"Legends" premieres August 13 at 9 p.m. on TNT. Credit: Richard Foreman
Martin Odum is a top secret FBI employee. His job? Going deep undercover in an assumed identity for months at a time with potential terrorist groups. Odum is scarily good at taking on the identities, called “legends.” In fact, he’s so good at becoming someone else that his bosses are worried about his mental health. So far, sounds like what you might expect from a crime show about an eccentric genius. The twist? Martin Odum might be an assumed identity — he’s just unaware of it. Until now.
The question of just who Martin Odum is promises plenty of mysteries for TNT’s new series “Legends” to unravel. Odum even has a wife and son and has to question how real his own family is. Stepping into the role of Odum is Sean Bean, best known to audiences for losing his head as Ned Stark on “Game of Thrones.” Or they know him as Boromir, who dies in “The Fellowship of the Rings.” Well, he survived “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” due to playing a god, but one senses a certain through line in Bean’s roles. He’s so well-known for not surviving his own movies that the producers of “Legends” created a hashtag to promote the show called #DontKillSeanBean.
Asked about the promotional campaign, Bean seems pretty good-natured about the whole thing. He laughs and says, “It’s quite funny. I was quite amused by it.”
The show is a little more serious. Bean says he was drawn to the role partly because of showrunner Howard Gordon, who also executive produced “24,” but also because “It was a very fascinating opportunity to play somebody who plays multiple personalities and creates the characters for himself in order to do the job that he does.”
The fact that Odum’s true identity is a mystery is heightened by the degree to which the character is isolated. Bean calls him “a very lonely man who kind of throws himself into characters, like an addiction, to find some relief from his everyday life. He’s happier being someone else.”
“Legends,” at least in the early episodes, shows a willingness to kill off its characters, even ones viewers think might be safe. For now, though, it seems like Bean will survive, because he’s the lead on the show. Of course, it’s that kind of thinking that took so many viewers by surprise on “Game of Thrones,” but since the producers are aiming to keep him alive, he might be safe. “I’m very flattered that people want me to stick around a little longer,” says Bean. Just to be on the safe side, though, all the people out there running “Save Sean Bean” Tumblrs, Twitter feeds and blogs, stay vigilant! You never know what’s going to get him this time.