NBC’s ‘Event’ Returns with a Vengeance

by | March 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM | The Event, TV News

Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez on 'The Event' (Photo: Patrick Ecclesine/NBC)

Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez on 'The Event' (Photo: Patrick Ecclesine/NBC)

Zeljko Ivanek and Blair Underwood, two of the stars of NBC’s “The Event,” have almost as little information about the direction of the show as viewers do. And that’s fine by them.

“I just kind of want to take the ride as my character takes the ride,” said Underwood of his character, President Elias Martinez.

“I still don’t know what ‘The Event’ is, I don’t know how many or if any of our cast members do,” said Ivanek, who plays Blake Sterling, the Director of National Intelligence.

“In some sense, I know as much as my character does at that moment and in some ways that’s not a bad place to be,” he said.

“The Event” is a first-year ensemble drama that also stars Jason Ritter as a man who goes looking for his kidnapped girlfriend and ends up in the middle of a government conspiracy. Laura Innes also stars as Sofia, the leader of a group of aliens who have been secretly living on earth for decades.

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The show premiered to good reviews, but stumbled in the ratings and took a three-month hiatus for tinkering. It returns with a two-hour episode March 7 and run 11 new episodes in a row to finish the season. NBC has yet to make a decision on its future.

Invanek and Underwood discussed the show in a recent conference call.

Underwood said the break was helpful from a production standpoint, but he didn’t love the idea at first. “I was frustrated and concerned just because momentum is always a good thing,” he said.

Underwood said that the flashbacks and jumbled timelines were the show’s “Achilles’ heel” and writers have done away with that device. The episodes will be linear to finish the season.

Episode 15 was directed by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who shot “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List” among many others, but had limited directorial experience. Both Underwood and Ivanek raved about his storytelling ability. The episode airdate hasn’t yet been announced.

“When you see episode 15 you’ll probably see a different look and style to the show,” Underwood said.

Ivanek offered a small tease for the remainder of the season.

“What’s coming up very soon is a major shift in the relationship between Sofia and the president and that’s kind of a driving force for the season,” he said.

The relationship between the characters of Ivanek and Underwood will also change. “Especially in the later episodes (Blake is) the only person that the president can really trust,” Underwood said.

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Ivanek has a long history of playing glorious baddies, from his more recent Emmy-winning role of a morally corrupt lawyer in “Damages” to a vampire leader in “True Blood” back to Andre Drazen in “24” in 2002.

“I find it a good thing to keep working, so the type casting doesn’t bother me as much as you might think,” Ivanek joked of his on-screen dark side.

“That’s one of the things I’ve really liked as the season went on, I think the assumption was that because I was playing the part, he was going to be the bad guy,” Ivanek said of his character, who has turned out to be patriotic and not as devious as he first seemed.

“There’s a moment at the end of this double episode, it’s a real action adventure episode for my character… but it ends with a real moment of having to reassess his view of the whole situation and his view of the aliens,” Ivanek teased.

“I think there’s a real moment of clarity for Sterling that he didn’t see coming.”

“The Event” is back tonight, Monday, March 7, with a two-hour episode at 8 p.m. on NBC and switches to its regular 9 p.m. time-slot next week.