NBC unveiled the pilot for its new Las Vegas-based thriller “The Player” during Comic-Con International in San Diego.
The series, which stars Philip Winchester and Wesley Snipes, centers around an international conspiracy. The action picks up when Winchester’s character, an ex-intelligence officer turned private security expert named Alex Kane, gets inadvertently drawn into the conspiracy when he attempts to stop a kidnapping.
Behind the conspiracy, which involves ridiculously rich people betting on the ability of “The Player” to stop crimes, is a mysterious group known as The House. As the face of The House, Snipes’ enigmatic Mr. Johnson gets the best lines; this is only to be expected for the film star, who’s returning to TV in his first regular role in 25 years.
The pilot gave glimpses of the multi-layered conspiracy through potential faked deaths, reveals of unexpected relationships and by demonstrating the House’s ability to intervene in worldwide electronic transmissions and communications; the organization controls cell phones, TV channels and fire protection systems in the first episode alone. And action is fairly nonstop throughout with writer/producer John Rogers commenting during the presentation that audiences are “going to see stunts you’ve never seen on television.”
Following the screening, stars Winchester and Snipes joined showrunner John Rogers for a discussion about “The Player.” Reflecting on his love for serials such as “The X-Files,” Rogers revealed they were the basis for this show and how it highlights “a corrupt secret system that is screwing with people’s lives.” The thriller will explore this group further as the season moves forward.
Rogers said he was excited when Winchester auditioned for the role of Kane, as he’s a fan of the actor’s work on the Cinemax series “Strike Back.” And regarding Snipes’ character Mr. Johnson, Rogers said audiences “won’t know if he’s a hero or a villain” from week-to-week. The character’s mercurial nature will add to the overall uncertainty that the showrunner is trying to establish for the show, specifically regarding “whether the House is right or wrong”
“As the show goes on,” continued Rogers,”you find out Mr. Johnson is wrapped in a power struggle.”
When asked about a memorable scene from the pilot, one in which Kane chases an assailant through the Fremont Street Experience in only his boxer shorts, Winchester said, “I don’t think anyone even batted an eye.”
Rogers later joked to Winchester about filming the show for female viewers: “The gamblers want you to solve this crime — and they’ll pay you double to do it in your boxer shorts!”
Also starring Charity Wakefield as Cassandra King and Damon Gupton as Detective Cal Brown, “The Player” premieres Sept. 24 on NBC.
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