When The CW’s Nikita came to its conclusion last year, Shane West quickly went from the espionage thriller to a few centuries in the past, as the male lead in WGN America’s new launch series Salem, which premieres tonight at 10PM on the channel.
On Salem, West plays John Alden, a soldier from the first generation of Americans who comes back as a war hero who survived. “He went through a lot that we don’t quite know yet, and we didn’t explore yet, of being a prisoner of war for at least a year, and then tortured,” Shane explained to us in January at a press event for the show. “He had been this brash, heroic young person before he took off to war, when he was still with Mary Sibley and thought that they were going to be together forever. When he comes back, he’s definitely jaded. He’s more hardened,” West said.
There was a lot about Salem that appealed to Mr. West. “To me, everything [was appealing]. It wasn’t just one thing,” he said. “To me, what would stand out the most would be being a fan of the horror genre, having a chance to look at that, which has become appealing in television now. The character – being able to see how he’s kind of an extension of Michael from Nikita, just being very passionate about what he believes in and how he handles things, but [he’s] so much more raw. He shows his emotions, and that was appealing as well. The cast that they were putting together. The fact that we were a part of the WGN America rebranding, and this fresh start… it just felt perfect.”
Salem reunites Shane West with one of his Nikita co-stars, Xander Berkeley, who frequently shared scenes with West’s Michael as the villainous Percy. Berkeley plays the Magistrate Hale, who was one of the first settlers, and one of the people that has power in the town. Do the two of them get to interact? At the time of the interview, it hadn’t really happened a lot. “I have [worked with him], but we didn’t really interact,” Shane said in January. “When he was cast, I [wondered] ‘do we have any scenes?’ We will have to at some point. But we have three scenes, I believe, but they’re all involved with other characters, a million extras, things like that. I think I’ve exchanged one line with him so far, but it was great. It was great to see him, and he looks amazing, man. The outfit they put him in, and the hair that he has… I feel like he looks the coolest on the show,” Shane admitted.
You can see some images from Salem below, including both episodic and cast gallery photos, many of which were not uploaded to the gallery before now. Don’t miss the show tonight on WGN America!