Ben Bass has learned it’s good to have police officers as friends, especially when you’re playing one.
The Baltimore-born, Vancouver-raised actor has gotten to know certain Toronto cops quite well in researching his role as sometimes smart-alecky training officer Sam Swarek on “Rookie Blue,” the Canadian-made drama series that starts its second ABC season Thursday, June 23. Bass reports he’s had more time to observe actual police work for the show’s sophomore round.
“I’ve always been fascinated with law enforcement,” Bass tells Zap2it, “but when you’re called upon to play a character, you have only so much time for research. When the word first came down that I was going to do this show, I had maybe two or three weeks before we were going to get started.
“That’s not a lot of time — which is frustrating, because it’s nice to have that time for research. It really is very helpful. I played a lawyer once, and I had about three or four weeks before we shot, so I was able to go to court and watch lawyers at work. Some were good lawyers and some were bad lawyers, but it was essential. The more time you have to prepare, the better. Always.”
For many “Rookie Blue” fans, though, the characters’ off-duty lives have become the big draw. Swarek has had a complicated flirtation with novice cop Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym), who starts the new season as Swarek’s ex-trainee … and also as the live-in girlfriend of plain-clothes detective Luke Callaghan (Eric Johnson).
“I think Sam is the type of guy who’s going to respect that,” Bass says, “so he’s kind of stuck as far as that’s concerned. He’s pining away silently and privately, and there’s not much he can do. You can tell he’s really in love with her, and she has feelings for him, and they’re forced to work together. That brings a nice tension to the show.”
Bass notes that Peregrym is “great to work with. She’s super-smart, she does her homework, she’s really instinctive, she’s open to ideas, and she’s fresh and in-the-moment. We have a really good working chemistry, and chemistry just as people, so all of that adds to making it exciting and fun and new and unexpected. I never know what she’s going to bring to the table, and I think she feels similarly.”