The USA Network has achieved a reputation as both a cable TV ratings juggernaut, and a network which strives to create the perfect blend of drama and comedy. The network will continue this programming trend with the new series Common Law, which airs its series premiere Friday, May 11 at 9 PM ET.
The show centers on two L.A. detectives who have been top cops for the past seven years, but now they just can't seem to get along. Although Travis Marks (Michael Ealy) and Wes Mitchell (Warren Kole) are still great police officers, their constant bickering has forced their captain (Jack McGee) to shake things up a bit, by sending them both to attend couples counseling sessions, to work out their differences. The actor talked about the rapport he developed with his co-star, which didn't take very long to develop.
"I hate to say it. Yes, it came easy. We didn't go on like a retreat, anything like that. We didn't go play basketball for a week or anything like that. I mean we had nothing in common other than we were both from the, you know, Eastern Maryland-Virginia area, and we were both Redskins fans, but it's not like we went to a game together and hung out. We just clicked. I think there's a certain connection that we both have to the material and our respective roles that end up somehow lining up perfectly and we just clicked. Hats off to USA for casting both of us together and recognizing the chemistry in the room, because it was a long process to find the character of Wes and to find the actor to play the character of Wes. And, you know, Warren and I, it was just easy. I don't know how to explain it any other way. It just kind of happened. And so, yes, hats off to USA for that."
Aside from this adversarial relationship with his partner, Travis has a very unique background. He bounced in and out of 18 foster homes while growing up, and the actor explained that viewers will be introduced to some of these foster family members in Season 1.
"One of the things that was explained to me is that we're going to meet a lot of Travis's foster family members, and that was just beyond exciting for me. I've never seen a character like that. I've never seen a character with that many mothers. I've never seen a character with so many brothers. And the scene with Money, his Samoan brother, that's just one small portion of his childhood. It makes for a much more interesting character, I think, to come from so many diverse backgrounds. The amount of languages that he understands and, you know, you might not be able to speak them all, but you can understand them because he was there long enough."
The therapy sessions not only end up affecting Travis and Wes' relationship, but it helps them out on cases as well.
"The therapy sessions really become kind of like the Greek chorus of the show, and you know, we begin to work on our cases with whatever therapy is going on in our heads. That to me is the biggest impact of therapy on these guys later on in the season. And I feel like, as far as the other cast mates in therapy, they're very helpful in helping us kind of find our way. There are times when we all team up on Wes, and it's hilarious. There's times when we have to choose sides. You have to choose a side and it just gets a little funny. It gets kind of funny, but it's probably what people are thinking when actual couple's counseling sessions that they just can't say. But on this show we just blurt stuff out."
The series was originally supposed to debut in January, but after a strong critical response, the network decided to move it back for a summer premiere. The move actually paid off better than expected, since the actor also stars in the surprise hit Think Like a Man, which has been the top movie at the box office for the past two weeks. Here's what he had to say about the serendipitous timing.
"All that happened beyond my control and I think it actually worked out better this way. So, you know, I just try to bring my A-game to every single project. And at that point, what happens with the distribution of that project, that's kind of beyond my control. So I learned a long time ago, don't try to control what is beyond your control."