For a guy whose first IMDB credit was 10 years ago, Romaine Waite has amassed an impressive resumé. Roles on The Strain, Rogue and Heroes Reborn segued into Murdoch Mysteries, Schitt’s Creek, Private Eyes, The Mist and Star Trek: Discovery.
Frankie Drake Mysteries fans will recognize Waite as Bill Peters, who has a serious thing for Trudy. A janitor at Toronto’s city hall, he has access to files most don’t, a fact Trudy has taken advantage of in the past. We spoke to Waite about the Bill and Trudy relationship, his varied roles and … his favourite game shows of all time.
You’re on Frankie Drake Mysteries, which I watch religiously every week. And I love the character of Bill Peters. I love the relationship that he has with Trudy. But before we get into that, you were on Murdoch Mysteries.
Romaine Waite: Yes, yes I was. A few seasons ago, actually. I think it was Season 9. It was my first kind of introduction to Canadian audiences, the Canadian television industry, and it was definitely a nice introduction being on, obviously, the longstanding show that is Murdoch Mysteries and having a lot of my scenes with Yannick and the rest of the gang.
Looking at your body of work in Canadian television we have Schitt’s Creek, Private Eyes, Little Dog. A really nice mix of diverse roles and diverse shows, kind of all over the map. What’s it like jumping from show to show and then being on a show like Star Trek: Discovery, which I mean, you can’t get any kind of more out there and creative than a show like that.
RW: Oh man. The way you listed them off, you really make me sound like a veteran, which is far from the truth. I’m still growing, I’m still learning and as far as I’m concerned I’m still very green in the industry. But to answer your question, it’s an actor’s dream to be able to bounce from one role to the next and different worlds, different characters, different casts, that’s the excitement. That’s what kind of keeps that energy, keeps that spark that I think most actors start with when they begin their journey. I’ve been privileged. All the ones you named, all the way up to Little Dog, to Frankie Drake have all been great learning experiences for me as an actor and just a person actually, just meeting these different people, different locations has been great.
When it came to landing the role of Bill Peters on Frankie Drake Mysteries, did you audition or did you have your foot in the door with Shaftsbury because you’d been on Murdoch?
RW: I didn’t audition. I’m not sure why I didn’t end up auditioning, but thankfully I got the role regardless. But I believe it’s because someone put in a good word for me and that person I think will remain nameless for the time being. And you are right. It was because of the Murdoch episode and it’s somebody tied to that episode. So I’m thankful, very thankful for that individual that kind of brought my name to the table and the fact that the network actually agreed and said yeah, that this individual would be great for the show. It just really warmed my heart so to speak. And I know that might sound cliché, but it really did. Because a lot of times as actors we don’t get a lot of feedback in terms of that audition process. You kind of do an audition and you hope for the best and if you get it, that’s the only real indication that you did well. Otherwise, you don’t know. So to have something like this take place was just a really good validation for me that, ‘OK, you’re heading in the right direction.’ So I’m truly grateful for that opportunity and what’s come of it.
How many episodes are you in, in this third season of Frankie Drake Mysteries?
RW: I’m in two episodes this season. I was supposed to be in three. But some scheduling conflicts occurred so I wasn’t able to get in for the third one, which kind of hurt me a little bit. I won’t lie. I missed it. But yeah two still wonderful episodes that I was able to participate in.
I speak to actors and actresses and on a show like Frankie Drake Mysteries, putting on the clothing helps you with that role. I’m imagining Bill’s suits are wool.
RW: Definitely wool. Definitely warm. But it’s all a part of the aesthetic, you know? And that’s a big appeal for the show. Not only for I think the actors, but also the audience watching it. When you want to talk about really transporting yourself into another world and another time period, the aesthetic is key. Before you even get into the dialogue and the character development, it’s what you see. So being in those suits definitely helps with that aesthetic. It helps with weight loss. Keeps you warm. You sweat it out. It’s a beautiful thing.
Let’s discuss the relationship Bill has with Trudy. From the get-go, we knew that there was a spark between them. What can you say about their relationship in the episodes that you’re in this third season?
RW: Their relationship is really interesting because although we don’t know much about Bill Peters yet, I mean he does have a sister. We kind of touched on that in the earlier seasons. And he is a church-going guy. But you really learn about him through his relationship with Trudy. You can tell that he’s a generous guy. You can tell that he’s honest and even sometimes naïve. But in terms of that growth in the relationship, I think early on he was a little bit naïve kind of getting into this world of private investigation and getting tidbits here and there from Trudy.
And then as we go through Season 2 into Season 3, we start to see his confidence gain a little bit in terms of getting involved in what’s happening and also his confidence with Trudy kind of raises a little bit too in terms of how he approaches her and how he talks to her, in terms of just getting comfortable being with her. It’s definitely grown. It’s definitely changed. What I can say is that—and I hope I don’t get in trouble for this—but the M-word was mentioned in terms of their relationship. Now where that goes, I don’t know because things can always change. But within the context of their relationship, that word did come up. So I’ll leave that there.
How did watching game shows become part of your bio?
RW: It’s a weird thing and I don’t know if I’m regretting putting that in there. But it’s just one of those things that happened. I remember watching The Price is Right with my mom back in the day and it just kind of stuck with me. And I have this weird theory. Bear with me here.
I feel like game shows are the last kind of real reality show that we have in the sense that you genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen if they’re going to win if they’re going to lose. How they’re going to play the game. Or in the case of Family Feud, how they’re going to answer the question. It’s genuine. And I think for me, watching a lot of film and television, sometimes I find myself kind of predicting things and not kind of really being in the moment when watching the show. But with game shows, I can’t predict it. And I think I kind of enjoy that element of it. It’s just you watching people win and having a good time. I don’t know it really just… I guess just makes me happy. I like the energy.
And on a side note, The Price is Right and Let’s Make a Deal are probably my favourites. Just going to put that out there. I’m testing my knowledge on grocery items on The Price is Right. And definitely kind of going on YouTube and watching some of the older stuff as well.
Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.