'Berlin Station' Star Leland Orser Talks Battling Russian Threats in Season 3 (VIDEO)
Those wacky spies are back!
The team managing the Berlin CIA station in Germany's capital is back on Sunday as EPIX's drama, Berlin Station, kicks off season three. A year has passed on the show and when we revisit our favorite group of intrepid spies (and those who manage them), there's more trouble ahead like Russian threats, vulnerable NATO allies and the estimable James Cromwell as new character Gilbert Dorn, a onetime CIA legend with loose lips.
Here are a few things to know to catch you up on where we left things in the season finale:
AGENT IN CHARGE
Stoic station chief BB Yates (Ashley Judd) was relieved of her duties after ignoring protocol (albeit for the good of the team). Tough administrator Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes) has stepped up while still mentoring green case officer April Lewis (Keke Palmer), who will get her share of the action this season.
Colorful ex-agent Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans) seemingly took a fatal bullet before authorities could nab him as a suspected political assassin, but it turns out his death was a ruse. He loves assuming new identities, so don't be surprised if he pops up as someone completely different.
Deputy chief Robert Kirsch (Leland Orser) and Yates had a fling last season. She’ll eventually be back in a new capacity, and he’ll be busy reining in reckless new agent Rafael Torres (Ismael Cruz Córdova) — see the exclusive clip featuring the new face to the show below. Brainy agent Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage, left) and crafty German Esther Krug (Mina Tander) also juggled work and play — and that won’t stop!
Need more intel? TV Insider recently sat down with Orser to get his take on where Kirsch is this season and what's different in terms of fresh faces and, for the show, a new showrunner. (You can also watch the season 3 premiere for free now on the EPIX website)
How is Kirsch doing in the new season? I won’t spoil it but his first line this season is just so fantastic.
Leland Orser: The big, big thing with Robert Kirsch this season is trust. Who does he trust and who trusts him? Who doesn't he trust? Who's he right about, and who's he wrong about in putting his trust in.
Is this based on Season 2 stuff or is there more coming that will shake his trust in those around him?
There's the whole Valerie-Robert trust thing. There's the BB-Robert trust thing and then there's there the Torres-Kirsch trust thing. What's really interesting is the arc of that relationship and how they come to terms and how they come to rely on each other. At one point, I say “you stick to being the action hero. I'm the analyst," and then that flips later in the season.
So we get to see Kirsch do some badass moves?
Yes! But Robert makes a lot of mistakes this season. This season is a spiral, a descent for him into a bad dark place. He makes decisions and the repercussions based on those decisions are not good ones. He has to stand behind them, and fix them and deal with the consequences.
That must’ve been fun to play.
It was. It was dark. It was hard. It was dark and sad and filled with a lot of doubt. It brings out the worst in him, his obsessive behavior, his complete dedication to his work and then the rug is pulled out from under him and he starts to question himself and question it all.
Who is he leaning on through a lot of this?
It becomes Torres and April. It's interesting that Robert ends up being buttressed by the younger members of the team.
Last season we were able to see Kirsch with his son, Noah (Brandon Spink). Any more of that this season?
Noah stays back in the states but he's present in everything. It's another thing that Robert comes to terms with is that he's a better deputy chief, a better employee of the CIA, better spy than he is a father. He comes to terms with it and accepts that and has regret but functional regret. He's there to get the job done.
How's Robert's relationship with Valerie since she's running the show? I'm sure he's reporting to her in that, but how's their relationship?
It's solid. I think he's really good with her being the head of the station. Robert's in the field this year and he takes orders from her, he reports back to her, he doesn't argue with her. There's one point where they have a conversation about things that happened last season, but it's really no nonsense, right down to business.
Since you're out in the field a lot more, did you like that you weren't constantly in just a suit and tie?
I like wearing the suit and tie but I'm a little hipper this year. Later this season, I have a really good-looking outfit right off the pages of Mr. Porter. Some well-fitted pants and a nice deconstructed jacket and no tie. Plus, I'm next to Ismael (Torres) and it's tough to hold your own next to Ismael. He's buff and ripped and wearing fatigues. He looks good in anything.
Ismael Cruz Cordova is a great addition as Torres. Who else?
We have James Cromwell. The two of them — Richard Jenkins and James Cromwell — do a lot together. They’d get rounds of applause from the crew. How frequently do you see two actors of there level together, acting together?
I love in the first episode there’s a scene with pretty much everyone celebrating the Fourth of July. We don’t get to see those moments too often.
There's a lightness to that scene and we make a toast to America and to family. That's really the last moment in this season that will feel like that. It goes dark fast, and the s**t hits the fan fast. They've also gone tighter with the camera this year. The camera is more part of the action instead of observing of the action.
And you have a new showrunner in Jason Horwitch (House of Cards, Rubicon). How’s that been?
He's an incredible collaborator — as were the other showrunners — but he jumped right in and captained the ship immediately. He took the performances and the storylines that we had done in the first two seasons and he went back in time before those storylines and then he built on what had been presented. It was seamless. It was like he had been a part of it all along.
In this exclusive clip, Kirsch and Miller find out quickly that Torres is the kind of agent to do things his own way:
Berlin Station, Season 3 Premiere, Sunday, December 2, 9/8c, Epix. Watch the season 3 premiere for free now on the EPIX website.
This article also appeared in the November 26 - December 9 issue of TV Guide Magazine.