NiceGirlsTV was recently invited to take part in a set visit of the new Lifetime series The Protector at Sony Studios in Culver City, featuring interviews with some of the principal cast and to get a chance to see behind the scenes of this new police drama.
Taking part in the interviews were lead actresses Ally Walker and Tisha Campbell-Martin, who play homicide detectives Gloria Sheppard and Michelle Dulcett, their co-star Terrell Tilford, who plays LAPD Officer Ramon “Romeo” Rush and legendary actress Patty Duke, who has been newly added to the show in the potentially recurring role of Beverly, mother of Gloria.
When asked to describe her character, Tisha explained that Michelle is “a very quirky character, (but) she’s also very smart. She almost always gets her man and (is) always right there, keeping Gloria focused”. She further shared that “Ally and I just clicked immediately; and it definitely comes across on screen.” Ally agreed saying, “(Tisha and) I never met before, but she’s a doll. She’s great to be around; we’re really close.”
Then in talking about what it was about her role that drew her back to being on a weekly series again, Ally shared that it was partially because Gloria is “quirky and smart; she’s not jaded or judgmental,” but she also shared that “I’ve done a lot of drama, a lot of heavy stuff, but I wanted to see if I could do something light and airy” and that is part of the charm about the series. Tisha then shared “(The Protector) is a drama but it has its light-hearted moments. I think Lifetime calls it a drama but it’s really a dramedy.”
Tisha further explained that while she is best known for her work in sitcoms, and while for years she and her actor-husband Duane Martin had agreed to work in comedy simply because “it’s better for a family life (they are the parents of two sons)” it was the right time for her to branch back into dramas, which was the kind of work she did earlier in her career. She went on to say, “it was something that we talked about in our family and we decided we might as well (give it a try) especially “now that our kids are getting older.” As far as striking a balance between the heavier case work and the comedy has been a fun challenge for Tisha with her sharing that “my character lightens the moment at times and (for that matter) Gloria doesn’t (even) know that she’s being funny. It’s a great combination between the two.”
Both ladies then spoke about the ride-alongs and the training in which they all participated in preparation for their roles. Tisha jokingly explained that “I’m the worst shot. They laughed at me.” Ally joined in by saying “I can shoot. I did a lot of that on Profiler and talked to people in the ATF for my role in Sons of Anarchy, but Tisha (isn’t) able to shoot.” Their co-star Terrell also shared “it was really great to unleash at the firing range, but Tisha couldn’t shoot worth anything.” In her own defense, Tisha did say that her brother is an LAPD officer and he has offered to “take me shooting so I (can) get a little better and impress my fellow cast mates.”
In talking about his character, Terrell explained that Ramon was nicknamed Romeo “by some of the people on the force” because his character is “a bit of a ladies man, (but) he is an all-around good guy. He has a real passion for working on the force. He has a “rush” for what he does – i.e. the reason for his name.” He further shared that Ramon “has a good heart and that’s the standing point that I’ve taken (him) from because, for me, no matter what character you’re playing you have to find something that you fall in love with (about) the character so there is nothing of a negative attribute that would be interesting for me to play, to bring him to life.”
When asked what it was about this show that brought her back from Idaho (where she has been living with her husband for decades) and made her want to work again, Ms. Duke shared, “I have been wanting to work for quite some time. I’ve been back to LA a couple times to audition, but (she joked) I got none of them so my son Sean is going to teach me how to audition.” She further explained that Lifetime approached her about the role of Gloria’s mother “and I didn’t have to audition.”
In this role, Ms. Duke shared that “Beverly seems to be the fun grandma with her son and grandchildren, having water fights in the house, but there’s some uncomfortable thing between her and Gloria. It’s not spelled out, it’s just lying there ever so slightly kind of like a little bit of lace; but I’m told that should I keep going with this role [SPOILER] we will explore the fact that (Beverly) is bi-polar.” In the meantime, Ms. Duke explained that she has made up her own backstory for her character because “that is what my need is; but it’s funny how sometimes it really jibes with what the script is and other times it is so far afield that everything is a revelation when I’m at work.”
Shifting topics to upcoming story lines, the viewers will be treated to some very interesting (and very attractive) guest stars according to Tisha, who wasn’t able to elaborate on who those guest stars will be, but she did say that “the women will be happy and probably some of the men might be happy too. The girls are great, the guys are great. I think there is a little bit of something for everyone in the show.” And as far as action goes in the show, Terrell shared that “we get to some action, some movement, some guns drawn, some running, some tackling, a little bit of all of that; and fortunately with my character – they seem to think I can run and tackle – so I get to do all of that. So I’ll be the guy – at least as of right now doing that.
To get in on all the action of The Protector, check out all new episodes Sundays at 10/9c on Lifetime.