‘Debris’ Stars Scroobius Pip & Norbert Leo Butz on the Mysterious Anson and Playing ‘Political Chess’
If you have questions about the ex-military, mysterious Anson Ash (Scroobius Pip), one of many characters trying to recover wreckage from an alien spacecraft affecting the world, you won’t want to miss the March 29 episode of Debris.
“You’re going to see a lot coming up,” Pip promised during a recent press junket. “You’re going to see the spread of my Influx operatives and my Influx team. Episode 5, kind of out nowhere, you get to know who we are. Episode 6, I start to reveal my motives and my reason for doing this.”
In fact, after that, you may also start questioning if he’s still the bad guy.
“I genuinely think there’s some stuff coming up that may split the audience,” Pip continued. “Some will continue to think of [him and his team] as the enemy, but some [might not]. That’s reflective of the way the world is at the moment: There are really stark views and differences of opinions. Anson and [CIA’s Craig] Maddox [played by Norbert Leo Butz] are either side of that. We get some really good moments in the coming weeks, our [Robert] De Niro and [Al] Pacino in Heat moment, where we get to both lay down why we think we’re on the right side of history.”
And as we learn more about him, we’ll also learn more about his team. “You get to see the size and scope of the team he’s leading,” Pip teased. “You get to see him in his leadership role and as they’ve touched upon, Influx isn’t a splinter group of five or six people. It’s a greater being with many tentacles and he’s one of the heads of this creature.”
Pip also explained that Anson’s history will have more similarities with Maddox, CIA’s Bryan Beneventi, played by Jonathan Tucker, and MI6’s Finola Jones, played by Riann Steele, “than you would have thought in the first place.” That maybe shouldn’t be too surprising considering they’re all after the same thing: the debris and figuring out why it’s “reacting in specific ways for a reason.”
It’s because they’re all after the same thing — the CIA and MI6 may be working together as part of the Orbital team, but each agency still very much wants to find answers before the other — that they’re all playing a “game of political chess,” Butz said. That includes: “What information do we give out? What do we hold back? When is the right time to give it out? Why are we holding it back? Does the means justify the ends?”
That’s not just between agencies, either. It’s also there between Maddox and Bryan, even if the former sees the latter as his mentee and has a “genuine affection” for him, Butz added. “There’s a wariness there, a mistrust, as there is among anybody who works in intelligence. That’s part of the job. There’s an interesting quote: ‘You can deny the truth at any time when you’re dealing with intelligence because you never have all of it.'”
If the first four episodes have told us anything, it’s that it’ll be some time before we have even some of the answers in the NBC drama.
Debris, Mondays, 10/9c, NBC