Lisa Marcos and her "Played" co-stars successfully accomplished their mission. As members of an elite Covert Investigations Unit on the freshman TV drama, they infiltrated Canadian homes with compelling cases, gripping action and engaging characters.
Viewers will get a double dose of "Played" this Thursday when the final two episodes of Season 1 -- "Hitmen" and "Revenge" -- air back-to-back. HuffPost Canada TV caught up with Marcos to discuss her undercover cop character Maria Cortez, the remaining episodes and the future of the series.
HuffPost Canada TV: How tricky was it making a procedural drama different than other procedurals out there?
Lisa Marcos: That's a good question, because a lot of it has to be done in the writers' room. We have great writers and a great team. As far as our work that we had to do as actors, we had private investigators that we got to work with. The rest of it was basically dissecting our individual characters and making it real for us. I think with the show, the thing that makes it so great, is it also takes us on an emotional character drive as opposed to just a procedural one. That's where all the work comes in, is to play the contrast of wanting to be passionate about this dangerous job, and yet having the inner argument of, "Is it right? Is it right for me?" because you have to give up so much to make it happen.
Were you happy with the balance of procedural element with character development?
Yes, I thought it was great. That was one of the reasons I wanted to sign on, to be honest. I think it's different from every other cop show out there. I've done the cop procedural show where it's the same boring thing every day, same episode, but with different faces that you're working with. This is a breath of fresh air. Not only do we have to focus on the work part of it, but it's, "Where is the character going? What trouble are they going to get into? What battle within are they going to have to face in the coming episodes?" It was nice as an actor to be able to go on that ride and enjoy it because it can get very boring.
What were your thoughts on the episode "Cars," which really thrust Maria into the spotlight?
I loved it. I loved that they were able to switch up Maria from the episodes that people had seen so far. It was a nice way to throw my character in a different way, and to show she can be equal to all the tough guys in the CIU and to show how far she's willing to go for this job. There are no limits for her. And the key for me was not being a chick in that. It was more playing equal to a dude and yet still being able to charm as a female. But I loved the writing and where they went with it. I loved the emotional ride. I loved every bit of it.
These cops were essentially thrown together at the beginning of the year. What were some of their growing pains?
When we were introduced, it was a struggle of trust because Dwain Murphy's character, my character and Vincent Walsh's character were sort of a pack before. Then we get introduced to Chandra West's character and were unsure whether or not to take this gig at first. There was always a bit of that trust issue. When you're putting so much pressure on and you have such high stakes, all of that smoothes out pretty quickly.
Can you preview the next two episodes, "Hitmen" and "Revenge?"
In the finale, it's the most emotional episode so far, the most dangerous so far and we get to see one of our main characters really go through a tough struggle. It will take our audience to a place where they haven't been yet with our characters. With "Hitmen," it's basically about a biker with a conscience. We come in and try to help him figure that out.
"Played" delves into how the job affects these cops' personal lives. How do those lines become even blurrier in the finale, "Revenge?"
In the finale, this is the first time we see one of our main characters really break down and get to his core and have to decide what matters most to him. This is the first time you really see the team get together, more so than for just a job, but simply because we all love and care for each other. There's an aspect of danger that goes beyond just solving a crime. It is friends saving friends. Emotionally, it's one of the greatest episodes we've had this year and fans are really going to love it.
Where does Maria fit into that episode's sting operation?
Maria plays the side piece to getting information from someone who could potentially do a lot of damage to a lot of people. Maria plays a girl toy, I guess you could say, in order to help melt a hard, ice-rock situation and get information to potentially stop massive damage.
Assuming "Played" gets renewed, what would you want the series to explore next season?
We were going in such a great direction in the first season, so I would like more of it. More character growth and to see where each one of our lives takes us and the difficulties that we face with the job and in real life, because we don't get to see that with many shows. People ignore how much these undercover cops give up in real life in order to keep us safe. I'd like to focus on that. The stakes will probably get higher and more dangerous with each episode and each bad guy we go after. So, I think it's much more of the same, just at a higher level. Deeper, emotional character runs and more dangerous situations.
"Played" ends its first season with a two-part finale airing Thursday, December 19 at 9 p.m. EST on CTV.
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