Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eriq LaSalle on the record with Newsarama

Newsarama: In 25 to Life, the revolves around an experimental FBI unit that uses incarcerated criminals to gain insight on outstanding cases. How'd this idea come to you?

Eriq La Salle: Well, we originally developed it as a television series with my production company. Once a month I charge my employees with certain assignments, and on one of these months it was to pitch ideas for a different take on cop shows - something that was fresh, original and inventive. Someone came back with the idea of a cop show where the police deal with criminals directly, so for the next year or so we fleshed that idea out and went really deep and came up with something interesting and fresh.

What we came up with as 25 To Life, and after we got involved with 12 Gauge it popped up as an ideal story to tell as a comic.

Nrama: What attracted you personally to the story that 25 To Life developed into?

La Salle: It's the age-old question, or curiosity rather of 'what exactly is the line between good and evil?' and 'what is the delineation between a cop and a criminal?' It seems like the best cops are in touch with the darker parts of their personality. You could say that their skill sets are similar to criminals; they say that the best criminals would make good cops, and the best cops would have made the best of criminals. It's a very interesting parallel which came forward as we developed 25 To Life. That theory is both provocative and thoughtful so it resonates well.

Nrama: Leading the team is Special Agent Gabriel Santana - a man with a lot of experience, and little time for bureaucratic red tape as it seems. He's our main man in the book, but who is he really?

La Salle: He turns it on when he has to turn it on. With a mind like his, he's always thinking things through; very calculating and analytically. In the personal lives of Gabriel and the rest of the cast, they are all somewhat everyday people who have their own demons; even though they're the 'good guys', they have their own plusses and minuses.

So Gabriel is a great guy - very much a man's man; very strong, direct and ethical, with a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. He has through experience come to realize that you can't always take the high road though; in dealing with criminals who don't respect the rule book, a cop playing strictly by those rules is at a distinct disadvantage. Santana understands how criminals think, and when necessary, he does what has to be done. His first priority is catching the bad guy, so if that means he has to 'bend the rules', he'll do whatever it takes. (click on the title above for more...)

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