Interview: Played’s Dwain Murphy on being “the bark”

"Played" Ep 101 Day 01

CTV’s new undercover cop drama Played airs Thursdays at 10 pm. TV, eh?’s Adam Langton spoke with Dwain Murphy about the brotherhood of cops and actors that make up the show.

AL: On Played you play Daniel Price, a member of a very elite covert team. I was wondering: how much has that team atmosphere come into play between the ensemble cast that you have collected on this show?

DM: Oh man, we’re a family at the end of the day. Cops in real life are a brotherhood and I think that when we first all met on set it was immediately great. There aren’t a lot of times when actors immediately click like that right away, on a personal level before you even get to the work. You have to connect on a personal level and then you have to take that into the work and make that connection. It was such an easy transition because we all actually, genuinely liked each other—and still do, even after five months of filming. That made it an easy transition, that was the great part about it.

AL: Working in such a big ensemble cast of talented people, was it reminiscent of maybe theatre days, more so than TV?

DM: Probably, yeah. I mean I worked with a theatre company as a stage manager’s assistant and that’s usually how a cast goes. There’s all of these different moving parts and you have to juggle everyone’s personality, everyone’s working styles. But the beauty is, again, all of the actors have been so great to work with. All the way from Vincent [Walsh] playing lead to Adam Butcher who plays Jesse, the team were just all so easy to get along with and it made the work that much more fun to dive into. We were all waiting to see “what’s this person going to bring to the table? What’s this person going to bring to the table?” so we could all make the scenes spicy and juicy and bring in viewers.

AL: This is a team with very specific skills and Price is described as the Confidence Man on the team. Did you do any research on Confidence Men or anything specific as part of your preparation here?

DM: Well, for me, when I first read the Daniel Price character, the biggest thing that came across was that this is John Moreland, played by Vincent Walsh’s, right-hand man. He’s a guy who he trusts with his life at the end of the day. We all trust each other but originally the team was just Vincent Walsh (as John Moreland), Lisa Marcos (as Maria Cortez) and Daniel Price. That’s the original team before Chandra West (who plays Rebecca Ellis) brought the others in. We already had a team established, just us three. So the biggest thing that I learned was that Daniel is the guy that John goes to when he’s in a tight situation. Or he could go to Lisa’s character, Maria Cortez. The physical stature is what I wanted to bring across on screen: Daniel is not the guy you wanna mess with. This is the guy that, if John says to bark, I’m the bark. It’s a confident smooth bark—it’s not crazy and erratic, it’s like “okay, you want it to go down, I’m gonna take you down. So don’t even step out of line.” I tried to bring that across on screen, that physical confidence, that mental confidence, that smooth operator kind of vibe.

AL: It’s very clear from the first episode that Price is so loyal to John Moreland and I’m sure that we can look forward to getting a little backstory to that as the season continues.

DM: It’s gonna be great.

AL: So how about the opposite: is there any member of the team that rubs Price the wrong way?

DM: At first, we get introduced to the other half of the team and obviously I’m going in the same direction that Vincent Walsh’s character is going in; I don’t know about this new boss that we have, I don’t know that we can trust her. So I’m following John’s lead like, “if you say it’s okay to trust her, then I’m gonna trust her.” But it’s also the fact that we’re bringing in new team members makes us wonder, are we not good enough? So at first you kind of see that, a little bit of hesitation. Which way is John gonna go with this? It’s all resting on what Vincent Walsh’s character does. We kind of tag along and go the direction he goes because we’re a team at the end of the day.

AL: Without giving too much away, what can we expect from the rest of this season on Played?

DM: The thing about Played is that you aren’t just getting a TV series, you’re getting thirteen mini-movies. Every mini-movie gives you a great action story but the heart of everything is the emotions you’re going to have between the good guys, the bad guys, the good guys’ family members, and how all of those lives can cross over and interfere with each other. It’s a beautiful thing because at any time in the thirteen episodes, you can jump in at any point and not be lost. It’s such an emotional heartstring every single time. Any given day, you can just sit down at night and watch a mini-movie and be entertained, Played is going to give you that.

AL: That sounds great. One last question: as a fellow Toronto Raptors fan, what do you think they need to do to become a playoff team? (laughs)

DM: Honestly, I think they’ve already set the foundation. They’ve put the proper guys on the floor. It’s a matter of seeing where the young talent can go, with what we have. It’s a matter of developing the guys and I think it’s a good direction that they’re going in. I finally feel comfortable saying that we have a young core that’s going to stay; that’s been the problem in the past, we’ve had the young players leave and seek other markets. And I think that guys are slowly beginning to realize that you have a whole country when you play in Toronto, not just the city. There’s no Vancouver team anymore, you have a whole country on your back. And I think that some of the players are beginning to realize “man, I could really dominate a whole market up there.”

AL: Absolutely. Go Raptors, go! Thanks again for taking the time to talk, hopefully a lot of people tune in to Played.

DM: I hope so. I think viewers will be pleasantly surprised with what they come across. I’m excited.