Andre Braugher’s war games

Andre Braugher stars in “Last Resort.” The series premieres Thursday at 8 on ABC.

Veteran actor Andre Braugher comes back to television with “Last Resort,” an intriguing military thriller about a submarine captain who questions an order to launch nuclear missiles at Pakistan — only to have his sub fired upon by his own country. Braugher’s Capt. Chaplin and crew seek refuge on an island in French Polynesia, making a stand against the country they used to fight for.

Toward the end of the first episode, Scott Speedman’s character compliments your character for delivering a message with “just the right amount of crazy.” What is the right amount of crazy?

You know, I don’t think he’s crazy, but he’s in grief, and grieving people do crazy things. He’s lost a wife, we learn that he’s lost a son. He’s lost everything he thought he was because he wasn’t willing to kill potentially innocent people. And now he’s a traitor. And he’s grieving and he’s betrayed. I know that there’s a wily trickster aspect to Chaplin. It’s like a Jenga game. He’s the kind of guy who knows which blocks to pull in order to either maintain or collapse.

The premise puts your character in a pretty high-pressure, precarious situation. How will the show sustain itself for an entire season like that?

Well, there’s the enemy without and the enemy within. I don’t know from which episode to which episode it will be. Our human nature is going to exert itself, and how we’re going to reorganize ourselves — I don’t know who’s going to live and who’s going to die. Sam [played by Speedman] and I are eventually going to be at odds because we’re thinking differently about the world. It’s difficult to live with a man who has nothing to lose because the potential for him giving shocking orders rises because there’s nobody on the other end.

So now it’s the week of the show’s premiere, an experience you’ve been through many times before.
In the past six years, I’ve been blessed to be on three shows that were not procedurals so much. “Thief” was an open-ended journey, and I loved that. “Men of a Certain Age” was an open-ended journey — the same thing doesn’t happen every week, and I loved that. And now I get the opportunity here for a third time in six or seven years to be a part of a show with an open-ended journey. And I have to say it’s marvelous. So I’m hoping for an enthusiastic response, but like any nervous parent, I’m waiting for the event. Sometime Saturday or Sunday when the numbers come in, they’re either very pleased or they’re not very pleased. We crack open some bottles of champagne or we don’t.


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