Fans of John Pyper-Ferguson know him as an actor with a list of credits a mile long. Those who can not instantly call his name to mind may take a look at his 140+ acting credits on his IMDB page and suddenly realize they are in fact familiar with his work — so why didn’t his name pop on a light bulb? He has a knack for slipping into a character in the tradition of the proverbial character actor.
During a brief conversation today Pyper-Ferguson discussed his current television character, Tex, on TNT’s The Last Ship, confirming what fans and regular viewers of the show already know. Simply put, we do not yet know a lot about Tex’s past. Time and again the word Mercenary was used to describe his character who is not a member of the United States Navy like the majority of the characters seen week in, week out, on this summer drama. He is not a civillian scientist either. Rather he was a guard at gitmo. A contractor who is now something else altogether. The writers have referred to him in a behind the scenes special as a character that represents Freedom and has a “good spirit”.
The first pages with Tex in them that Pyper-Ferguson saw, the scenes with which he read and auditioned, held the flavor of the character and after his first reading “I got it” Pyper-Ferguson said, “I understood he’s a guy who tries to lighten things up when they are dark.” He said his initial reaction to reading the part was, “this role is mine” and anyone who has seen the show will whole-heartedly agree.
Tex is more than a light-hearted, laid back guy. He is confident with a gun, trained to have your back and you want him there when the chips are down because you know he will defend it — but that does not quite describe the character either, in part because while we believe this man is on our side and adimires Chandler, as Pyper-Ferguson was quick to point out, “he is a lone wolf,” and as he had said earlier, “we just do not know much about his background.” When asked right out about Tex’s loyalties, Pyper-Ferguson remarked “he’s a mercenary, he’s a survivalist, this might be the kind of world where he might potentially excel in, and the previous world with a lot more rules and regulations was a place that held him back from his own nature.” And perhaps, that last bit is part of the charm of Tex, the fact that we are seeing a character come into his own, and rise up in a positive way, because he is using his skills to help the good guys, and in a good way.
At San Diego’s Comic-Con International Rhona Mitra remarked that “everyone needs a champion,” in reference to Eric Dane’s Captain Chandler. Tex may not be Dr. Scott’s stand out in front of the entire ship of Navy personnel champion, but he serves an equally important and vital role in the character Dr. Scott’s life. Pyper-Ferguson joked Tex is “hot for teacher” and the show gets a lot of mileage out of that light hearted approach between the two characters, but more than that, the lone wolf is aware of all she is doing ‘for the pack’ and is helping to keep her spirits up, to ecourage her — to brighten her dark moments, and urge her forward when she is at risk of faltering.
A good show has unique characters that serve different and necessary roles. Characters who each have different responses to a situation, and different perspectives on problems. Those are among the reasons I come back to The Last Ship week after week… TNT is providing good entertainment, exciting action, and a good show, with characters I look forward to seeing in a second season — even bearing in mind Pyper-Ferguson’s warning “all the characters get in a lot of jeopardy, and there are cassualties of war, and there has to be in a show like this.”
The official description of The Last Ship is:
TNT’s action-packed drama The Last Ship, stars Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy) and is executive-produced by blockbuster filmmaker Michael Bay (Transformers). The Last Ship opens with a global catastrophe that nearly decimates the world’s population. Because of its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoids falling victim to the devastating tragedy. But now, Captain Tom Chandler (Dane) and his crew must confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors. Rhona Mitra (Strike Back) plays Rachel Scott, a strong-willed, intelligent and fearless paleomicrobiologist assigned to the ship. Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) is XO Mike Slattery, a former homicide detective and Chandler’s second-in-command. Also starring in The Last Ship are Travis Van Winkle (Heart of Dixie), Charles Parnell (Pariah), Christina Elmore (Fruitvale Station), Sam Spruell (Snow White and The Huntsman) and Marissa Neitling (Leverage). Based on William Brinkley’s popular novel, The Last Ship comes to TNT from Bay’s Platinum Dunes and its partners, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, whose credits include the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bay, Fuller and Form have served as executive producers, along with series co-creators Hank Steinberg (Without a Trace, The Nine) and Steven Kane (The Closer), and director Jack Bender (Lost).
Watch episodes on The TNT Website to catch up, and tune in Sunday’s at 9 PM ET/PT for new episodes on TNT.
Go Navy – circa 1970s