Imagine if a Time Lord and Skyler White teamed to solve a young boy’s murder in a small Northern California town? That’s what it’s like for fans of Doctor Who and Breaking Bad approaching Fox’s Gracepoint, which takes David Tennant and Anna Gunn, beloved for playing for iconic cable TV roles, and puts them into a big broadcast prime-time crime series. For Tennant, the role means embracing the unusual, perhaps unprecedented, step of reprising the same character he played in Broadchuch, the U.K. version of the show (though Fox has added a different ending for Gracepoint). For Gunn, it means leaving behind an Emmy-winning performance of a tightly-wound character that was both career-making and fan-divisive. Below the actors take our questions about Gracepoint, which debuts on Fox on Oct. 2.
EW: Let’s start before Broadchurch. What was each of your all-time favorite mystery show?
ANNA GUNN: We always said Cagney & Lacey was our inspiration. That was something that made us laugh nonstop, not because this is like Cagney & Lacey, though we could be a team like that—
DAVID TENNANT: And I’m playing Tyne Daly.
GUNN: Yeah, I’m the blonde and you’re the brunette. So that’s my ridiculous answer.
TENNANT: I’d go with Murder One. That was such a novelty because it was one story told over a number of episodes, like Gracepoint.
GUNN: That was great.
Is there anything you see actors doing in detective shows that you tried to avoid?
GUNN: I interviewed a couple different people and went on a ride-along. They pointed out clichéd things on TV shows, and I think the major thing for me was that so much of being a good detective is watching and listening very carefully and less about putting overt pressure on a suspect. It’s not really the way that’s done in the real world. So much of it was really about watching and listening and being an observer rather than cliché about the hard-boiled detective strong-arming anybody.
TENNANT: Because the story is as much an emotional story as it is a procedural story, and as much about people as murder, hopefully you avoid cliché by being true to that emotional life. READ FULL STORY