Matt Lauria is in the rare and enviable position of starring in two different shows simultaneously. On Mondays, he plays Caleb, a detective on “The Chicago Code.” Fridays, he is Luke, a high school football player on the final season of “Friday Night Lights.” Lauria revealed why he loves the FNL finale, how Caleb differs from the typical rookie cop and why “Friday Night Lights” alumni are taking over Hollywood.
What can you tell me about Luke’s storyline on this season of “Friday Night Lights”?
Last season for him was a very interesting and pivotal moment in his life, with the pregnancy and everything. It compels him to a new level of responsibility, a responsibility that was beyond his social and age maturity. This season is more about him taking ahold of that and I think becoming more of a man. I think it’s fitting. He’s a senior in high school. He’s growing up. This is a time when he is going to have to prioritize and get more accurate, and possibly unflattering, glimpse at himself.
Luke gets the most bittersweet ending of all the characters. How did you feel about that?
It totally blindsided me, the whole army thing. But I really dig it. In my heart of hearts I wanted to see Luke go off and become a big college stud at a division 1 school. But in terms of storytelling, I loved it because I think it’s truthful. It speaks to the reality of so many young kids’ lives with these huge dreams. I think that, in terms of the tone of the show, it’s right on par. It’s truthful. It’s honest. It’s not afantastical Hollywood dream story. In terms of the character, I also think that it’s realistic.
What was it like working with the original cast members on the finale?
I loved it. I’m a huge, die hard fan of the show. So for me, it was so cool seeing all of your favorite characters come back. Being on set with some of them, interacting with some of them, it’s just [amazing.] It’s a testament to Jason Katims and the writing staff to have it be such a rewarding, reverent finish to such an epic storyline, without going big and having a Hollywood ending.
You’re one of many “Friday Night Lights” cast members have gone on to major roles on other shows. Why do you think everyone from Dillon, Texas is doing so well in Hollywood?
“Friday Night Lights” is obviously one of the greatest shows in television history. It was such a treat. My point is that it’s the kind of show because the writing’s so excellent, it really highlighted the actors. A lot had to do with the way it was shot, but also how it’s written.
Is it frustrating being on two critically acclaimed shows that don’t do well in the Nielsen ratings?
“Friday Night Lights” didn’t have great ratings. “Chicago Code” has higher ratings than “Friday Night Lights.” We’re in the 7 to 9 million bracket, I think. I think that we’re not a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination. We’re certainly not a hit, but that might take time to develop. It might take going into season two to rally let that audience grow. With our DVR numbers, I feel like people are responding very positively to it.
How is Caleb different from Luke?
Caleb is much more cerebral, more intellectually dynamic. Luke was more emotionally bound up and didn’t have the maturity or the life experience to have clarity on certain things. That’s what I love about him. There’s a part of him that’s so passionate and impulsive but also just trying to figure it out. It’s a blast to have this much variety in my career. To go from football to law enforcement.
What can you tell me about “Chicago Code’s” finale?
I get shot and die. I’m just kidding. What I love about the show is that my guy is a rookie detective. He’s paired up with Wyscoki who is this tried and true cop. But the thing I love is it’s not this rookie cop-senior cop thing that you see all over the place. Both of the guys have something to bring to the table. Over time, they gain each other’s respect.
What would you like to see happen to Caleb next season?
He could get a girlfriend. You have to keep watching this season to get a sense of how this guy is because of how he behaves. You really know very little about his personal life and so I really look forward to uncovering those layers.