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Prime Suspect Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Aidan Quinn

This is an interview with star Aidan Quinn on October 12, 2011 about the show Prime Suspect.

Question:
How did you initially get involved with the series?

Aidan Quinn:
I read the part, I did that actor thing - just reading my part, my part, my part - and then they said now you need to read the script. So I read the script and I thought wow, this is really so good. Then I had a great meeting with Peter Berg, Alexander Cunningham, Sarah Aubrey, our executive producers, and here I am. It was the power of the script.

Question:
What has been the biggest challenge for you in bringing this character to life onscreen?

Aidan Quinn:
The biggest challenge has been one of the biggest joys. It's getting to hang out with Detective Mike Sheenan, and he got to introduce me to Lt. Jimmy West. In New York I got to hang out with his squadron. Listening to a lot of Mike Sheenan's stories and getting to watch documentaries with NYPD detectives and also getting to read some books by some detectives. That's the fun! That's the challenge - to get it right and make sure that we have the reality and the sacredness of dealing with death, and yet the macabre, black sense of comedy that you have to have to get through it. You're switching back and forth all the time, from the profane to the sacred.

Question:
Your series is being billed as a re-imagining of the British series. Can you explain exactly what that means?

Aidan Quinn:
It has the same title, it has Maria Bello in the title role and she's in the same situation in that she's facing a lot of sex discrimination in a male dominated squad. That being said, I think everything else is different because it's 20 years later, it's New York instead of London. Hopefully we have some of the great reality and behavior. When I am with the cops in the show we're able to get that with our wonderful cast and writers.

Question:
Do you have a favorite scene from the episodes you've shot so far?

Aidan Quinn:
My favorite scene, that I'm involved in, was from the Pilot where I got to ask her who did she think she was coming in here the day after my good friend died and asking for his job. That was the scene that got me to do this part, because I thought it was so well written. The drama of that situation.

Question:
In what ways are you most like and least like your character?

Aidan Quinn:
It's funny, when I'm playing a role I have to watch myself a little bit. Any detective will answer the phone "Detective Sweeney", really abrupt, short, get to the point and it's partly to put people on the defensive that are just going to have nonsense to say so that they'd better get to the point, or it's just to get to the point. And when you start talking to your wife and daughter like that, they start saying why are you talking like that? You have to kind of watch yourself.

Question:
One of the things that really makes the British series work is the chemistry between the cast. How well does the cast of the American version get along?

Aidan Quinn:
Oh, fantastic. We have a lot of laughs, there's great comraderie, I think there's developing doubles between Kirk Acevedo and Tim Griffin. Brian O'Byrne is wonderful as the frowning, serious straightman who's actually very, very funny. And Damon Gupta has a great, great sly sense of humor. I think it's all there.

Question:
Have you met your British counterparts, the people who do your job on the British version of the show?

Aidan Quinn:
I have met Helen Mirren numerous times over the years, but not sense I got this show. But no, I haven't met anyone else.

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