Almost Paradise: Christian Kane on Episode 4’s wild Hollywood send-up

Photo Credit: WGN America/Courtesy J. Goldstein PR
Photo Credit: WGN America/Courtesy J. Goldstein PR /

Almost Paradise star Christian Kane dishes on Episode 4’s crazy psuedo-Hollywood adventure, in the wildest season 1 episode yet.

This week on Almost Paradise, Alex Walker almost got blown to Kingdom Come, and the WGN America series delivered a hilarious send-up of 1970’s and 1980’s TV shows.

In “Pistol Whip,” Alex (Christian Kane) got volunteered for a documentary shoot featuring former TV star Jerry Westwood (Andrew Laing). However, Alex discovered that there wasn’t actually any filming going on, and the crew had some seriously ulterior motives.

Meanwhile, Kai Mendoza (Samantha Richelle) and Ernesto Almares (Arthur Acuña) investigated the disappearance of a vlogger, and everything came to a head in possibly one of the craziest last acts on a TV crime drama.

Christian Kane is back to chat with Precinct TV about the craziness of “Pistol Whip,” the scene that he didn’t want to be in, and filming the high-stakes moment that nobody could have predicted. Go behind the scenes of this episode in our interview, and make sure you tune in Monday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT for Episode 5!

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Precinct TV: This episode is so much fun because it has the show within a show element, and that really sends up those great 70’s and 80’s TV crime dramas. How much fun was that sort of parody for you to play?

Christian Kane: It was really, really fun. It was beautiful. We were actually on the boat. We were actually like a mile off shore. So it wasn’t like we were on a stage somewhere doing this. We took a dinghy to the boat at like 6:00 AM and then we came back at 7:00 PM. We were there on the boat all day, and it was just so much fun to film something like that. I’d never been a part of anything like that.

The guy that played Jerry [Andrew Laing] was fantastic. He got the fact that he was supposed to make fun of himself, which a lot of actors don’t like to do. He leaned into it. And there’s a whole lot of little things. When he asked me about if have I ever done stunts, I just laughed, because of course everyone knows I do my own stunts. And then I say, “No.” There were  little things like that then we got to play with, that were especially for the fans. So doing something for the fans like that, that was fun.

PTV: And the obvious throwback at the end where they freeze-frame you just like a classic TV crime drama.

CK: I had no idea that they were going to do that at the end—where they froze me with the pistol whip and put my 70’s [style character] name up there, Alex Walker. That was a surprise to me. That was a lot of fun.

PTV: Parody aside, this episode finds a new way to get Alex involved in the story. How does Almost Paradise keep that fresh and not fall into the stereotypical pattern of the case of the week?

CK: That’s the beauty of the writers. And that’s the great thing about [creators] Dean Devlin and Gary Rosen being a part of Leverage and a part of The Librarians. We’ve dealt with that before. We always had to find a way to get into the con. Some of the most fun ones we did on Leverage were the ones that we backed into. [“Pistol Whip”] is literally [Alex] backing into absolutely everything there is, and it’s just so fun.

There’s going to be times when he doesn’t even know he’s part of it, because he’s been manipulated by Kai and Ernesto. Alex is very, very smart. He’s very street smart, and he’s pretty book smart, but he doesn’t have good communication skills, and he doesn’t like even being around people. His people skills are bad, which allows them to manipulate him. And I think that the fun of it is that he finds himself halfway through an assignment before he even realizes he’s part of it.

SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this interview spoils the ending of this Almost Paradise episode. If you haven’t seen Episode 4 yet, watch here and come back when you’ve seen it!

PTV: Speaking of Ernesto and Kai, Alex spends most of this Almost Paradise installment separated from them. How did that affect you from an acting standpoint, working separately from your co-stars?

CK: At that point, I was still finding this character, so it allowed me to see what he can do on his own. They weren’t upset, because they get days off on a resort island. (laughs) And then to come back together like that at the end, and be a part of all that stuff was fantastic. I loved the fact that, for the wrap up, we were all together again—and you see that one plus two equals six. We’re better as a team. You see us off on our own, but at the very end you realize these guys are just better when they’re together.

PTV: Revealing the nuclear device was an honest surprise and something that felt so insane. What was your reaction to the ending of the episode?

CK: I thought it was too much. I honestly thought it was too much. I’m like wait a minute, there’s a nuclear bomb and I just happened to be there?” But I started thinking. I was like, you know what? That’s the thing that Dean Devlin does the best, is he suspends belief a little bit. And he’s said it before, [that] we’re always a couple of inches off the ground. And I think that makes for good TV.

I thought it was very smart that I’m the one telling the audience that it’s gold, and that it’s treasure. If Art was saying it as Ernesto, or even the bad guys were saying it, you may not believe it. But because it comes out of my mouth a couple of times, the audience sort of believes it, because they believe me. And then you get to the point where the whole story goes completely a different way…Misdirection is the beauty of television for me. And movies. Entertainment, in general.

PTV: And what makes it great is it’s this super-serious thing and Almost Paradise makes it so incredibly funny. It’s a comedy of errors in those last couple of minutes.

CK: When we first started off, [the bad guy] set it for three hours, and so it was three minutes. And the problem was, every time I got done with my speech or we were sitting there doing the scene, literally, the timer would go off. I’m like, guys, we can’t even get through the scene in three minutes. So it’s two o’clock in the morning, and I just had to make an executive decision. I said look, we’ve got to change this to six hours and to six minutes, or we’ll never going to have time to even get through dialogue for this. Fortunately, I made the right call and the next day Dean said I’m glad you switched it to six minutes.

PTV: You also made another important decision to take yourself out of a scene towards the end, too. How did that happen?

CK: Originally [Alex] was in the scene with Kai and Ernesto at the end, when they go and tell the husband that his wife is gone. And I said guys, I don’t need to be there. I just told them I don’t need to be in this scene. Alex, first of all, is not a cop. He shouldn’t be there to tell somebody this. He had really nothing to do with the case. He was working on another case.

I said let Sam and Art have this one, on their own. They know what they’re doing; let them have it on their own to show the vulnerability of their characters. And I’m so glad that I talked Dean into letting me get out of that scene, because it’s a very powerful, very touching scene. I was tearing up. And if I would have been there, it just wouldn’t have made sense. These guys drove it on their own. I think seeing the end of this episode, seeing what they did, a lot more people are going to love Sam and Art’s characters even more.

I actually took myself out of about four scenes this year. Big scenes. I took them out and I said, there’s no reason for me to be there. Let these guys run on their own. Because I want everybody to love their characters just as much as they hopefully love mine.

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Almost Paradise airs Mondays at 10:00 p.m. on WGN America. If you’ve missed any of the episodes so far, you can watch them online via Amazon Video.