BY: Regina Moore AKA Charlotte Frost




The Richard Burgi Fan Club once offered a video tape that had various things on it concerning TS, including interviews from the set of TSbBS with actors Burgi, Maggart, Young, Galvin, and co-producer Danny Bilson. All the interviews were separate but everyone was pretty much asked the same questions. They took place inside a soundstage on December 1998 when, outside the soundstage, they were filming the street scene from early in TSbBS where Zeller makes his first hit attempt on union boss Jack Bartley. (I know that because of the clothing Anna Galvin and Burgi are wearing.)

Burgi’s interview was split into multiple segments, because he was called away to do filming. In between those first two segments, Garett Maggart’s was conducted, and his is the one I’ve transcribed below. (I’m tentatively intending to do the others at some future point.)

As indicated in the interview, GM has a cold. I’ve seen him on tape in various interviews and filming/rehearsing scenes and he’s always been highly animated and interactive with the people around him. For this interview, he’s much more subdued (but still more animated than the others *g*), surely because of his cold. He has that open-mouth, blank look through most of it. And even though he was chuckling at various points, they weren’t the truly humorous laughs I’ve heard him make in other situations. There’s only one point in this interview where he really seemed to enjoy talking, and that’s when Robert Vaughn was mentioned.

For a lot of his answers, GM was looking thoughtfully off to one side, or toward the ground, more so than at the interviewer; and, all in all, speaking more slowly than I’ve ever heard him speak before.

The interviewer (IN) was a woman who asked questions off camera. Sometimes the questions weren’t very audible. In any event, most of her questions were unnecessarily long-winded, so in almost all cases I’ve paraphrased them in an abridged version rather than quoting exactly.


GM: It’s a joy to be back working, of course. You know, it’s a nice half season so we get to have the second half off. And, you know, and wait and see about another one. It’s great.

IN: What do you think of the fan support to bring the show back? How does that make you feel?

GM: I think it’s great. Their support for the show is evident by the fact that we’re back, obviously. I mean – [pushes hair back with both hands and scratches his scalp] … I suppose that’s sort of redundant for the question that you just asked me. It’s a good feeling and, you know, at the same time it’s kind of scary. You know, the power of the internet and stuff like that… it’s kind of scary. But it’s good. I’ve got a job. [laughs] You know, it’s good.

IN: Did all the letters and stuff take you by surprise?

GM: Yeah, I think it was like five people just sending the same letter over and over again. [laughs] But who knows. [laughs] No, yes, of course it was really exciting and uh, I actually don’t know the counts of letters [scratches head] or phone calls but supposedly they had to put on a new switch person at UPN or something like that, just to handle the-the Sentinel phone calls coming in and stuff because they were tying up the phone lines at the studio.

IN: Do you feel really lucky and does this make it all worth it?

GM: Uh, yeah, of course it makes it all worth it. You know, I mean… ultimately that’s what it’s about if people are watching it. But… my gratification comes on the set, you know, when we’re working and just having fun and stuff. It’s not really…. But… uh… yeah, it’s a good feeling. It’s a good feeling.

IN: Were you aware of what was going on with the letters and ads? What stands out for you?

GM: One of the things that sticks out for me was… a girl named Barb organized everybody to chip in and they took a time out – I mean, they took an ad out in the Hollywood Reporter, I think. I think it was the Hollywood Reporter, and saying, you know, support the show and, you know, they actually gathered money [takes off glasses for the rest of the interview and rubs at his eye] to take an ad out and I don’t know how much money that was, how much that was… but it obviously was quite a bit to take an ad out for something like that. I thought that-that was really nice. Yeah.

IN: Was that gratifying?

GM: Uh, yeah. [rubs eye again] Of course, it’s gratifying. And like I said earlier, it’s also scary at the same time, too. But for the most part it’s – it’s – it’s really wonderful.

IN: Obviously there’s an enormous amount of these people who would be willing to do something like raise money, so the show must mean a lot to them. What have you heard?

GM: I don’t know. I mean, I… I… [speaking slowly and thoughtfully] from the fan base that I see, it’s not the explosions, and it’s not the body counts, and it’s not, you know, the babe of the week… . I think it’s… I don’t know… it’s the friendship between the lead characters… and that they can have guys be friends and not show the sort of… [shrugging emphatically] I don’t know… I don’t know, macho, cop way of dealing with one another. I mean, that there are two guys and they’re both trying to learn from each other and teach each other at the same time. And they… they uh… and they can do that without any… without any… weird feelings. [waving his hand and pushing his hair back to scratch his head] I don’t really now how to put it. But I think for the most part the friendship between the main characters is the attraction. [scratches head] Yeah. [laughs and shrugs in an “I give up” manner].

IN: [approving of his answer]

GM: I did too. [wiggles fingers at his forehead.] I just started fading because I’m sick.

IN: Will we be seeing more of that relationship between Ellison and Sandburg this season?

GM: This season, yeah…there’s… um…. My own personal wish is that there would be more of it. But there’s two or three episodes this year that are predominately between Richard and myself – the two main characters. And uh.… .

IN: [makes reference to having to do the question again because of studio noise, then re-asks if the relationship will be explored more this season]

GM: Yes. Yeah, we will see it explored more. Um… Not to the extent that I would like it to be explored, but it’s still there. You still have to have the explosions and the body count, but… uh… it’s there. And don’t forget Banks either. Ellison, Sandburg, and Banks are the three main characters and… uh… also Connor now. Megan Connor. [pronounces it Meegan]. And hopefully she’ll be put into the mix a little bit more now also.

IN: How did the friendship between Ellison and Sandburg develop? They were basically just thrown together at first.

GM: The basic… basic… premise of the friendship is that it’s two guys ultimately from different worlds and… but… they took different paths to get to the same spot. You know… he’s a more… [makes a fist] by the line, by the book cop. And I’m more of a… well, I’m a scientist… anthropologist… you know, who should be more by the book in certain areas but in other areas he’s sort of… you know, a little bit more earthy, I suppose you could call him. But how did they deal with each other and be able to learn from each other and take the good and the bad from each other’s personalities and… grow from it and… uh… be friends, you know.

IN: Since you and Richard Burgi are such good friends, do you think that chemistry comes across in that you clearly like each other in real life? And that your friendship parallels that between Ellison and Sandburg?

GM: Rich? Who? My friendship with Rich?

IN: Yeah.

GM: I can’t stand him.

IN: [scolding humor] Oh, you can too.

GM: [laughs] I can’t stand the guy. [laughs] No, I’m just kidding. Uh… No, I love Rich. I love everybody on the show. [rubs eye] I love Rich. Love Bruce. Love Anna. I mean, they’re all great people. I love working with them. Um… I don’t really know that—I mean, *our* friendship. No, I don’t think our friendship… [looks thoughtfully toward the ceiling]. I don’t think our friendship parallels that on the show. I mean, it has grown in the same way that… uh… that… I mean, we… Richard and I met at the same time that Jim and Blair met. So… yes, we’ve grown in the last three and a half years at the same way that our characters have. But… so… um… [as though reluctantly giving in because he can’t explain it] yeah, I don’t know, I guess it’s sort of parallel. But we’re very good friends.

IN: With the fans going so crazy over the show and even putting money up, does it put extra pressure on you to deliver the best possible show that you can?

GM: Um…no, that was my attitude from the start. I mean… I want to deliver the best possible show I can from the start. I mean… that’s hopefully why they started to like the show. So no, I haven’t felt any more *added* pressure. I’ve just felt like I keep on doing the same thing I’ve been doing. I don’t like putting pressure on myself. [laughs and shakes head] I don’t perform well.

IN: This season you’ve had some interesting guest stars. When we last spoke you had Jeri Ryan, who everyone knows from Star Trek.

GM: Six of Nine, I think.

IN: Yeah.

GM: Is it Six of Nine? Seven of Eight? Six of Nine? What’s her character’s name?

IN: Six of Nine.

GM: Six of Nine, yeah. Uh, yeah, she came back this year to finish the second part of last year’s cliffhanger. She’s wonderful to work with. I uh… This year I didn’t get to work with her as much as last year. In the season-ending show last year, *our* characters were more in the scenes together, and this year it’s Richard and she that worked together. But she’s a great woman… you know, a great actress. Makes really good choices and it was a pleasure to work with her. We got to work a little bit down in L.A. We did a second unit on the beach and it sort of [laughs, then earnestly] made me yearn for the sun, you know what I mean? [laughs] I mean, I love Vancouver but it rains a lot up here. [laughs]

IN: You also got to work with Robert Vaughn and the NBA guys again.

GM [finally smiling and looking animated]: Yeah, Robert Vaughn, he was great. He’s great. I mean, that guy has a resume about twelve pages long. Thirty… I mean, he was in… uh, Magnificent Seven and… uh, Man from UNCLE. I mean the guy has worked since… I don’t know… it was incredible to work with him. He was fun. A lot of fun. And [rubs eye] the NBA players are always fun to work with because… you know… they can show you a thing or two on the court, but we get to show them a thing or two out here, in front of the camera. But a lot of them are, you know, just naturals because they’re doing all the commercials and stuff and uh… you know, the promotional stuff for whatever sponsors they have. A lot of them are really natural at it. So, it’s great.

IN: Can you tell us a little bit about what’s coming up, and is it going to be a good fourth season?

GM: Yeah, hopefully a good third and half seasons, three and a half seasons. There’s only eight this year. Uh, yeah, well I come back to life. That’s not a bad thing. You know, that I’m back for the fourth season I suppose. Uh... yeah, there’s a lot of exciting stuff. It’s hard to kind of remember it all right now, because it all sort of turns into one long show. I come to life [moving arm to gesture outside the sound stage] and then we finale out there with a sniper. [laughs] So, it’s been a – a four month movie, eight-hour movie. Um… should be a lot of fun though.

IN: The thing that’s neat about this show – I don’t know if you’ll agree or disagree –

GM: Oh, I disagree. [grins]

IN: Despite all the stunts and action, there’s this human drama in the middle of it. Do you think that’s part of the show’s success – that it has a little bit of everything?

GM: Yeah. Right. I’d say that pretty much sums it up. I mean, it’s got a little bit of everything in it. Which I think can attract a wider… you know, range of viewers, which is nice. If you don’t like the explosions turn your eyes when something is going to explode, and if you don’t like the touchy-feely stuff wait for a gun to shoot. You know, whatever. [laughs and shrugs]

IN: Can you tell us what’s going on in the episode you’re filming?

GM: Uh… there’s union worker who’s trying to unite… a union boss is trying unite all the dock workers and there’s a contract out on his life, and we have a recurring… uh… hit man… uh… Klaus [glances toward the ceiling] Zeller he’s aka The Iceman, and he’s hot on his trail, so Ellison and I and Banks and Connor have to, have to, have to stop him from killing the union boss. That’s the plot [looks directly at the camera with mock seriousness] but there’s a lot of deep, deep emotional stuff in the middle. [to IN] You know.

IN: Is it fun working with your producer as the director?

GM: Yep. It always is, because we don’t have to wait for a phone call to try to get something changed. You know, if there’s dialogue that we don’t really think is germane to what’s happening, then he can say, “You’re right! Change it. I’m the producer/director/ writer/co-creator, so yes.” So we have the yes man on the set, which is nice, so we don’t have to wait and kind of… bounce ideas around another producer and then the director and another actor, so… *There’s* the producer, *there’s* the director, *there’s* one of the co-creators…. “Yes, you can do whatever you want.” So, it’s a lot better.

IN: This is a big show. I go on a lot of sets – this is what I do for a living – and every time I come here there seems to be three or four cameras, or you’re doing some major thing….

GM [conspiratorially]: Those are just the days we *invite* you. Normally, it’s just a little video camera. “We’ve got the EPK [?] people coming” you know, so we go out and rent… [points to soundstage] Those aren’t real cameras. That’s just a fašade, man. Wake up! [looks off-camera] What are you doing, Charles? Bringing me rookies. [to IN, seriously] I’m sorry?

IN: What I’m trying to get at is that this show seems like a mini-feature every week.

GM: Oh, yeah, sure. We, uh, we-we… it’s-its-it’s a big… [rubs eye] I think it’s a big budget. I mean, I’m pretty sure. I’m not too up on how much we spend on anything. [to camera] I don’t even know how much I make and that’s not very good. [to IN] Uh… but yeah, we’re a big show. As far as I know, we’re one of the biggest ones in Vancouver as far as episodic television goes. Uh… yeah, there’s always tons of extras and there’s always a lot of stuff going on and… uh… yeah, it’s a honor to be working in a place like this. It’s really great.

IN: In case someone wants to air this before the season premiere airs….

GM: Uh-huh.

IN: So, I just want to get a separate bite.

GM [snorting]: Sorry, for snorting like that. [snorts again]

IN: That’s all right. The end of last season you died. Maybe recap the cliffhanger for those who might have missed it and tell us what’s happening in the season opener.

GM: [coughs]

IN: Don’t tell us too much. Why should people tune into the season opener?

GM: Uh, well, what happened last year is uh… we ran into another sentinel. Uh, an evil sentinel played by Jeri Ryan. And she killed me. So, that was the cliffhanger. And the, uh, season-opener [to the camera] since I’m doing this interview, the eighth episode, I don’t think it’s going to come as a surprise I come back to life. Uh… I come back to life in the new episode and uh… and uh… [to IN] my partner goes and gets her. [laughs] And takes us down into Peru, the jungles of Peru, and… it’s pretty amazing… helicopters and uh… grottos and temples and… meditation tanks and things like that. It’s pretty wild. It’s good stuff. It’s neat sets to work on. [to camera] It’s all Styrofoam. It looks like rock. [to IN] But it’s kind of cool. But, you know. [mimics tapping on it]

IN: It sounds like a pretty neat first episode. Good gosh.

GM: It was. It was fun.

IN: What do you want to say to all the fans out there that literally took the time and effort and money to save your show?

GM [to camera]: I would like to say thank you for helping us out. And all the effort. And uh, God bless, and I wish you all the best. And please keep watching the show. We’ll try to deliver exactly what we’ve been delivering and… and hopefully there will be more to come.

IN: Perfect. That was great. Thank you so much for doing this.

GM: Oh, no, my pleasure, my pleasure. [puts on glasses]

IN: I hate having to think when I have a cold.

GM: Oh, man. [shakes head and reaches under his sweater for the microphone]