Brian Markinson Talks The Romeo Section + A Preview of “Incendiary”

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

This week on The Romeo Section, Rufus pushes back against the neighborhood watch while (maybe) protecting Shorts, his dad (Yay! Donnelly Rhodes) pops around for a visit, and Mei Mei lays out exactly what she needs from him.

On the false flag front, there’s new interest that rounds back to Sproule, who gets an earful from Wolfgang about working Lily. Wolfgang, meanwhile, is surprised to see a familiar old face as his investigation deepens, and Norman spends the day with Sonya to keep her safe when her (probably not) cousin comes calling.

When I visited the set last month, I sat down with Brian Markinson to talk about the show and his role.

Markinson is a familiar face who’s worked in Canadian-filmed movies and TV shows, as well as American projects shot in the States, for years, and he’s no stranger to the Haddockverse. You might remember him as the vile, duplicitous police chief Bill Jacobs from both Da Vinci’s Inquest and Da Vinci’s City Hall as well as the one-off follow-up, The Quality of Life.

Chris Haddock wrote Norman specifically for Markinson and it was an easy sell. “He took me out to lunch and he said this guy is a gay, drug-addicted, loose cannon, emotional …,” he recalls. “I said, ‘You had me at gay.’ He didn’t really pitch the season. He [just] said that it would have to do with a false flag.”

“I have history with Chris Haddock. We did a film together, Bruce Greenwood and I … this fantastic film that Chris wrote called The Life. I wasn’t able to do Intelligence. When this came around … I had just gotten back from Morocco and he pitched this thing to me, and I said, ‘I’m in.’ It was very easy for me. This is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. Chris is as good as there is out there.”

“Over the course of the season, Chris has done very well … developing this relationship [between Norman and Wolfgang]. We’re polar opposites in terms of energy and I think it benefits the show. You find out that he’s having the time of his life. He’s been living in the shadows for the better part of [20 years].”

“You do find out some things about him. He’s not necessarily built for the world he was thrown into. He has the will … whereas Wolfgang is a cold, detached assassin in terms of his energy. Norman has a tendency to be more volatile. There’s a certain pushing I do to keep Wolfgang from becoming too reticent.”

Genre fans will recall that Markinson played the surprisingly resilient chief inspector Dillon on all four seasons of Continuum, and while the role was pretty straightforward, he appreciated the longevity of working with the cast and crew. “My scenes were very procedural, but it was fun to apply that makeup. For me, ambiguity is always the most fun to play,” he explains.

“I like things that challenge me. With the guest star parts I play, I try to find some gravitas and emotional challenge. With the long-term parts, we build a family here and I love it. For me, if it’s great on the page, I love it. [The length of the job] makes no difference to me. Good writing is fun to play. I’m always looking for the right series that will take me a few seasons. I think that’s the most fun.”

With The Romeo Section wrapped, Markinson is back at work on Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, which was renewed this year for three more seasons and is shooting all of the remaining episodes back to back.

The Romeo Section airs Wednesdays at 9:00/9:30 NT on CBC.  This week’s episode, “Incendiary,” is directed by the fabulous Anne Wheeler.

Photos Courtesy of Bravo, Showcase, and CBC; Video Courtesy of CBC.

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