There were a lot of questions left unanswered after last week’s episode of Last Resort. With the crew of the U.S.S Colorado still considered enemies of the United States and a government official killed while visiting Sainte Marina, it seems as though the central characters on ABC’s new hit drama are in a worse situation than when they fired a nuclear missile toward Washington, D.C., in the show’s pilot.
Co-created by The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, the drama centers on the renegade crew of a U.S. ballistic submarine that defies an order to launch its nuclear weapons in a strike against Pakistan, costing its captain (Andre Braugher of Homicide: Life on the Street) his command. But when the executive officer (Scott Speedman of Felicity) refuses to fire without confirmation, the U.S.S. Colorado is attacked by its own Navy. With nowhere left to turn, the crew flees to a secluded island, declaring themselves a sovereign nation with nuclear capability.
Before last week’s episode, “Skeleton Crew,” Spinoff Online took part in a conference call with Braugher, who plays Captain Marcus Chaplin. During our conversation, he talked about the current mentality of the crew on the Colorado.
“At this point it seems as though this is a crew that’s held together by the belief we ought to, you know, stick together long enough so that we can make it back home and these negotiations really are a way to get back home,” he said. “Because, you know, in essence we’re not equipped to be traitors. We’re patriots and it’s of the utmost importance that we defend ourselves.”
He added, “We’re looking for a lot of different things. We’re looking for breathing room, we’re looking for food and water, we’re looking for peace on the island, we’re looking for peace on the boat, we’re looking for a great patron who can protect and shield us from the United States, and we’re also looking to get into the heart of this mystery so that we can clear our names and return home. I mean, we’re patriots and we’re designed to return home, not to be devious or traitors or pirates on the high seas.”
In “Skeleton Crew,” Chaplin revealed his true motives are to make sure his crew gets home both safe and without any negative consequences as a result of his decision not to fire on Pakistan. Fans learn more about Chaplin and his motivations with each episode, and Braugher revealed he thinks his character is always a couple of steps ahead of those around him.
“I like the fact that he’s thinking ahead, you know. It’s the strategic part of Chaplin that’s fascinating to me,” Braugher said. “The fact that, you know, the next step may seem the next right one but when you think several steps out further it turns out to be a misstep, you know.”
Chaplin’s relationships with two of his subordinates, Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal and Master Chief Petty Officer Joseph Prosser (Robert Patrick), have developed quite a bit over the show’s five episodes. As he’s become closer with Kendal, Chaplin has frequently found Prosser questioning his authority and flat-out disobeying him.
But Braugher believes Chaplin and Prosser are actually on the same team. In fact, he thinks Chaplin might need Prosser more than Prosser needs him.
“I would have to say that Chaplin needs Prosser very much not only because, you know, he exercises discipline over the crew but it’s because he is a touchstone for the crew, you know. If the chief of the boat thinks that it’s right then the guys have a tendency to fall in line,” Braugher said. “Prosser is very important to Chaplin and is very important that — for Chaplin that Prosser understands that our whole goal here is to get back home and to get back home in safety.”
Meanwhile, Chaplin and Kendal have what Braugher describes as a “relationship of admiration.”
“It’s a mentor relationship, it’s a father/son relationship, you know, and it’s a relationship with two men I think that admire each other and want the best for each other,” he said. “That’s what we’re working on a character level and that’s what we’re working on an actor level. It seems like a good thing and I’m looking forward to exploring the relationship for, you know, as long as we go this year and then hopefully next year after that.”
Speaking of the future, Braugher doesn’t want Last Resort to resolve any of its mysteries any time soon. He said he doesn’t think that “anyone has the complete story” on the show, and he hopes that the main mystery at the core of the series takes a while to pan out.
“I’m hoping we take a good long time to get to the heart of this conspiracy and that it takes as many twists and turns necessary to get to the heart. Because once we do get to the heart of this conspiracy it’s game over,” he said.
Braugher continued, “I anticipate surfacing in the Chesapeake and taking a drive down the Beltway to D.C., where I can surrender myself honorably for my court martial. But that’s, you know, far off in the future. You know, survival really is the question now, you know. There is basically a world war starting and with bombing of Pakistan, you know, and this is the most dangerous time, you know, at the beginning of the war.”
Last Resort, which didn’t air this week, returns Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.