If you’ve read me a while (thank you!), you know that I have my favorites. I tend to write about things that bring me joy. Y’all already know how much I’m loving The Romeo Section, and I was beyond thrilled when Chris Haddock gave us the exclusive news that his Da Vinci’s Inquest alum Ian Tracey would be dropping in for an arc.
Tracey was kind enough to jump on the phone with me to chat exclusively about his return to the Haddock universe, as well as his recent appearances on Continuum and Bates Motel, a super-secret hush project, his short film with his son, Keenan, and his pending new project at Syfy, a pilot called Incorporated.
We met Tracey’s TRS character Fergie a few weeks back, and he shared that there will be a slow roll out of what we know and when we know it about his character, but he loved coming back to work for Haddock. “I’ve kept in contact with Chris over the years in a social kind of way. He’s a man who’d got many irons in the fire all the time and there was talk that he had something going but we didn’t talk specifically about me being in it,” he recalls. “I knew he was probably wanting to start fresh and trying to be a good friend I didn’t press about him about being employed. I found out a little bit into the show that they were interested in me doing a part and of course in a heartbeat I’m going to accept the role. I’m happy to be working on a Chris Haddock project in any capacity.”
“As far as the audience would know right now, [my character] is a drug squad cop for the VPD and he’s a street level cop in a similar way to how Wolfgang is gaining assets on a sort of international spy level, he’s recruiting assets on the street to follow up on drug crime, and there’s an overlap between him and Wolfgang that they’ve had some case in the past that hasn’t been revealed.”
If we’re lucky enough to get a second season, Tracey says we could see his character return. “I think it’s highly possible you’ll see him again. There’s part of a storyline there that they’ll want to pursue,” he teases. “They’ve got a few levels, tiers of activity going on in the show. I think that one will remain for a little while because I’m kind of fruit on the tree. It’s definitely [taking the] long way and interesting how the different layers are intertwining from local to international to south of the border. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”
Tracey played a detective, and then coroner in the Da Vinci’s series, and then a very powerful drug lord in Intelligence. He’s enjoyed creating characters who exist on both sides of the law. “I think there is interest and enjoyment and fun to play on ether side of the coin,” he explains. As I’ve discovered in the past playing Mick and Jimmy and now Fergie, it’s all the same world and they’re kind of the same people with different morals that are diametrically opposed, which creates tension so that we want to see how things turns out when things have gone awry.”
When we left Jimmy Reardon at the end of Intelligence, he was bleeding out in the doorway of his club after a drive by shooting. Tracey would love to return to that character, and he and TPTB often talked afterward about where they could have gone from there if season three had happened. “There was a definitely a long plan but maybe things concluded or didn’t conclude because the end was nigh. Who knows how that could’ve turned out,” he muses.
“I had many imaginations about how he could have survived. We had many post-series pow wows about what could have been and should have been. I keep the dream alive that maybe that would continue one day. In some ways it feels like The Romeo Section is just another leg of Intelligence. It’s the same, similar world, [just with] different players and gangs to follow.”
Tracey had a recurring role in the first and second seasons of Bates Motel as Remo, Dylan’s colleague in the drug trade. Remo was tabled this past season but Tracey would happily pick the character back up in season four if asked. “As far as I know, so far, I haven’t heard anything [about returning], but I would love to play that part again,” he says. “I would love to get back in on the story there. I guess in the third season, they needed room for that father/son thing to play out. If they called me, I’d head back for that. I loved that show.”
In a dramatically different role (for which he won a Leo in 2013), Tracey played Jason, Alec’s son from the future, throughout the run of Continuum. Tracey didn’t know going in how long his arc would run, or that Jason would eventually be revealed as Alec’s son and not his father. “It’s hard to know what these master craftsmen have in mind in this day and age [with] the speed at which things get made,” he explains. “People like to keep their cards pretty close to their chest.”
“The stage I’m at now in my career, I’m rolling in and playing side guys, sort of a hired gun character actor, so I’m not really privy to the [details]. If you’re a lead, you’re a little more aware of that. When you’re coming in and out as a recurring character, it’s coming at you as a surprise each time, which was nice, it kept me on my toes. Especially with a part like that because they could have thrown anything at me. The guy was loopy.”
“It was a really good experience to sort of have no rules and nobody’s expectations, and in fact the expectation was that any physical ticks or mental stumblings, if that was happening to you naturally as an actor, I could let it happen and not correct it as a stumble. I could trip my way through it without being too specific each time.” I asked if he knew what was in Jason’s note for his father, which he handed to Kiera before she left. He said no. “That’s gotta be left to each person’s interpretation.”
This fall, Tracey filmed the Syfy pilot for Incorporated, and now he’s waiting for word on a series pickup. “Things are percolating. I have high hopes for that show. It’s a great idea,” he says. “It takes place a little bit down the road in the future. There are good sides of town and bad side of town, and let’s say that I would be an entrepreneurial type on the bad side of town. A promoter amongst other things.”
Tracey has amassed a ton of credits, from series regular work to one-offs to feature roles. Yes, he’s that guy mouthing off to Superman in Man of Steel. And in the last year, in addition to The Romeo Section and Continuum, you may have caught him in shows like Strange Empire, The 100, Killjoys, Backstrom, and Wayward Pines. He also returned to Heartland for another episode. He’s happy that he’s getting to do all kinds of work. “There’s the security of doing a recurring role [where] you have characters to build on and you can add depth over time if you’ve been given months or years of seasons to build on a character, and of course there’s the security in being employed,” he points out. “But the one-offs give you the creativity to do new things, which you might begin to crave after doing a regular series. There [are] rewards on both sides.”
While he worked on Inquest and Intelligence, Tracey also stepped behind the camera to direct four episodes between both shows. He’d like to direct again, but didn’t feel the need to dive right back into that when Intelligence wrapped. “I really loved directing. Chris was good enough over two shows to give me four cracks at, so I guess after the first one, he was accepting of my style,” he remembers. “I sort of felt once Intelligence was down…there’s a certain comfort to directing on a show I was already involved in, and I knew everybody and I was there for every episode, and I really knew what was going on and felt comfortable with the genre and the way it was being shot.”
“When that was down, a lot of sci-fi was starting to happen and the camera gear was changing, and a lot of time there’s a perception that when you direct on a show you act in, it can be perceived as a vanity credit and that maybe you were coddled and babysat. I didn’t want to throw my name in the hat with so many great TV directors that were already out there, so I [decided] I’d wait for a chance to direct a small feature or a short or something I had a part in seeding.”
Tracey recently filmed a short called Blood opposite his son, Keenan. They’d previously worked together onscreen in DirecTV’s Rogue [and in Bates Motel but they weren’t onscreen together]. “[Blood] was a great experience. I think they’re shopping it around to festivals. These are people who have been in the industry for a long time in different capacities and now and they’re coming together and they want to make some of their own films and they’re doing a handful of shorts to kind of show people what kind of handle they have on the situation,” he says. “I think it was a really well-written piece,. I liked the style of the shooting. It was a period piece, very quiet and still and very meaningful between an estranged father and son. It was a joy looking across at my own boy while the camera was rolling and see him really be an actor. It was great.”
In late October, Dark Matter‘s Roger Cross (and Tracey’s Continuum co-star) Tweeted this:
— Roger Cross (@therogercross) October 28, 2015
I asked Tracey if he could discuss that project and he gave us a teeny, tiny tease. “Some people make us sign an NDA and some people give us a nod and a wink and hope you’ll make the wise choice about what to say,” he laughs. “There’s a project brewing that I’m taking part in with some new skills that I haven’t had to use before. We were doing some motion capture footage that day. It’s a very interesting project. I’m glad to be part of it.”
A couple of years ago, Tracey worked on Hell in a Handbag, a film for his longtime friend Martin Cummins — a supernatural crime comedy of sorts that starred a who’s who of Canadian talent. We’re still waiting to see it. “[It’s] a fun one. It’s really a fun movie. I’m looking forward to seeing it finished. I saw part of it a while ago,” he says. “It still had some [post-production to do]. I know Martin had a lot of fun putting that together. It was a lot of good friends working together It was just a hoot. We all had silly characters, too. It was fun to goof around a little bit.”
You can catch Tracey tonight in an all-new episode of The Romeo Section at 9 e/p on The CBC. Here are three sneak peeks. Enjoy!
Photos Courtesy of The CBC and Showcase. Videos Courtesy of The CBC.