FX’s new series “Terriers” throws a lot of elements into its genre stew: It’s a private-eye show, the story of an alcoholic trying to get his life back, at times a comedy.
At its core, though, the show is a love story between two guys. Donal Logue (“Life,” “Zodiac”) and Michael Raymond-James (“True Blood”) play a pair of small-time, unlicensed private investigators in Ocean Beach, Calif. (near San Diego), and their friendship — both on- and off-screen — is what grounds the show. The two actors met when Raymond-James guested on an episode of “Life” and became close — so much so that they shared a house in San Diego while filming “Terriers.”
“[Their relationship] is the only connective tissue that keeps them both afloat,” Logue tells Zap2it about the two main characters. “Other things in their lives fall apart, but when push comes to shove they have each other, even though they push each other away at different times. They can’t survive without each other.”
In separate interviews last month, Logue and Raymond-James talked with us about how their real-life relationship carried over into work, about their characters (Logue plays Hank Dolworth, an ex-cop fired because of his drinking, while Raymond-James plays Britt Pollack, a good-natured and mostly reformed thief) and about where the show, created by “Ocean’s Eleven” writer Ted Griffin and executive produced by “The Shield’s” Shawn Ryan, goes over the course of the season.
Living and working
Logue: “[Shooting was] maybe up to 16 hours a day, so we’d go home and maybe run lines, crash out and then get up at 5 or 6 a.m. So there wasn’t a lot of hang time at home, just recharging time. … I think, too, when you’re on a job in another town, and I’m not with my kids and he’s not with his fiancee, you can go to kind of a dark space if you’re left alone. It’s good to have someone there to check you and keep you human.”
Raymond-James: “There was never any sort of, ‘Oh god, this guy again.’ And there were always weekends where I could come to L.A., or he’d go up to see his kids or they’d come down, so it was great.”
We asked if the two characters are mostly positive influences on each other of if, given their sometimes lackluster approach to the job, they encourage each other’s bad habits.
Raymond-James: “We back each other’s play, and we know that. … And without hesitation and without remorse. Sometimes the decisions we make get us in trouble, but we’re not going to point fingers and judge each other. We do have brotherly spats within the show, but that’s part of it. But at its heart that’s what it’s about — these two guys who unconditionally support each other. … We may do things that are illegal, but not necessarily immoral — we try not to. I think they’re two good guys who are just a little bit rough around the edges.”
Logue: “Most importantly, they just know there’s someone there who would do anything for them. Just to have that in your life — ‘I’ve got a friend who would take a bullet for me.’ … These guys can trust each other with their stuff, and it’s huge. Because if you don’t have that, you float in such a bitter, empty way.”
Where the show goes
Two continuing stories in “Terriers” concern Hank’s attempts to reconcile with his ex, played by Kimberly Quinn, and to buy back the house they used to share after she moves out.
Logue: “What happens with both of those is he realizes maybe what he wanted isn’t what he wanted at all. Maybe that’s what he wishes for, but it’s not what he needs. There’s an element of victory in both those circumstances, but it’s a lot funkier — it goes down in a way I didn’t even anticipate. … He still loves his wife and tells her as much. He’s pretty bold even though she’s involved with someone new. … He still interferes with their lives in really f***ed-up ways, and it’s kind of funny. But it turns kind of dark.”
“Terriers” premieres at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday (Sept. 8) on FX. Here’s more on the show: