TV, eh?’s Adam Langton interviewed Agam Darshi, Canadian-raised actor from shows such as The L Word, Dan for Mayor and Sanctuary. Now, Darshi is filming CTV’s new crime drama Played, where she plays Khali Bhatt, a member of a unique team of law enforcement officers.
Played is billed as a crime drama but of course that doesn’t quite tell the whole story — there’s a twist to this concept that sets Played apart from other police series. Do you want to tell us a bit about that?
Basically it’s about undercover cops, which is something that we don’t get to see too much on TV. So it is a crime drama but it takes things to a more personal level because we have these cops who are using their own lives, pretending to be other people, and they try to catch the bad guys from that angle. So it’s pretty interesting and speaks to a deeper level.
Is that even more interesting to you as an actor, playing a character that also has to act and do these undercover things?
Definitely, yes. In some ways you get to be lots of different people. The really cool thing about this series is that they have kept a level of realism. So we’re not just like suddenly changing ourselves and immediately walking into a situation as someone completely different. There’s an element of ourselves that we have to bring to every situation, which is what undercover officers have to do in real life. But at the same time, we still get to change enough that, say, if you’re an introverted person in real life but you have to play the crazy party-girl, then that’s what you have to do. So it’s fun to be able to change it up every week and to play this part.
That sounds very fun for the viewing audience, as well! So: what can you tell us about your character Khali Bhatt?
Khali is sort of the tech genius; she’s tech support for the group. She’s young, she’s pretty hip and has this side of her where she’s very outgoing. But she was raised in a fairly traditional Indian family. That’s what’s most interesting about Khali: in some ways when she goes back home, she’s undercover–she’s not really herself and she has to play a more traditional role. But when she’s out in the real world with her coworkers she gets to kind of relax, let loose, and be the person that she truly is. A little bit more wild, a little bit more free-spirited.
Also, in the press release, they describe your character as “honest.” That immediately piqued my interest because she’s part of a group of con artists, in a way. How do you reconcile playing an honest character that has this inherently dishonest job?
That’s a very good question. Yes, she’s considered the truth-teller. She’s early twenties and she has this sort of bold way about her where she’s able to kind of be insensitive, whereas other people might find a more diplomatic way of going about saying it or doing it. She’s kind of an “ask before you think” kind of character in some ways. So I see that as where her honesty comes from. That sort of freedom that you have when you’re early twenties, that freedom to do and say what you think without really thinking about it first.
You’re best known to TV fans as the fan-favourite character Kate Freelander on Sanctuary. Although Played is a completely different series from Sanctuary by nature, is there anything that Kate and Khali have in common? Or has this been a complete departure for you?
There are definitely some similarities to them. I think it comes back to that honesty: Kate was a very honest character, despite being also somewhat of a con artist (laughs). She was bold in what she said and the things that she did, that’s true for both characters.
Are those traits something that you yourself have in common with these characters?
I definitely think I’m honest but I don’t know if I’m as bold as they are. I go, probably, the more polite route (laughs). If you know me, the people closest to me would tell you that I can be fairly blunt and bold with the things that I say and do but I’m definitely not as quick to share that part of myself. I’d rather be more polite about it. So I guess in a way, Khali and Kate tend more to a deeper part of myself that I don’t always like to show people, because on the surface I can seem opposite to them, if that makes sense.
And that probably makes it even more fun to play them while you’re on set.
Yeah, for sure!
With Played you’re a part of an ensemble cast of very talented actors. Can you tell us a bit about how the team is coming together, working with the team so far and how it’s going?
It’s definitely raised the bar, because they are so talented. The scripts are amazing and ambitious in the sense that we have a certain amount of time to get everything that we have to fit in an episode and as a result you always have to be on your A-game. You have to know exactly what you need to do as an actor. Sometimes you don’t necessarily have the ability to shoot take after take after take. I’m working with a bunch of total pros. Everybody has been really great, they’ve all been bringing their A-game every day, every episode. They’re all creating characters that I find very interesting. We’re in the fourth episode, that’s where we’re shooting, and we’re really beginning to see this great development of the characters. From the pilot, on the page, they’re wonderfully written but now by this episode we’re starting to see them really come to life and, you know, how they’re sort of shifting and growing. I couldn’t be happier with the group of actors that I’m with. Every single person is so well-cast and brings something so specific and neat to the character, it’s really exciting.
That sounds great. To leave us off: what can you tell us and our readers in order to whet our appetites for Played? What can we look forward to from these episodes that you’re filming?
What’s great about the episodes is that there’s something different in each one. Because we’re working with an ensemble cast, each cast member will appeal to different people and each cast member and each character has their own episode where they really get to shine. You really get to see an arc for each person, where they each come face to face with their deepest, darkest secrets and the thing that most challenges them. Which is really cool, to be able to have that. It lets you kind of dig deeper with each character. So I think audiences will really connect more and more as the season progresses–we’ll get to learn what the characters are going through and we’ll see them in a different light by the end of the season. Does that make sense? (laughs)
Absolutely, you’re saying the show rewards the viewers for tuning in every week, that’s fantastic.
Yes, exactly. You’ll have a favourite character and you’ll get to see the episode where they really get to shine and where they’re face to face with their biggest challenge. So it’s fun because each character really has that opportunity.
That sounds great — I really appreciate you taking the time to chat and I’m sure our readers do too.
Great, thanks so much.