'Common Law': Jack McGee on the show and therapy
We spoke to McGee about his views on therapy and his character in the show. Read what he has to say and we bet he'll charm the pants off you too. He says of his character, "[Sutton] is the guy that's seen all of that stuff and knows about all of the sense of humor and knows the quick stuff, but sometimes doesn't know how to always make the right moves in his own life. And he's got to ask for help, and that's where the therapy comes because everybody needs to talk to somebody."
This role is close to his heart. McGee was a fireman in the Bronx for ten years. He got a little chocked up talking about this. "I come from a family of cops and firemen. My brothers are all cops or firemen, so it pretty much is something I'm quite familiar with. I've played a lot of cops... I spent the last three seasons of "NYPD Blue" as the desk sergeant downstairs.
"I was born and raised in the south Bronx," he continues. "And the only class -- the only acting class -- I ever took is when I was chasing a girl, you know? And there were two of those, and it worked out pretty well both times. But I don't have any formal training."
He talks about why Sutton sends his guys to therapy. "He sees in these two knuckleheads that he's dealing with, kind of a paternal thing to it. He's attracted to them because he sees a lot of himself.
"I'm very, very protective and very defensive about people that are in my life, in my family. So I figured like these two nitwits are like my sons. And I can abuse them, but don't you come in! It is kind of like a mentor or a father, and I see a lot of myself in these guys from years gone by. And I'm trying to help them not make the same mistakes that I made. They're good cops, but they don't know how to deal with each other. They don't know how to talk to each other... It's about relationships."
He told us his personal story about therapy, and teared up while he did it. "Where I come from, when you break your arm, you go get it fixed. But if your heart or your head hurts, you don't talk to anybody. And I found that what happened with me is that once I surrendered to the fact that I didn't know everything, I became teachable. And that's kind of the way I'm looking at this guy that I'm playing now is that his life had become a mess. And if he didn't take the steps to maybe go and ask for some help... There's an expression that I hear in the rooms of the groups that I go to, and one of them is: 'If nothing changes, nothing changes.'"