I’ve been a big fan of The Closer since the beginning, and so far this season, it’s really been on fire. Now, as we come upon an episode heavy on the Sgt Gabriel, I had the chance to speak with Gabriel’s portrayer, Corey Reynolds about what’s coming up, why cultural diversity is better seen not heard, and why he loves the show as much as I do!
I’m very excited to talk to you!
Oh, well, I’m excited to talk to you as well!
I’ve been saying to anybody that will listen that The Closer is one of the most solid shows that I’ve seen in years, and no episode of the show disappoints me.
Oh that is great to hear, thank you!
Where do we go from here, what’s coming up, what can we look forward to? Spill it all!
Well, this upcoming Monday, it’s kind of an episode featuring my character. He’s involved in an officer-involved shooting, and the evidence doesn’t quite match up with his version of the facts. He discovers that maybe things that he thought were facts were perspective, and that’s quite a challenge for somebody who prides himself on being able to make split second decisions, and being able to make the correct decision. To make a decision that maybe in his opinion wasn’t necessarily the correct decision in a matter of life or death, is something that I think sticks with people. As an individual, as myself Corey Reynolds, if I were put in that situation, I see how it can be psychologically challenging to deal with what happens within this evening.
What I like, too, about this show is that your characters, none of your characters are perfect. They don’t try and pretend that they are, so something like this episode makes total sense.
I think sometimes in procedural shows, and to TNT’s credit, and to our show creator’s credit, people are afraid to let the show be driven by character. The compounding aspect of that is that if it is driven by character, to take the chance of making your character flawed. Because sometimes when it’s driven by character, people want that character to stay virtuous, and not see that character maybe do something that they wouldn’t see themselves do. But I think that with this show, we have allowed the storytelling to be propelled by the telling of it through our characters. And we are flawed. And we make mistakes, and we deal with the consequences of those mistakes, personally and professionally. And I think that that’s reflected in everyone’s day to day life. You have your personal life, and you have your professional life, if you’re fortunate enough to have a job in this economy [laughs]. Sometimes how you’re feeling personally influences what you do professionally, and sometimes what you do professionally influences how you feel personally. I think those are the components that really make the storytelling through the characters eyes, for this show, so successful.
What originally brought you to this role, why did you want to play him?
I moved out here in the fall of 2003. I was in a musical on Broadway before coming out here, and when I initially came out here, I had read a lot of parts; quite honestly, a lot of the parts weren’t necessarily good guys. They weren’t necessarily smart and articulate. I didn’t see them having the charm and the eloquence that came with Gabriel. So when I auditioned for this part, I was the only minority actor to test for the part, and I don’t think they went into it with a minority actor in mind. For me, it was really special, because it was nice to play a character that isn’t confined and defined by his ethnicity. And I think that’s been probably the aspect of Gabriel that I love the most and what I was most drawn to, was that if you just look at his dialogue, on a page, as I did in the pilot, there was no indication as to what ethnicity he was. In a city like Los Angeles, where there’s so much diversity, it’s nice to see that diversity reflected on the screen.
It’s true, because on your show, there is a lot of diversity, even within your core cast, and it’s not touched on all the time, it just exists like it does in real life.
I think that was the plan. I think that was the goal. There is no need to shine a light on something that’s so common place. For us, on the show, and for the creative minds behind it, I think it was a bit of a no-brainer, for them, race really played no part. That’s the goal, the grand goal, in society, that race will eventually play no part. I think that the more you have characters, and the more you see diversity, and the more you see people who are diverse and smart and are full of integrity and are good guys, the more you come to accept it.
Why is now a good time for someone who maybe hasn’t been watching this season, or hasn’t started watching at all, to tune in and get caught up?
Now’s a good time to tune in, because, for some reason that would be completely unbeknownst to me, you haven’t seen season 1-4, the theme of this season is “change.” Last year’s seasonal arc was “power,” so with the change this year, it creates a change in how the squad will operate. Even a change in the squad as a whole. New faces are popping up. Some old faces have moved on. So this is kind of a rebirth or renaissance for the show. So if you haven’t watched the first 4 season, which I recommend you pick up on DVD [laughs], you can tune in now, and get a fresh perspective on the characters that have been there.
The characters change enough, too, that it keeps old fans watching!
Absolutely. Well that’s the fun part, I mean, when I came from the theatre world, when you learn a show, that show is the show for the run of the show. To maintain the integrity of the show, you do the show as written, as close to the way you learned it as possible. The characters aren’t really allowed to say, well you know what, I don’t want to say that line tonight, I want to say something new. That’s not what theatre is about. So for television, it was nice to be a part of a show that’s had some shelf life, and had some longevity, because it gives you a chance for your characters to change, for them to grow, for them to change their mind about how they think about certain things. That’s not always available in the theatre world. With television, when you have a chance, like we have, moving into our 5th season, I don’t think there’s anyone that can say they’re the exact same person that they were 5 years ago. Because we do change, we learn through life experience, and a wise person takes those lessons and applies them to their life, and a fool takes those lessons and keeps repeating them.
Do you get a chance to watch other TV shows besides your own?
Yeah, oh yeah!
What else do you watch?
I’m a big fan of, I’m a big documentary watcher. I’m a big fan of First 48, which is a documentary show that follows homicide detectives in the first 48 hours of a homicide investigation. Big fan of Family Guy, Daily Show, Colbert. Big movie guy. I watch movies a lot. I didn’t study singing, dancing, or acting, growing up, so now I’m kind of living the master class as I go.
What else do you have besides The Closer, coming up?
Well, I’ve got a feature that I have in the pipeline, called The Triple Nickels, about the first all black commission of the United States Paratroopers. What they did, which was really unique, back in World War II, they used this squad of all black soldiers, to combat forest fires that were being caused by these Japanese balloon bombs. It’s a very little known story, but they basically are the only military unit in US history, to fight a foreign attack on US land, ever. It’s a story that not a lot of people know, but I’m hoping to change that!
New Episodes Of The Closer Air On TNT Monday Nights at 9PM EST