Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
“There's something going on with this guy.”
While that’s how “FBI: Most Wanted” showrunner David Hudgins described Supervisory Special Agent Remy Scott, he could’ve just as easily been describing the actor playing the show’s new lead: Dylan McDermott.
For 25 years, McDermott has been a fixture on television, starting with his time as attorney Bobby Donnell on “The Practice.” More recently, he’s worked with industry giants Ryan Murphy (on “American Horror Story,” “Hollywood”) and Dick Wolf (“Law & Order: Organized Crime”).
When “FBI: Most Wanted” star Julian McMahon unexpectedly announced he was leaving the hit series, now in its third season, Hudgins was thrilled to learn McDermott was interested in taking over.
Think of it as Josh Allen replacing Jim Kelly.
“We've all been excited both on the production side – and I think the audience is excited, as well,” Hudgins said in a virtual roundtable on Wednesday. “Dylan brings a completely new feel to the team in all the best ways. We've had a blast writing for him. I've had a blast looking at his work, working with him on the character; and I just think he brings such a new energy to the show. And I think the audience is really gonna respond to it.”
McDermott’s Remy will join the FBI fugitive task force in Tuesday’s episode, which centers on the nefarious underpinnings of a cult-like church. He is immediately portrayed as a well-thought-of wheel-greaser, with an impressive resume in law enforcement. But as the episode unfolds, and the team begins to learn more about Remy, Hudgins’ comment rings true: “There's something going on with this guy.”
The actor said, “I thought it was important that when we were talking about the character, that there was a personal reason that he was doing what he was doing. It fuels me as an actor when I have that. And it's proven to be true so far in doing these three episodes that I just completed.”
He added, “What's different about Remy, I think, than other procedurals, is a lot of these shows, they're just people doing things because that's their job, and they do a good job. But with Remy, it's very personal what he's doing. He's on a mission. He's on a quest. And there's a dynamic inside of him that he's trying to figure out; his own psychology.”
Remy Scott (Dylan McDermott) is back in action. (Photo: Mark Schäfer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved.)
Hudgins said, “The idea of a new leader coming into a team is such an interesting dynamic to play as writers. You know, everybody has a different style. And what's fun about this episode – and even the next couple of episodes going forward – is, as we start to unpack more about who Remy is, you start to see the way the rest of the team is responding to him.
“One of my favorite things about the new energy and vibe of the team is there's a lightness to it, in a good way, you know? I feel like we can lean into the moment of the humor on the show now with Dylan. I think the way he's playing him is very surprising both to the team – sometimes to us in a good way, too. It's like, ‘Wow. That's great. We should lean into that.’ ”
McDermott said, “I think that Remy is such a great character to play because he's complex. He's not just one thing, you know? And that's what's cool about him. … David and I were talking about this the other day. You think he's one thing and, all of a sudden, he'll do something completely different or say something, and he has a great sense of humor. …
“Even though he is an open book in many ways, he likes to keep it light and fresh. He will go deep but, at the same time, he can only take so much.”
McDermott said his recent portrayal of Richard Wheatley on “Law & Order” was so successful – so devious – that viewers started to identify him as a “bad guy.”
Though he didn’t have a lot of time between roles, McDermott said “now it was time to play someone good again. And Remy Scott is that character.”
McDermott said, “I found myself daydreaming about what I would do on the show, but I didn’t have a script. So, I was sort of limited in my daydream, if you will. But I would, nonetheless. I always daydream about a character, and I spend time with them.
“But then I got the script, and I was just so floored because it was so good and it was so detailed, and you really found out who Remy was, and his backstory, and his relationships, and what happened to him; and then I was really able to do a deep dive on him. And then, I talked to FBI agents and, you know, I do a whole host of things. And then, as I said before, I try to make it as real as possible for myself.
“All those things kind of lined up, and I was eager to shed the bad guy. That was very successful for me but, at the same time, I knew it was time to change. It was time to go into a lighter side of myself. So, I was eager for Remy to show up, if you will, and he showed his face.
“And it's just been wonderful to work on every day, because there's a level of it that I really enjoy. Because a lot of times, when you're playing a character and it's so well-worn, they start to take over, you know? It's no longer Dylan so much. It becomes Remy.
“And that's why I'm an actor, frankly. That fantasy, when you're playing a character and then they start to feed you ideas – that's when it's fun. And that doesn’t always happen, but it happened to me, really, since I turned 50, for whatever reason. I became free. I don’t know what it is about age, but there's a wonderful side to aging – and aging’s so bad, but there's also another side to the story. When you age, you become more confident. You become more yourself, because you care less about what people think of you.”
“FBI: Most Wanted” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on CBS (WIVB-TV Channel 4).
Remy meets his new unit – and brings bagels. Pictured, from left: Miguel Gomez as Special Agent Ivan Ortiz, Dylan McDermott as Supervisory Special Agent Remy Scott, Keisha Castle-Hughes as Special Agent Hana Gibson and Alexa Davalos as Special Agent Kristin Gaines. (Photo: Mark Schäfer/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved.)