March 14, 2012 11:21am PT by Philiana Ng
'Missing' First Look: Actor Cliff Curtis on Ashley Judd, Complicated CIA Dynamics and Season 2
Ashley Judd returns to the small screen in ABC's midseason CIA drama Missing, premiering March 15 at 8 p.m.
In the international series (locations include France, Italy, Prague, Czech Republic, Croatia, Russia, Turkey and Istanbul), Judd stars as former CIA agent Becca Winstone, whose pride and joy (at the moment) is being a mother to her teenage son Michael (Nick Eversman). Soon after she sends him off to Europe, she discovers that he's become missing. It's her quest to learn who the kidnappers are that starts her off on an emotional journey that may be connected to her CIA past.
One of the co-stars on the show, Cliff Curtis, plays a pivotal role in Becca's search as the head of CIA headquarters in Europe, Dax Miller. In a first look (see above) of one of the scenes in Thursday's episode, Dax and Becca come to an understanding of sorts and Dax, who at first itches to bring in "a rogue agent" and send her back to the States, gives her a few hours of leeway.
"We begin this relationship where it goes back and forth," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I help her out, she helps me out. As things evolve, we find out 10 years have passed since she was an agent. It connects back to her past story. Each episode goes deeper into the past life and what was going on back then, it's directly connected to the absence of her son. At a certain point she becomes an asset as much as a liability."
Curtis spoke to THR about being a cog in the Missing machine, the complicated dynamics between Becca and Dax, one of his character's biggest struggles and the likelihood of a second season.
The Hollywood Reporter: Can you describe who you play on Missing and how you play into Becca's search for her son?
Cliff Curtis: Primarily, I'm more concerned with [Becca], what she's up to and I'm trying to contain the situation. I have orders [to] get her back home where she belongs without creating too many problems. When I hear her story that she's not concerned with the CIA, she's not concerned with any of the operations, she just wants her son, I attempt to help her against my orders. We begin this relationship where it goes back and forth. I help her out, she helps me out. As things evolve, we find out 10 years have passed since she was an agent. It connects back to her past story. Each episode goes deeper into the past life and what was going on back then, it's directly connected to the absence of her son. At a certain point she becomes an asset as much as a liability.
THR: Dax at first seems like the stereotypical CIA agent who's just wanting to do his job and he starts to realize there's more to who Becca is ..
Curtis: I'm becoming engaged by her mission to find her son on a personal level. One of the greatest themes is about family, work, what's important to us, what we're willing to give up for our career, our beliefs and the sacrifices we make with our family. I think my character is estranged from his mother, who's estranged from his family. He made a choice for his career over his family and Becca made a choice for her family over career. She made choices in her life that my character could not. He's seeing the cost to that and his estrangement from his family.
THR: Dax is unclear on how his life would have been had he gone a different route ..
Curtis: Each episode Becca has to make a number of different choices on a number of different levels. One level is, "What's going to help me?" Her ultimate aim is to get her son. There's a certain point where I'm involved at that level too. How do I protect this family? Then there's protecting our nation and our national security. Where's the line? What's the value of international relations and national security if we can't protect a single family unit.
THR: Will we find out more about his relationship with his family and where that went wrong?
Curtis: My family story is the secondary story, which will give you a sense of what motivates the character, but we get more into his personal life. There's more going on there than his estrangement to his family. What's fun about the spy genre is there's a lot of smoke and mirrors. There's a lot of people making trades and often the exchanges are human lives. One of the tensions that the writers and the producers have done, is having everybody be very close to the line of righteousness.
THR: Where you aware to certain information about your character others weren't privvy to?
Curtis: I was supposed to be taken out about episode 8 and they changed that. Even though they knew what the resolution needed to be but it's like a game of chess, you had to move things around on the board and see how things were playing out so they could fine tune those things.
THR: Since filming ended in October, how does it feel to finally have the show premiering on television?
Curtis: We wrapped it up last year and had enough amount of time to position the show exactly the way they wanted it. They were doing a big push during the Oscars week, committing to our show in that way, and it's going to push us right through to sweeps. We can have a straight run of our show. I think that's a good for the audience. We know what time slot we have and we know how many episodes this [season] is going to be.
THR: What can you tease to what viewers should be expecting?
Curtis: In terms of my character, there's a little bit of romantic stuff that happens there, I can't say which character because that would give it away. In terms of the show, there's a very clear resolution at the end. It's like a spy novel. You can have a series of novels and a spy, like James Bond, and each series is a complete novel and each episode is a chapter in that novel. There's a new hook for the setup [for] the second [season].
Missing premieres March 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.