As the current round of “Rookie Blue”
nears its end, Officer Oliver Shaw’s fate is hanging in the balance. And the actor who plays him couldn’t be happier.
“He did get shot, but that was by no means as dangerous as what’s happening to Oliver now,” Matt Gordon
of the cliffhanger that’s set up the ABC police drama’s Season 4 finale Thursday (Sept. 12). Shaw is now the captive of Kevin Ford (Michael Cram
), a suspected pedophile seeking revenge against the cops of 15 Division for his recent arrest and interrogation … and for his stalking by Officer Marlo Cruz (Rachael Ancheril
“It’s the most I’ve ever done on the show,” the good-humored Gordon says of the season-ending episode, which puts him through physically and emotionally grueling scenes. “You always want that stuff. Then, of course, when you spend two days in the same spot doing exactly the same thing, you sometimes question what you wished for. But I can’t wait for people to see it.”
Gordon already has had a big taste of “Rookie Blue” fans’ reaction to Oliver’s plight: “One of the things our little family does as a group is that we love to be on Twitter when the show is on, and there was all kind of feedback (last week) like, ‘Oh, no! Oliver!’
“When our friend Noam Jenkins disappeared last year (that actor’s character, Detective Jerry Barber, was killed), people were very surprised. I think that now, when our characters get in trouble, they understand that it could be even more dangerous. No one’s safe.”
Oliver’s current dilemma underscores that even more, Gordon believes. “I think there’s an assumed comfort level with folks like me as Oliver and Ben (Bass) as Sam, that we’re not rookies and we’ve been around. It’s nice to get that kind of surprise and not take anything for granted.”
One of the surprises for the maritally separated Oliver this season is his new girlfriend, reputed sorceress Celery. Gordon reports the actress who plays her, Emily Hampshire, had a big hand in giving the character her offbeat name.
“She’s so amazing,” he says. “One of the first days she was there, we sort of just threw something in (on camera) and I asked her name, which wasn’t fully scripted. And she said, ‘Celery.’ I said, ‘Celery?’ And she said, ‘Green. Celery Green.’ So Emily Hampshire actually completed that circle.”
Having done much Canadian television, including his previous work with “Rookie Blue’s” executive producers on such shows as “Flashpoint” and “The Eleventh Hour” (known in the U.S. as “Bury the Lead”), Gordon is grateful to be sharing their present global success that has ensured next year’s Season 5.
“It’s nice to be doing a show that people love. It makes a huge difference, and it makes a difference that ABC has supported us so much right from the beginning. They’ve pushed it so much in the States, and we have great response there … and all over the place. We have fans in Europe and South America and Australia, and it’s amazing. They’re so positive and so great, we love them.”
Actual police also are among the “Rookie Blue” faithful, as Gordon knows firsthand. “Everybody knows someone whose dad or cousin is a cop,” he reasons, “so when we were getting trained by our consultants in the beginning, the only thing I told them was, ‘Please. I don’t want the folks you work with every day to look at me and go, “Oh, man. What a pretender.”‘
“The biggest compliment I get — especially playing a training officer — is, ‘I know a T.O. just like you!’ Or, ‘My T.O. was just as smarmy as you are!’ It’s that attitude of giving you a big hug, then a slap right in the face. If I get a thumbs-up from those guys, then I’ve done my job.”