Thomas Dekker‘s latest TV role takes him far beyond the “safe” characters you saw him in on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or The Secret Circle.
In Backstrom, which premieres tomorrow night (January 22) on FOX, Dekker plays Gregory Valentine, a character so different from Rainn Wilson’s Backstrom character who might also be Backstrom’s best friend.
We spoke with Thomas Dekker on the Backstrom set to learn more about his character.
“Valentine is kind of an anomaly,” Dekker says of this new character he is portraying. “He lives with Backstrom and is Backstrom’s underworld connection, so he becomes integral in solving cases when they come up, just due to all his bad behavior and illicit history. He is always kind of an integral key element into Backstrom solving a case that he wouldn’t be able to do just in the police department, but that said, he’s also his friend, he’s a thief, he is a punk rocker, he is gay, he is – he’s a lot of things, and the beauty of Valentine is is that he’s a sort of a different person from moment to moment,” Dekker explains.
“Even as an actor playing him, you know I never really know quite where he’s coming from, which is really exciting for me to play with, and ultimately, his purpose is to help convey who Backstrom is, because they’re both exceptionally different people,” he continues. “You’ve got one young, gay, punk rocker, ex-prostitute, ex-drug dealer, and you’ve got another middle-aged curmudgeonly cop, but the thing they have in common is that they both have very little belief in humanity and they’re very bitter and very dark and very acerbic and very satirical people and sort of the only people that they trust in their lives are each other.”
“They’re actually both very caring people, they just can’t admit it. And the mutual issue also is that Backstrom is afraid of everything, and has to hide it. Valentine’s problem is that he’s not afraid of anything and that gets him into trouble over and over and over again,” Dekker explains.
Thomas says that his own relationship with Rainn Wilson, who plays Backstrom, is similar to the one you see on TV. “Rainn and I have formed a very strange [relationship] in a sense that it it actually is really close to Backstrom and Valentine’s relationship. We do nothing but ridicule each other and make fun of each other all day, and it’s done with the most adoration and affection,” he says, before saying some very positive things about his costar.
“He’s one of the most exceptional actors I’ve worked with, certainly in television. He has an incredible ability for improvisation. There’s no two takes [that are] the same,” Dekker says. “There’s a great ease to when he and I work together, and I know that there’s a lot of respect, mutually, from both of us to each other.”
As for the characters, Backstrom’s a heterosexual cop, and Valentine’s a gay criminal. That will inevitably lead to conflict. “There’s an episode quite early on where Backstrom basically wants to throw me out, and it’s probably a very wise decision, but on the flip side, you’ve also got a young guy who takes care of him, and a young guy who provides answers that he couldn’t get any other way,” Dekker tells us. “Everybody’s kind of got a story, which is what’s great. There’s really no just generic character to explain what’s going on. Everybody is very detailed. That’s why I love the show so much.”
Backstrom premieres Thursday night, January 22 at 9PM on FOX. Take a look at a promo trailer for the show below: