Tim DeKay

Courtesy FOX

Tim DeKay

Courtesy FOX

Tim DeKay

Courtesy FOX

Rob Kazinsky, Tim DeKay

Courtesy FOX

The cast of Second Chance

Courtesy FOX
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January 05, 2016
Online Originals

Everyone Wants a Second Chance

Fox's new show, Second Chance takes on life, death, and redemption.

Tim DeKay knows his federal agents.

He played straight-arrow FBI agent Peter Burke for six years in USA's White Collar, and beginning on January 13, he will play another on Fox's new series Second Chance. Although the two characters look the same on paper, they are far different from each other.

Second Chance explores what it would be like to come back from the dead, stronger, younger, but still essentially the same person. Ray Pritchard, played by Rob Kazinsky (and in flashbacks by Philip Baker Hall), is murdered and brought back to life by twins who need him alive for their own purposes. The show is science fiction based, but also takes on purely human subjects: parent-child relationships, regret, and redemption. 

DeKay plays Pritchard's FBI agent son Duval, who encounters a stranger determined to help him in his cases, without realizing, at least as of the pilot, that this now younger man is his back-from-the-dead father.

Online Originals talked to DeKay about his new role and the show.

I watched the pilot of Second Chance yesterday. What an interesting premise.

It is an interesting premise. I think [creator and executive producer] Rand Ravich has found something that has many avenues that can be played out and a lot of layers, with the father-son relationship, a second chance, redeeming oneself, and then, of course, the whole sci-fi aspect of the show is incredibly interesting.

What, exactly, drew you to this, because I just read the description, and it said that you were playing a straight arrow FBI agent, and I went, “Wait a minute…”

(Laughing) Wait a minute, didn’t he just play one for six years?

Yeah, but honestly, when I saw the pilot, it was totally different. But, did you have any hesitation when you saw that description?

I did have some hesitation before I read the script.  That’s a good question, and I have to be honest, there was some hesitation, but the script also came to me from Dave Madden, who is now at Fox and was at Fox studios, and through Patrick Russ, who was a casting director who I’ve known for years. Both of them said, “No, take a look at this. This is more than just another role that you’ve done.”

And, as you noticed, it is different, and it’s… the show in general is darker, and it takes on a certain different quality and aspect that I have never been able to tap into. Primarily, I was so intrigued and interested in the relationship of that father and son.

That seems to me that that could be really kind of the very central piece of that. I find that part of it really fascinating, and having your character also be a single parent is an added dimension to that.

It is. The fact that he’s a single parent is an added dimension and obstacle for Duval’s wanting to open up. I think the writers have tapped into the whole milieu of being a single parent, and the weight that it has.

There’s a great weight, and, you’ll have to forgive me if you’re a single parent. I’m not one, but I know many who are. The only time I’ve been a single parent is on a weekend if my wife’s gone away. I’m fortunate. I can only imagine that weight that one has as a single parent.

And, at least for Duval, there’s this need to prove something, to prove that I can do it. I can raise a kid with love and raise a kid in the “right way.”

Yeah, in a way that he was not raised by his father.


I was actually raised by a single father, so I kind of tap into that. And there’s also the fact that it’s a daughter. It’s a different dynamic.

That’s right. It is a different dynamic, and much as Duval thinks that he’s doing the right things, a lot of times he’s not. And that’s the way it is with any parent, whether you’re a single parent or you have a partner.

That’s exactly it.

And you hope, you hope the rights outweigh the wrong in the end, when the child goes off to college or whatever.

There’s nothing like that on-the-job training. Nobody tells you what to expect, nobody tells you what’s gonna happen, and I think especially for a father raising a daughter, it’s like, “What the hell did I get into here?”

Yeah, completely. And the other thing about the show that I found interesting is that I found the twins interesting, and that whole idea that Big Brother is watching and sometimes, most of the time in our case, Big Brother has the correct intentions. And that’s the wonderful thing about science fiction, that even though Big Brother does have the correct intentions, does that still give Big Brother the right to watch everything? 

And then, when I met Rob [Kazinsky], I felt a nice connection with him, and I think we work extremely well together. I enjoy the rest of the cast as well. Most of my work is with Rob, and he’s a true professional, and a great actor.

I’ve only seen the pilot, but I’m really impressed, and it seems like the chemistry that is working between you two is really interesting.

And it continues. I would say to all of our readers to stick with this show. As most good shows do, it gets better and better. And it gets richer and richer. The more things are added to the recipe to make it that much tastier.

I can see where it can go. Have you finished the first season, or are you still filming?

No, we’re still filming. We’re now on break for the holidays, and we’ll go back up to Vancouver and shoot one more episode. We’re shooting this in Vancouver for Seattle.

I was curious about that, too.

But the pilot was shot in Dallas.

So, the pilot was in Dallas, you’re shooting regularly in Vancouver. Do you ever go near Seattle?

No. Vancouver is an easy cheat for Seattle. We just do stock photos, stock aerial shots of Seattle and go in, and the topography and the foliage is very similar to Seattle.

They’re not that far apart, really.

No, no they’re not. I think just a few hours. But, that’s an interesting dilemma that we have in this industry is shooting. Perfect example is shooting the pilot in Dallas, and go up to Vancouver and shoot the rest of the show, and, unfortunately, not shooting it here in L.A.

It’s kind of interesting how few things are shooting in L.A. right now.

I know. They actually were shooting the pilot of Uncle Buck in the house in which I live here in L.A., while I was shooting the pilot in Dallas.  That was an interesting couple of weeks.

The dynamics of how we do things in this industry just fascinates me.

It does me too. I could go into this, but, needless to say, I’m an advocate for keeping the work here. We certainly have the talent as far as crew to get all this work done here, but for reasons that are bigger than our… people make decisions where money is the bottom line, and so that’s why they’re going elsewhere.

Exactly. I get it, but it’s just unfortunate.

Yeah, exactly.

OK. I know you can’t give me any spoilers, and I certainly wouldn’t publish any, but, does he ever figure out that Rob’s character is his dad?

Yes, I’d appreciate you not doing any spoilers, but the writers and the network realized our audience , that we have a smart audience out there. They’ll be ahead of us sooner than we’d like them to be. So, therefore, the hunt to find out who this guy is, this stranger who is helping with my cases. The hunt to find out who he is does not take the whole season. Let me just say that.

OK. That was kind of what I was thinking about.

You know you can’t keep that secret forever, at least from my character. Then, it’s fun to watch that play out. OK. Now they both know. Now how are they gonna deal with this?

Yeah. Your dad is back. He’s younger and stronger and, wow.

Yeah. I like to say younger and stronger and almost as good looking. That’s what I tell Rob

Nowhere near, of course! I mean, he’s OK. He’ll do.

It’s been great also working with Philip Baker Hall [who plays the older version of the father], who plays my dad when he’s old. The writers were smart just to realize that they had a gem there with Philip, and so there are flashback scenes throughout the season.

That’s great. He is so, so good.

Isn’t he? He has a face of all those great thriller movies and he’s in one of my favorite movies with Joan Allen called The Candidate. He’s wonderful, and such a sweet, kind man.

I’m glad to hear that, that he’s not the curmudgeon that he plays.

No, not at all, not at all.

I’m glad they, as you say, realized what they had and are keeping him around. Plus, I can’t imagine how you’d do the story without thinking back to how it worked.

Yes, and I think you have to also, just to remind anybody who’s joining the story, not to remind somebody but to inform somebody if they’re just joining the story. You need that.

And what is your timeslot?

Wednesdays at 9:00. We follow Idol. It’s a great timeslot. We follow the final season of American Idol.

And it’s kind of fun to see a show called Second Chance, right after American Idol.

I didn’t even think of that! That’s brilliant! Sure it is.

That’s kinda cool.

See, that’s the right idea. Someone in marketing should have said, “Let’s wait, and all the people who are voted off American Idol, they can guest star on Second Chance.

Now there’s a thought. I think you need to call casting and marketing and mention that.

I’ll do that. Great idea.

Well, I just think the whole thing is absolutely fascinating. Does Duval have much to do with the twins? Does he actually get involved in any of that?

Duval, as time goes on, does become involved with the twins, insofar as calling upon their help for certain cases. Because they certainly have the resources that the FBI doesn’t.

Which is kind of bizarre, because we always think the FBI has everything.

Unfortunately, not the Seattle branch.

True. Those outlying ones, what do they know? So, you shot White Collar in New York, right?

Yes, we shot that in New York, where New York was very much a character in the show. They have certainly found beautiful, beautiful locations in Vancouver, so I think, I get the feeling that we have represented Seattle well in Vancouver and found some gorgeous buildings and some gorgeous locations that are indicative of the Northwest.

To that, I also think that visually this show is rich and alive and quite often seen through the eyes of Pritchard coming back to life. The world looks and smells and tastes and sounds that much better your second time around.

One would think.

And that’s the idea I think with some of the filming, the way that the DP has shot this and the directors have worked on this.

That’s a really interesting way of looking at this. What would you think of life if you suddenly found yourself starting over?

And not only just starting over, but starting over stronger and younger. It’s a huge second chance. But, not to spoil anything, but I will say, with this, when you start playing with life and the reverse of nature this way, nature has a way of asking you if you really want to do this.

That’s a profound statement.

And the show delves into that.

I think that’s one of the fascinating elements of the show. On one hand you have this procedural, but then also, the deeper, more profound questions. Was there a lot of discussion about that with the creators when you started this process?

I think there were. Sci-fi shows can be wonderfully difficult at first because your canvas is as large as you want it. You’re creating the rules, so nearly any idea is not impossible.

And it takes a strong sense of what he or she wants in the story from the creator, in this case, Rand Ravich, and his working with the network to find out what they want and staying true to the idea of what he has in mind or had in mind.

But, I think this show in a wonderful way is honoring, for lack of a better word, Mary Shelley’s intention of questioning whether or not bringing back life is the right thing to do.

Mary Shelley came to mind several times while I was watching. I think she would appreciate this show.

I think she would too. I do too, just as I think Shakespeare would appreciate a modern day Romeo and Juliet. I think she would appreciate this and she’d say, “Wow. This is wonderful. Thank you for taking my idea and putting it in your space and your time.

I appreciate that, and I think she would appreciate that more than the hundreds of versions of Frankenstein.

Maybe, maybe.

So, you premier in January…

January 13. And we hope that those viewers who have to watch American Idol live will stick around for another hour and watch Second Chance.

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