Most Wanted’ and Upcoming ‘FBI’ Crossover

Feb 15, 2023

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the “Black Mirror” episode of FBI: Most Wanted.]In the “Black Mirror” episode of the CBS series FBI: Most Wanted, the team went to Vermont to investigate the kidnapping of two teenagers and found themselves in the direct path of a wayward pastor and his brother. With Special Agent Remy Scott (Dylan McDermott) going undercover as a Catholic priest just after having attended a parole hearing for the man who killed his brother, the deeply sinister case pushes him to a boiling point that he needs to learn to better handle, moving forward.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, McDermott talked about using The Exorcist as a muse for episode 412, the constant wound Remy experiences because of the death of his brother, the need to seek justice, wanting this case to be as gruesome as possible, embracing character work, the moment that was cut from the episode, whether Remy might ever be able to find closure, and what he’s looking forward to with the upcoming FBI crossover (between FBI, FBI: International, and FBI: Most Wanted) that’s airing in April.

Collider: This “Black Mirror” episode (episode 412) creeped me out. It’s awful, not because it’s a bad episode, but in the sense of it being horrific thing on top of horrific thing. How do you even get through shooting something like this? Did you get any prior warning about the content, or was reading the script the first time you were exposed to this episode?

DYLAN McDERMOTT: I really don’t wanna know because then I can just throw myself into it completely. I like to make quick decisions. So immediately, when I read it, I thought of The Exorcist and used The Exorcist as a muse. And I was able to use my own personal history with Catholicism, I was able to use that. I made those quick decisions. And then, obviously, his brother was looming in this case, as well, triggered at certain points for Remy, and that turned the volume up a little bit higher, in this episode. There was a lot at stake, for me personally. The parents really hit him hard, with these missing kids, and it was on his shoulders. The combination was really perfect, in many ways, for Remy to get a little bit unhinged.

Image via CBS

Because there are these two components, with his personal life and this case, how do you approach doing an episode like that? Do you take it on, as two separate pieces of the story that you’re telling? Did you look at how one was affecting the other? How did you make sense of his behavior and actions, throughout the episode?

McDERMOTT: His brother is always looming. It’s a gushing wound for him, and it’s never quite been sewn up. It’s always leaking, if you will, in his psyche, so it’s always there. And then, if you poke at it, it gets worse, obviously, and it’s been poked at. And then, coincidentally, there was this case with these kids and their parents, and they’re kidnapped, and then all this religious stuff is going on. That’s why he goes undercover. He says, “Give me a Bible and a priest collar and an old car, and I’ll do it. I’ll handle this.” I think he wants resolution. He wants to know that there is justice in the world. Most of the time, Remy operates on that level. There has to be some kind of justice in this world. As Remy does, he finds a way to get it done, and he doesn’t stop. He’s a dog with a bone.

When it comes to this case, it was quite disturbing, on multiple levels. What was your reaction to actually reading the script? Was there anything that you were concerned with pulling off?

McDERMOTT: I really wanted it to be as gruesome as possible. I remember that we were shooting a scene, and there were pictures of the devil and horns, and all that. I walked into the room and I said, “No, this is not right. There should be animal parts. There should be horns and blood.” It was almost like American Horror Story, in many ways. So, they created this whole world, where the surgery is happening. That was what we needed to make it even more profound, if you will. I was involved in every aspect of this episode. I was really, truly invested. That’s why it’s my favorite of the season. There’s something about playing a character within a character, that that emotional component, all wrapped up. There’s something that you can’t stop, once that happens. The priest took over, in many ways. When I do that character work, sometimes you just have to get out of the way. They take over, and that’s what happened with this.

Image via CBS

When you read this, did you have a moment of, “Hey, wait a minute, I signed on to do this show because Ryan Murphy wasn’t involved. How did we end up back in American Horror Story?”

McDERMOTT: Yeah, exactly. American Horror Story never goes away. It’s always there.

When you’re shooting a case that’s this disturbing, what’s the mood like on set with those actors? Does it feel different, when you’re doing something like this, or do you try to keep things light-hearted, in some way? How do you get through it?

McDERMOTT: It’s interesting, the guest stars are always so great, and these guys, the two brothers, were terrific on this show. I try to make it about the work and really involving myself in the work, with that bathroom scene, especially. That’s why I’m an actor, for scenes like that. When he’s splashing the water on him, and he’s crying, and then he’s grabbing him, and they’re on their knees in the bathroom praying, all of that stuff comes into focus and it’s so rich and deep. That’s why I do this work. There’s something about that, that I still love. Usually, by the time people get to my age, they’ve lost the love of acting. Fortunately, I still haven’t, and I’m so happy because you just never know when that love will leave. In a show like this, and with this particular episode, that love is fully intact.

That whole bathroom scene, it just felt like things weren’t going to go well.

McDERMOTT: That’s the show, though. It doesn’t go well. There are bad people doing horrible things, all the time. It’s our job to find them and bring them to justice.

Image via CBS

How did you gauge just how unhinged you wanted to play that scene?

McDERMOTT: A lot of times, you do different takes and you gauge your performance, and then the editors decide or the producers decide how much is too much or too little. I leave that up to them. There was a moment where I was singing hymns at the cemetery, and I was lost in it, but they decided not to put that in there. So, I leave that up to them and I trust that they know. They left in my hand going onto the van, almost as a blessing, which I thought was cool. You just give them everything, and then they make those decisions.

I feel like we need to see the deleted scenes of this episode.

McDERMOTT: We should do that.

That would be very entertaining.


Clearly things with his brother’s death are not resolved. Do you think Remy will ever be able to find resolution or closure for that, whatever that means for him?

McDERMOTT: Certainly not now. I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. Loss is such a huge part of life, the way people die. It’s a big part of that and how we carry people in our hearts. People go away physically, but they live in your heart. That’s how we carry them on. I always tell my kids that people live in your heart. I think that his brother fills his heart, in many ways. It’s been a terrible loss for him, something that he just can’t find resolution for. So, I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, or if it’s ever gonna happen.

Image via CBS

That’s why it’s so interesting to see, even in his own family, how there are different reactions to the same grief.

McDERMOTT: Yes. Some people easily forgive. Some people move through it. Some people forget about it. Some people live in denial. But for Remy, like I said, it’s a gushing wound and, every day, it’s a part of his life.

One of the things that I find most interesting about your character is that he does have a sense of unpredictability to him. He’ll do something surprising, or he’ll act in a way that seems like he’s going to go too far, but then he doesn’t. What is that like to find and explore, when you’re on a series that does have a very set structure, in the sense that each episode has a case that you solve by the end? Is it surprising that there is that unpredictability, inside of that?

McDERMOTT: Absolutely. That was one of the things I really thought about when I took this job. The word procedural is somehow a dirty word for some because they feel like, “Well, that’s the case, and it’s the same thing.” I was actually excited about that because I always approach everything as if it’s math. I think life is math, and it’s a mathematical problem. I was like, “This is a really interesting thing because people already have these preconceived notions of what a procedural is. This is a great opportunity to mess that up, to actually have a character that feels and goes through things, and maybe goes too far and is invested. It’s not just a case-of-the-week.” I was very interested in messing that up and making it real. It’s a tall order, to actually come in and do that because I don’t think that a lot of actors really do that. I think they’re just approaching it as the case-of-the-week. So, I was like, “How do I stay invested in this, over time?” That’s when his brother’s death came in. I told Dick Wolf and David Hudgins that I wanted to have loss for Remy. For me, that’s been perfect because I can stay invested. I can stay hooked into this character. I think that’s why people keep coming back. You know how it is, you watch a TV show and you like it, and then one day, you don’t like it and you’re never gonna go back to it because it’s awful. But with a show like this, it’s like going to a restaurant. You wanna have good food, but if you have a bad experience, you’re not coming back. I make sure that, with every episode, I’m completely invested in it because I know how fickle people can be. I want them to say, “Great, an episode of Most Wanted is on tonight. We have to watch it.”

Image via CBS

We’re getting another FBI crossover event in April, with all three of these series. What are you most looking forward to with that? What’s it like to figure out how to really bring all of that together when each of the shows have very different casts and they all have a different feel to them?

McDERMOTT: I’m excited. It’s always exciting to push yourself and have new experiences. It’s great to feel out of your comfort zone. You’re going onto a new set with new people and new actors, and they do things one way. I love that. I love going into those environments, as a character, and putting my stamp on it and being there. It’s awkward, but I love awkward because it’s different. It’s not what we’re used to. Having been on so many different movie sets, and working with different actors in my 40 years as an actor, you get used to being with different people and their energies, and what they like or don’t like. I love that because it takes me out of my comfort zone.

Do you think that there’s anyone from any of the FBI shows that Remy would get along with the best, or work with the best, or have the most respect for?

McDERMOTT: The original FBI and FBI: Most Wanted had a softball game. We were up 8-0, and we lost. I was the pitcher, they took me out of the game, and all of a sudden, we lost. So, I’m going over there to settle the score. I believe we’re having another game in May, so that will be part of the conversation, as well.

Dick Wolf has not only one TV franchise, with Law & Order, but he also has another one, with FBI, and you’ve somehow managed to work in both of those worlds. What feels most different between them, as an actor? What have you enjoyed about doing FBI, specifically, that feels different from how Law & Order approaches things?

McDERMOTT: You wanna work with the most successful people in the business, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to do that with a lot of people. And Dick Wolf is certainly near the top of the list because they give you opportunities. As Ryan Murphy gave me opportunities, Dick Wolf gives me opportunities to play different characters. That’s what you want. You wanna be in that sandbox and play different people, not just one person. Now, here I am, the lead on this TV show, having gotten the job from Organized Crime, and I’m playing characters within that character. For me, this is a dream come true. That’s why I love the character. I actually picture myself as a character actor, so when I get to do all of that, that’s what an artist wants.

FBI: Most Wanted airs on Tuesday nights on CBS and is available to stream at Paramount+.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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