around that. “That’s why she sent me here. To shut me up,” Darby continues, going on to insist that her mother pays Dr. Malcolm to keep her quiet, and asking for Tommy and Megan’s help.

Shifting gears, Megan awkwardly runs into Riley in the bathroom, with Riley wanting to know if something is going on between Megan and Tommy. “It’s none of your business,” Megan rightly responds. Riley tells Megan that she did go on that previously mentioned date with Tommy to the Flyers game and just wants to know what to do. Megan tells her, “You do whatever you want.”

She and Tommy then interview Darby’s mother (guest star Sharon Lawrence), by which we mean Megan pokes and prods while Tommy essentially holds down the furniture. The only thing he points out is that she did donate money to the hospital. Darby’s mom lets slip that she told Dr. Malcolm that he could start electroshock therapy. That sends Megan straight back to Dr. Malcolm, feathers ruffled and insisting that she’s going to put a stop to things. She doesn’t need to – Darby attacks Dr. Malcolm and escapes from the hospital, after which the doctor holds Megan responsible.

Megan’s shocked to get a call from Lacey, who tells that Darby has shown up at their apartment. When Megan and Tommy get there, her daughter and the mental patient are playing Scrabble. While Darby gets ready to leave, Megan confesses to Tommy that she sees herself in the young woman. They take her back to the police station and ask her what she remembers about her sister’s murder, and Darby tells them enough for them to obtain a search warrant for her mother’s home, where Megan finds the necklace Darby’s mother was allegedly wearing the night she murdered Beth. It goes back to the lab, where Ethan finds human blood on it that matches Beth.

This means it’s time to haul Darby’s mother into the interrogation room. She admits to destroying evidence, but not to killing her daughter. That, she wants to pin on her other daughter. Tommy and Megan don’t buy this for a second, at least until Ethan says that the substance he found in the heating vent was for muscle aches and pains, not unlike the ones Darby went to the infirmary for before. She was in direct contact with both the vent and Renee’s body, making her the killer.

Tommy calls Megan and sets off to rescue her. Darby figures out that she’s been had and jumps from Megan’s car, flagging down some conveniently placed uniformed cops and claiming that Megan is the crazy one. Being generic cops, the uniforms don’t know who to believe. When Darby seizes the moment and attacks one of them, Megan snags a gun and aims it squarely at her. Things work out okay, though, because the next time we see Darby she’s in interrogation, Tommy has the murder weapon, and there’s a confession just in time to wrap up the show. An insecure Megan tells Tommy to put the past to rest, although she looks on upset after he’s gone.

With only a handful of episodes left in season three, Body of Proof is doing its best to make its case for a fourth run. All the signs of a show on the brink have been here: a significant retooling between cycles, more ‘out there’ plotlines, the addition of an ongoing mystery surrounding Megan’s father’s demise. Normally, when you see moves like that, you have cause to worry about a show (see: Fairly Legal and Human Target, two good series that were upended and then didn’t last past their next seasons). The funny thing is that unlike ninety percent of other shows in this position, most of the changes on Body of Proof are working out. No offense intended to the previous cast members, but Mark Valley and Elyes Gabel (who’s missed in this episode) are strong performers. And while some of the plots this season have been worthy of head-tilting, once you get past whatever it obviously isn’t, they’re entertaining.

“Committed” is, unfortunately, not one of those episodes. It hits the nail squarely on the head, over and over again. From the moment Megan spots him before the opening title, Dr. Malcolm may as well be wearing a sign that says “suspect” on it. There’s absolutely no sublety to his character at all. Likewise for Darby’s mother, who is your usual evasive parent with a secret. These characters don’t feel like people, but stock parts. The only way they could get more one-dimensional is if they’d actually committed the crimes in question. In turn, circling back around to make Darby the killer falls flat, because the other characters are so obvious you can’t help but look for a third option, and she’s the only one.

One also has to wonder about the introduction of Riley Dunn, because if she was intended as a rival for Tommy’s affections, she’s definitely not fulfilling that role. At the end of her first episode, she’s agreeing to go out on a date with Tommy, but by the next episode he’s having drinks with Megan, and tonight makes it pretty clear that Riley’s out of luck. While she’ll be in at least one more installment after this, she isn’t nor has she ever been a legitimate threat to the obviously intended Megan/Tommy relationship. There’s nothing wrong with Marisa Ramirez as an actress, and it might be interesting to have her stick around as a recurring cop character (like, say, Profaci on Law & Order), but the love triangle idea has failed.

Body of Proof is off next week, so we’ll see you in two weeks for a plane crash. It’s still not boring in Philadelphia.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

‘Body of Proof’ Recap and Review: ‘Disappearing Act’

Body of Proof

Watch Body of Proof long enough, and you’ll start to think that there’s never a slow day in Philadelphia. The show’s covered things that look like demonic possession, rabies, and now a possible death that isn’t one.

You have to feel for Tommy Sullivan. He’s had a terrible couple of weeks. Following his being accused of murder last week, he loses a conniving hedge fund manager, Gerry Roberts (that’s Mark Valley’s former Harry’s Law costar Christopher McDonald) that he’s supposed to be protecting. A bystander is killed by the getaway car, too. Then there’s the video where it looks like Roberts is executed. But is it real? Or did this rich guy with a lot of enemies just fake his own death? Only one of these options keeps the episode going longer than seven minutes.

Chief Martin (Lorraine Toussaint, still playing the same one note) takes Tommy and partner Adam to task for Roberts’ apparent death, ordering them to find the killers in order for “something positive” to emerge from the fallout. At the same time, Megan and Ethan examine the bystander killed at the scene of Roberts’ abduction. Her name is Jennifer Sanchez, and she’s one of the people Roberts swindled. When Megan presents this information to the cops, Tommy asks her if Roberts could have faked his death. “Can’t be sure without a body,” Megan admits, while Adam flails. Tommy is now like a dog with a bone. This is a perfect opportunity for him to prove that no fake murder charge is going to keep him down.

Adam visits the FBI to ask their video analysis team to review the death tape, and hears something that tells him which railyard the movie was filmed at. He, Tommy, Megan and Ethan go there and find a burnt car with what’s left of a corpse in the back. The doctors locate a fibula and some dental implants that appear to have survived the blaze, and the DNA matches Roberts, which makes Tommy sulk. At least until Curtis walks in right on cue, and points out that he found a moss in the car’s tire treads that grows in China. Roberts stole quite a bit of money from the Chinese government’s private investment fund. Ethan says they’ve also recovered paint chips that prove Roberts was kidnapped in a consular vehicle. International incident ahoy!

The Chinese consular rep makes a few veiled threats, like most diplomats who appear on procedurals do, and Megan is unimpressed with how Kate handled the situation. This prompts a team huddle that doesn’t last long. Right after Megan tells Tommy to find something, Adam cuts in with “I found something,” and Tommy doesn’t miss a beat in following his partner. It’s a perfect comedic moment. Too bad that means our cops don’t get to see what happens next: back in the lab, after examining Roberts’ dental implants again, Megan officially comes around to Tommy’s theory that Roberts has faked his own death. Score one for Detective Sullivan.

Kate needs a few minutes to process all this information. Chief Martin needs to be quiet. Megan needs to get her mom out of her office. Then there’s Officer Dunn (guest star Marisa Ramirez), Tommy’s other potential love interest, who pops up after being forgotten last week to ask him if he wants to go to a basketball game. He politely declines, after which Adam calls Tommy out for making up an excuse, so the senior detective reveals to his partner that he and Megan “turned a corner” when they went out for drinks the second time. Adam wants details, but can’t manage to get any.

Their analysis of Tommy’s romantic life comes to an abrupt end when they notice the good samaritan who tried to help save Jennifer in surveillance video shot in the lobby of Roberts’ apartment building. The mystery man is forensic pathologist Dr. Colin Olsson (guest star Dennis Boutsikaris), who also comes up as technically deceased. “Clearly he’s good at this,” Megan deadpans.

With Tommy looking on from across the hall, Megan chats with Olsson’s widow Ruth (guest star Robyn Lively, whom you might recognize from her role as Vivian Blackadder in the pilot of NCIS) in hopes of learning information that will help the detectives track down the doctor. The only fact she really gets is that he was addicted to online poker. When Adam takes the website to his new friends at the FBI, they’re able to pull account information that ultimately leads to a hotel room…which is where the cops locate Olsson and tackle him to the floor.

In interrogation, they confront him with his true identity (and all of his fake ones). When Tommy brings up his wife, it strikes a nerve with Olsson, who declares that “faking my death was the only way out” of his old life and starts talking how he’s now got an enterprise helping others do the same. After a staredown with Tommy, Olsson apparently cracks – as that’s the last we see of him and the cops are now on the hunt for Roberts. Tommy, Adam and Megan walk in just as he’s preparing to go under the plastic surgery knife. Now not only is he going to finish standing trial for his original charges, and they have a line on the money he stole in the first place, but he’s also got the death of Jennifer Sanchez to answer for.

Oh, and Megan informs Olsson’s wife that he’s not dead – just arrested. Understandably, she explodes, slapping her husband before storming off. “She’ll be okay, right?” Tommy comments after the blow-up, adding that he’s worried about Megan. The lab results from her father’s suicide note are due to come in that night. “You may not get the answer you want,” he warns her, and later personally delivers the paperwork to her apartment. There’s a partial foreign fingerprint on the note. “I know whose fingerprint it is,” she tells him. “It’s my father’s killer.” Ominous blackout. Chew on that for a week.

“Disappearing Act” continues Body of Proof‘s streak of setups that are a little out there compared to the ones you’d find on other procedurals, and like some of those earlier episodes, parts of it work and parts of it don’t. It’s perhaps more obvious than it should be that Roberts faked his own death; if he didn’t, there’s no show. Just like in “Skin and Bones,” we knew there weren’t really zombies, because we weren’t watching The Walking Dead. In that sense, these false pretenses seem like diversions more than anything else.

Having said that, the opening of this episode was still pretty entertaining to watch, even knowing what was coming. The same goes for the conclusion, too. Christopher McDonald has kind of developed a niche playing the smarmy guy who rubs you the wrong way, and he does it again here (although, to be fair, it’s worth noting that both he and Mark Valley have voiced Superman in DC animated projects – McDonald in Batman Beyond and Valley in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Part 2 – so McDonald can play a hero as well). This episode’s intrigue comes not from the “what” but the “how,” trying to deduce where Megan and Tommy are going to find enough evidence to peg the bad guys. Throw in some actors who are familiar faces to TV audiences, and it’s a good, solid way to spend an hour, even if it’s not novel.

It’s nice to see the continued development of the partnership between Tommy and Adam, whose banter and timing seems to improve with every installment, like what you’d really expect from a new team. The show has done a fine job of integrating two new characters into the ensemble, and should Body of Proof go to a season four, it will be interesting to see how they further develop with tenure.

There’s less certainty when it comes to the recurring storylines, like Kate’s political ambitions and even the mystery surrounding Megan’s father’s death. The true evaluation of those plots is going to come when all is revealed and we know if it makes sense for the characters and what it means for the show. Right now, there’s not enough to even generate too much suspense in either category. Who didn’t expect evidence corroborating Megan’s suspicions to be found? Audiences will have to wait and see if these journeys were worth taking. Yet if nothing else, Body of Proof‘s third season has been worth it because it’s found a new dynamic that’s just as entertaining, in its own way, as the one that audiences loved before.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

‘Body of Proof’ Recap and Review: ‘Doubting Tommy’

Body of Proof

It’s about time that Body of Proof got around to a Mark Valley centric episode. After all, he’s certainly deserving of one. While “Doubting Tommy” stretches plausibility a bit, it’s proof that when you put a script into the hands of a good actor, good things almost always happen.

The episode begins with an unlucky guy meeting his demise via baseball bat, and then cuts to Megan testifying in the subsequent murder trial. After her evidence is given, Tommy is called to the stand, and is cross-examined by the defense attorney, and asked about his “gut feeling” regarding the case. He admits that he still has doubts about the suspect’s guilt, which doesn’t make him popular with Megan. His response to her annoyance is to suggest they have a few drinks – and even though she rebuffs him initially, once he calls her scared, they end up at a bar together rehashing their past. One wonders what happened between Tommy and the cop he invited out to the hockey game last week?

But Megan is about to be the least of Tommy’s problems. She leaves him to pine, then apparently changes her mind and comes back, only to see him being aggressively flirted with by your average blond bar girl. This sours Megan on whatever she was thinking, and the next day, she’s her usual cranky self.

She arrives at a fresh crime scene, and given what she saw the night before, isn’t worried when only Adam meets her, and asks if she’s heard from Tommy. What shocks Megan is discovering that the victim is the blond bar girl, who she deduces was strangled sometime the night before. Uh-oh. The good Dr. Hunt quickly gets Adam up to speed on what might have happened, only for them to subsequently discover Tommy passed out nearby, claiming that he doesn’t remember anything. Yep, this is that episode where one of the main characters gets fingered for something they may or may not have done. Yet when the actor at the center of the plot is Mark Valley, you can expect it to be a whopper of an episode no matter what happens.

Megan gives Tommy a quick once-over as Adam asks him what he does remember. Tommy’s memory only goes as far as Megan leaving the bar and being approached by the victim. “How can this be possible? Was I drugged or something?” he wonders aloud. It comes out that he’d previously interviewed the victim for the case he’d been testifying in the day before, and that the dead girl kept calling him after the fact. While Tommy realizes the enormity of what he’s about to face, Megan deduces that the victim’s murder must therefore something to do with the previous case.

Adam interviews Steve Owen, the suspect in the previous murder, who says that he hasn’t seen the bar girl in awhile, but that she was “infatuated” with Tommy. “Skylar wasn’t used to hearing no,” he continues. No, that doesn’t sound ominous at all.

In the lab, Megan isn’t happy to hear that there’s DNA and fingernail polish that implicates Tommy as Skylar’s murderer, and at the precinct, Tommy’s boss, Chief Angela Martin (played by the fantastic Lorraine Toussaint) is also displeased. She tells him not to leave and warns Adam to get the case resolved as soon as possible. Adam and Tommy talk afterward, with Tommy suggesting they check out the bar’s surveillance tapes. When Adam and Megan do so, they see Tommy leading Skylar from the bar. The lip-reader with them claims that he said “You’re going to regret this.”

A phone call from Ethan brings the two of them back to the lab, where Ethan shows them the recovered murder weapon – a man’s belt – and that epithelials found on it registered another DNA match to Tommy. This is enough to get everyone’s favorite detective formally arrested, while Adam and Megan look on, with Megan visibly upset.

Adam and Megan confer with Tommy again once he’s in custody and ask him to explain the forensic evidence, but of course he can’t. Megan further tells him that his blood work didn’t show any drugs in his system. This makes Tommy finally flip out, and he angrily insists that he isn’t a murderer. But how can they possibly prove it?

Megan returns to her office to find Chief Martin there, and Kate informs her that Martin wants updates on Tommy’s case. “Detective Sullivan may not be the man you think he is,” Martin tells her, going on to say that after they left the club, Tommy and Skylar apparently went to a nightclub where Tommy got into an unprovoked fight with the bouncer.

Furthermore, the case has prompted the NYPD to unseal Tommy’s records there, and the reason why he left New York involves beating a suspect. Martin wants Megan off the case, and Kate informs her that she’s agreed to the request. Megan makes her displeasure known, while Adam begins to wonder if his partner really did crack.

At home, Megan’s mother suggests that her emotions are clouding her judgment, but Lacey encourages her mother not to give up on Tommy. Smart kid, that Lacey Fleming. Unable to sleep that night, Megan places a late-night call to Adam, wanting him to meet her at the nightclub where his partner allegedly fought the bouncer. “I think I can prove Tommy’s innocence,” she tells him.

The two of them arrive at the nightclub and question the bouncer. Megan wants to know all the details of the fight, including the specific location where it took place. She finds a bloodstain on the carpet there and immediately removes a sample – over the bouncer’s objection – in order to see who the blood belongs to and what’s in it. Since it was spilled ten hours earlier and hasn’t had a chance to metabolize, it proves that Tommy was indeed drugged, as he’d suggested. There’s Zolpidem in his system, which explains all of his symptoms.

Adam and Megan are encouraged by the test results, but Kate and Martin remain skeptical, particularly Martin, who seems like she’d rather see Tommy fend for himself. “That woman has an agenda,” Megan tells Kate afterward, revealing her past with Tommy to her boss, who reiterates that she can’t be on the case.

Megan’s response is to bail Tommy out of jail herself, finding the two million dollars to do so, by putting pretty much everything she has up as collateral. She’s also convinced Kate is going to fire her. “I don’t want you to put everything on the line like this,” Tommy tells her. Megan’s only response is that she wants to know what really happened in New York. Tommy finally reveals that his sister died in a hit and run accident, and he lost control with the guy that killed her. That’s the suspect that he beat up.

Satisfied, Megan goes with Tommy back to the nightclub, hoping to jog his memory. He gradually begins to remember things. The woman he’s accused of killing was trying to show him something, possibly regarding the murder case he’d interviewed her for. The two of them go with Adam back to Skylar’s house, where Adam finds a photo in her printer’s cache: Steve Owen in his club at the time he was supposedly committing murder. Skylar had solid evidence to prove Steve’s alibi. “Her killer knew that she was bringing it to you,” Megan tells Tommy, who recalls chasing someone outside. Megan follows Tommy’s direction and finds a fabric sample in the fence that might resemble the one found in Tommy’s belt – also known as the murder weapon.

Tommy pays a visit to Steve’s lawyer, who’s grateful to see evidence proving his client’s innocence. “We have to assume that whoever framed Steve Owen for murder killed her too,” Tommy says. “And framed you in the process,” the lawyer continues. “My understanding is you were arrested for her murder.” Tommy concedes the point, asking to look at all the evidence that was collected.

At the Medical Examiner’s office, Adam and Megan find out from Ethan that the fibers from the fabric found in Tommy’s belt match the ones from the piece she recovered from the fence. Furthermore, the piece Megan found gives them more information beyond that: it’s a glove fragment, and the dust found on the sample proves that it must be a work glove. Adam realizes that they have a problem just as Tommy is ducking to avoid a baseball bat to the back of the head, courtesy of…Steve Owen’s lawyer?

After the lawyer and Tommy get into a fight that ends with Tommy’s use of a nail gun (and which seems like it shouldn’t be quite so even when you consider the participants), Adam and Megan come to Tommy’s rescue. Megan watches as Adam and Tommy interrogate the lawyer and explain his whole master plan to him. “I want you to know that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that you never see the light of day again,” Tommy promises him, just before the lawyer asks for a lawyer.

With that, it’s case mercifully closed. Tommy is exonerated, Steve is freed, and Kate apologizes to Megan, before Tommy and Megan resume bantering with one another without missing a beat. She agrees to go have drinks with him again, though she also advises him to stop talking while he’s ahead.

“Doubting Tommy” will not go down in history as one of the most suspenseful Body of Proof episodes – one needs only to remember that Mark Valley is a series regular to know that Tommy Sullivan’s name will be cleared by the end of the hour – and its plot definitely calls for some suspension of disbelief, to keep up with all its twists and turns. But there are a quite a few things to love about this installment, which is ultimately satisfying.

As previously mentioned, it’s always a pleasure when an episode centers around a strong actor, and Mark Valley is definitely one of those actors. This is a wonderful installment for him, whether it’s adding some vital new facts to his backstory, or just getting to watch him play Tommy from a position of weakness rather than strength. By that same token, Tommy’s being the accused also means more screen time for Adam, and Elyes Gabel really makes the most of the material. We haven’t gotten to know Adam too well just yet, but this episode helps to remedy that, showing us the trust that does exist between these two guys even though they haven’t been working together for a particularly long period of time.

It’s also nice to see Megan toned down a bit here. In other episodes this season, her usual snarkiness has more than once come off as downright mean, and as a result she’s become a little less likeable in season three as opposed to the previous two. However, there’s none of that here, and it allows the audience to see Megan underneath all that bravado once more. It’s a reminder that Dana Delany is a wonderful actress, and Megan is more than just a fabulous wardrobe and witty comments. Conversely, the episode pretty much wastes Lorraine Toussaint by making her character so one-dimensional. Toussaint is a great actress, perhaps the best to play a defense attorney in the entire twenty years of Law & Order, and the material she’s given couldn’t be more heavy-handed.

While not a flawless episode by any means, “Doubting Tommy” gives the Body of Proof ensemble some interesting new material to chew on, and proves that the series made the right choice in bringing aboard the two new actors that it did – because they’re definitely the right guys for the job.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

The BFTV Interview: Mark Valley

Body of Proof

There’s no greater badass on television than Mark Valley. As previously mentioned, the man has made a career of not only kicking down the door – but also playing characters who are as smart as they are tough, who have depth and nuance to go with their guts, and are never short of something to say. Oh, and he also happens to be one of the truly best guys in the business. Last week, BFTV had the pleasure of reconnecting with Mark to ask him about his new co-starring role on Body of Proof.

Mark is a living example of the saying “you can’t keep a good man down” – he’s never off our screens for very long, and he already looks right at home on the ABC procedural. What drew him to yet another TV series? “It wasn’t so much that I wanted to go back [to TV],” he explained of what interested him about playing veteran detective Tommy Sullivan, “as I wanted to work with Dana Delany, because we’d worked together before [on Pasadena] and had such a good time. And the character, the way they described it to me, sounded like fun. I hadn’t played a cop in awhile.”

Yet Body of Proof, with its focus on Philadelphia medical examiner Megan Hunt (played by Delany), isn’t quite your usual crime drama, either. “The show has a little more action and for a procedural, there’s a little more interaction between characters than I expected. That was a really pleasant surprise,” Mark continued.

It’s his character that’s ignited season three, with Tommy being the catalyst for a reinvigorated series. Not only has Mark brought his wit and perfect comic timing to the table, but one of the big questions of the season has been whether or not Tommy will be able to rekindle his romance with Megan from more than a decade ago. But with Megan constantly turning him down, Tommy may be moving on. Tonight’s episode introduces a new recurring character, Officer Riley Sunn (played by Blue BloodsMarisa Ramirez), who’ll catch the detective’s eye.

“It was really sort of a tough little needle to thread,” Mark revealed, “with bringing in a new person who Tommy’s showing some interest with, because Megan’s just been rejecting him all season. That was a challenge – trying to have him realistically consider a different relationship.”

But whatever happens between him and Megan, Tommy isn’t just present to provide a romantic interest for Body of Proof‘s leading lady; he’s a fully developed character in his own right. This season has already exposed his history with the New York mob, and Mark said that won’t be the only glimpse into what makes the detective tick. “You’ll start to find out some things that happened that brought him to Philadelphia,” he explained. “You’ll start to find out another reason why he left New York – or maybe had to leave New York.”

There are also some intriguing guests ahead for him to deal with, including Christopher McDonald, who starred alongside Mark in NBC’s Harry’s Law, as well as Craig Bierko, and Henry Ian Cusick, who will reprise his role as Trent Marsh, the grief counselor from the season’s eighth episode, “Eye for an Eye.”

No matter who he’s working against, playing the fearless Tommy – who’s already confronted a mob boss and also saved Megan from being shot – is a perfect role for Mark, who’s proven himself beyond capable of taking on roles that call for action. He saved countless lives as Christopher Chance in FOX’s Human Target and even on the network’s Fringe, in which he was dead for periods of time, he still got a good car chase in. If you’re waiting to see him in action on Body of Proof, there’s a little ahead. “There’s a couple,” he said when asked if audiences will get to see him in any action sequences. “It’s mostly police stuff.”

“In this show, I really tried to focus on being a little more of a realistic cop,” he continued, crediting the show’s technical advisor, Chic Daniel, who also fills the same role on TNT’s Southland. “I’ve taken some pride this season in that Elyes [Gabel, who plays Tommy’s partner, Detective Adam Schaeffer] and I have tried to be realistic.”

Given his resume, it seems like Mark can do anything he tries to. Aside from lighting up the screen on Body of Proof, he’s done comedy (Keen Eddie), sci-fi (Fringe), delivered the definitive version of a comic book character (Human Target), and proven that you can be memorable even when you show up at the end of a movie (Zero Dark Thirty). He’s not only talented, but incredibly versatile. For the Body of Proof fans who have yet to crack his filmography, where would he recommend that they begin?

“I’d say if you want to have an enjoyable weekend, rent the Human Target DVD. Pasadena was pretty cool with Dana and I,” Mark said. “But I’d really like people just to look ahead in this series.” With how he continues to be one of the most reliable – and it’s worth saying again, badass – actors on television, Mark definitely gives us a lot to look forward to.

Body of Proof is new tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC; catch a sneak peek of the episode below. For more on Mark Valley, you can read the BFTV profile on this fantastic actor. You can also follow him on Twitter (@yesmarkvalley).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

The BFTV Interview: Windell Middlebrooks

Body of Proof

ABC’s Body of Proof has been re-energized in its third season, and of all its interesting characters, there’s none more entertaining than the blustery Curtis Brumfield, played perfectly by Windell Middlebrooks. BFTV had the pleasure of chatting with Windell recently about the revamped show, working with his leading ladies, and what he gets recognized more for – playing Curtis or those Miller High Life commercials.

“We’re not just a procedural,” he said, ruminating on what’s made Body of Proof develop a passionate fanbase. “You get the cases and we’re solving them, but from the beginning the audience got to connect with these characters. We have such an emotional life and it’s so relationship-based that they watch to see not just what the case is, but they want to see the drama within the office, with each other. You wonder what a medical examiner does, you wonder what their life is outside of the office, what are their struggle emotionally and how do they handle it. With Curtis, I kind of built up on that from not only the writing, but we also went and we got to meet with doctors and talk with them. A lot of us kind of took that and then took a part of ourselves and built these characters.”

The best part of his job? That’d be “The characters I get to work with,” he continued. “It was a special situation where we shot the pilot in Providence, and then when [the series] got picked up, we all had to move to Providence for a year and we shot in Warwick. We kind of bonded on a different level because we were all we had. I think that bond kind of carries over to on-camera. We kind of know each other well enough to know who needs what. If Dana [Delany]‘s doing this huge monologue and we’re there in the scene, we know what to give her, and she does the same thing back.”

This season, Windell and the Body of Proof cast have been joined by two new regulars, Mark Valley and Elyes Gabel, both of whom Windell has enjoyed having on the team. “He’s a great guy. We enjoy being on set with him,” he said of former Human Target star Valley. “He has this kind of dry humor. It’s very dry and very subtle, but he will bring it out and he can be a smartass. It’s so brilliant. He’ll say something to get [me] back, and I don’t catch it till I’m like one foot from my trailer.”

As far as what’s still on tap for the remaining episodes of season three, he’s looking forward to Curtis’s interactions with Dr. Kate Murphy (played by Jeri Ryan). “I kind of get to be a support for her, with the whole idea of running for office and all this stuff,” he explained. “Her struggling with the decision, and ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ ‘Have I sold out?’ You get to see some great moments between [Kate] and Curtis. I’m very excited for people to see that softer side of him.”

When it comes to his leading ladies Delany and Ryan, Windell says that he doesn’t think they get enough credit for being both beautiful and talented. “Dana and Jeri are two stunningly amazingly beautiful women, and everybody knows that,” he said. “But they are amazingly talented. I think a lot of times we miss that. You can be beautiful but they don’t rely on that.

“I just love acting with them,” he continued. “I just appreciate that,  really with all my colleagues, but especially with those two ladies.”

His tenure on Body of Proof is the culmination of a lot of hard work for the Texas native, who was bitten by the acting bug in high school, did his undergraduate work at Sterling College and in Kansas, holds a graduate degree from the University of California, Irvine. “I applied to UCI and they take nine students a year,” said Windell, who wasn’t just accepted but also earned a prestigious fellowship as one of the best in his class. “When I got to the grad school level, a lightbulb kind of hit. It’s not a common thing all the time that someone goes and gets a Masters Degree. What really popped was UCI does a showcase at the end of your three years. By going to grad school, you bypass the three to seven year hustle of just trying to be seen. I came out of school with representation across the board. I kind of jumped a few steps in a way.”

Windell went on to build up a resume that’s included guest spots on TV shows like ER, Entourage, Veronica Mars and Scrubs. Aside from Body of Proof, however, his two most notable parts have been the recurring role of Kirby Morris in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life on Deck and his no-nonsense Miller High Life deliveryman character. If you’ve somehow missed those hilarious Miller spots, check one of them out below.

So what role does Windell get noticed for the most? “It depends on the group, literally,” he said with a laugh. “If it’s kids, it’s Suite Life. Then I was walking in New York just about two weeks ago, and it was an older couple and they were like ‘Curtis, tell Dana we love the show.’ But college guys and people who watch sports, they’re like ‘We’re living the high life!'”

One could argue that so, too, is Windell himself – and it couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy. He might have the bluster down pat for all those scenes in the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, but off-screen, he’s one of the coolest, most fun to be around folks working today. It’s impossible not to smile when you’re talking to him. With Windell’s positive energy, Body of Proof should keep going strong for a long time to come.

Body of Proof is all-new tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC. You can also keep up with Windell via his official website or on Twitter (@Windell4Real).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Tim DeKay Visits ABC’s ‘Body of Proof’

Body of ProofTim DeKay will be on two different shows at the same time tonight. As the White Collar season finale airs on USA, the veteran actor is also guest-starring on an all-new Body of Proof on ABC.

The White Collar season finale is called “In The Wind,” and DeKay’s FBI agent Peter Burke is still dealing with a suspicious new boss (guest star Emily Procter, CSI: Miami) when he gets a call from his old supervisor, Reese Hughes (James Rebhorn), who isn’t going quietly into retirement. As the hunt for the elusive evidence box comes to an end, Peter has a chance to nab corrupt Senator Pratt (guest star Titus Welliver, The Good Wife), but other people’s choices also put him into a world of trouble. In true White Collar fashion, the end of the season also means the beginning of another chapter.

Still, it’s better than dealing with the Devil. “Lost Souls” is the title of the Body of Proof episode, in which DeKay plays Caleb Banks, a man who’s in hot water following the death of his daughter Rebecca. When Dr. Megan Hunt (series star Dana Delany) and her colleagues investigate, everything points to a case of severe child abuse. Yet Caleb and his wife Laura (Margaret Easley) insist that their child was killed after being possessed by Satan, and Laura begs for Dr. Hunt’s help to protect the couple’s surviving daughter from the same fate. It’s a completely different role for the actor, and folks who are only aware of him as the warm, witty Agent Burke are likely to be surprised.

It’s not DeKay’s first guest appearance during the run of White Collar, though it is the first to air at the same time as new episodes of the USA series. In 2011, he appeared as on NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles in the episode “Silver Lake,” as the husband of a rape-murder victim, and was seen in the third season of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland the next year. Also in 2012, DeKay took on the role of Kieran Ryker on Chuck, the action-comedy on which his White Collar co-star Matt Bomer had the recurring role of Bryce Larkin.

White Collar airs on USA and Body of Proof airs on ABC, both at 10 PM ET/PT.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.