Almost Paradise: Christian Kane on Episode 9’s undercover adventure

Christian Kane in Almost Paradise (Photo Credit: Courtesy of J. Goldstein PR)
Christian Kane in Almost Paradise (Photo Credit: Courtesy of J. Goldstein PR) /

Almost Paradise star Christian Kane dishes on A Wedding to Die For.

The latest episode of Almost Paradise was anything but a celebration, as Alex Walker raced to find the person who killed a notorious crime boss at his own wedding!

In “A Wedding to Die For,” a number of crime families descended on Cebu for the special day, only to turn on one another after the murder. Alex and Kai Mendoza (Samantha Richelle) had to be very careful not to blow their cover amongst this very dangerous group while searching for the killer.

For the latest on this episode, Precinct TV once again turned to Christian Kane, who gave us his thoughts on Alex’s crazy and life-threatening day at the office. Plus, what should fans expect from next week’s season finale?

Learn more about “A Wedding to Die For” in our interview with Christian below, then tune in on Monday at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT to WGN America for Episode 10! If you haven’t seen Almost Paradise yet, watch episodes on Amazon Video or the Electric Now app.

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Precinct TV: The crux that this episode turns on is that Kai specifically tells Alex not to get involved, but in actuality she’s doing that so he does get involved. What was that like for you to play?

Christian Kane: Dean Devlin told me this idea before we started filming the series and he was like, it’s great because she manipulates you. I was like, that’s fantastic. It just goes to show that Alex is unable to relax. If he knows something’s going on, he wants to be a part of it.

But I thought the great thing about it was we used Kai not wanting him around or there during a case for the whole season to set up Episode 9—because nobody saw that coming. Everybody thought she was absolutely legit about not wanting Alex involved, and then you end up finding out she actually played him.

That was kind of a payoff for her character because we set it up all season, legitimately, where she did not want him around. And then you come to find out that she’s like, he’s always screwed stuff up for me. But on this one, it’s so big [that] I could use his brain. So it was really a great payoff for Sam Richelle.

PTV: Do you think he’ll ever catch on to the fact that he’s being played? Has he already caught on? Or will it be part of the charm of Almost Paradise that Alex never quite gets there?

CK: I think 85 percent of the time, he pretty much knows what’s going on. That’s why I thought this was so beautiful, because he really didn’t see it. He went to her and said wait a minute, I understand what’s going on. You tell me not to be here then you want… But she says no again, and that throws him for a loop.

And I think if we wouldn’t have had that beautiful scene written by Calvin Sloan, who wrote the episode, if we would have just gone into it, then everyone would have seen that. Because she said no twice, the double negative, nobody saw that coming.

PTV: It’s fun how he does finally show up, though, drinking a beer at the bar. Because it feels like Alex was probably there for a while before Kai saw him.

CK: It was a really fun thing to play. They had a lot of stuff that they needed to get done. And that scene only took place in two seconds,  but it took a few hours to film and we were in a brand new resort and I was drinking a beer. I mean, I literally was drinking a real beer. Why would I go anywhere? And it’s like well, you’re not in the shot. And I was like, where else am I going to go? I’m sitting here at a beach bar, overlooking girls in bikinis, and white sand, and all this other stuff. I’m going to be right here drinking a beer.

By the time they got to me, I was so relaxed just watching the ocean, and watching everything around me. Just sitting in a lounge chair on the beach. That’s the beauty of this job half the time. We don’t sit in the director’s chair, we sit in the sand. And it’s really good. So by the time they came to give my coverage, I was pretty relaxed.

PTV: Pretending to be a celebrity stylist is the most unique cover that Almost Paradise has given Alex yet. How was it to inhabit that role, which is so out of left field for who he is?

CK: They like doing that to me. I think in the writers’ room they had a lot of fun with that. They love putting me in uncomfortable situations. But little did they know that I had already sort of played a character like this as Eliot Spencer [on Leverage], when Jeri Ryan came in. So I leaned on that character a little bit.

And we had fun putting the wardrobe together. I’ve got the blue Converse shoes that are world famous now, and on this one he had a brand new pair of black ones. It was kind of a little thing that we did. And the scarf—I was like later on, I want to have the scarf because I want to fight with the scarf, because I think it would be funny. We didn’t know where it was going to fit in, but I wanted to have the scarf.

I don’t know if I pulled the character off so great, but that was the point of it. I didn’t want to nail the character, because I wanted him to be so uncomfortable. [Kai] put him on the spot so fast, he didn’t have time to create a character. Alex Walker is someone who does a lot of research on accents and characters and all that kind of stuff for when he’s undercover, but she snapped him into it so quick.

I didn’t want him to be overly flamboyant or anything like that, but it was really fun because a lot of that stuff was ad-libbed. When I say “Oh, honey, no,” about [Amber’s] outfit. And the whole veil and stuff like that, I had to kind of roll with it.

PTV: You’re not the only one, though; Kai is glammed up and Ernesto pretends to be drunk. Almost Paradise lets everyone a little bit loose in this episode.

CK: It’s always fun when you’re an actor and you get to be another actor inside of an actor. Some of these seasons of TV that we love, these guys play the same character, never get to veer, for sometimes five to seven years. It’s always fun to be able to put on another hat, and that’s what we did.

On our Facebook Live [Almost Paradise co-creator] Gary [Rosen] and Calvin brought up the point that every single key actor in this was playing a different character. Whether it be Lucy Lovegrove who played Amber, or whether it was me playing Sebastian, or whether it was Sam playing Kimberly. And even Art [Acuña] got in there with the drunk Filipino uncle.

That’s what makes something fun, is when you get to find another character. I fortunately got to do that for years with Leverage, and now I’m getting to do it again with this character. You build a character that you hope everybody loves, and then once you’ve got him and you feel like he’s in concrete, you get to step out and make him be somebody else. That’s what keeps me going.

SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this interview spoils the ending of this Almost Paradise episode. If you haven’t seen Episode 9 yet, watch here and come back when you’ve seen it!

PTV: There’s a great scene at the beginning of “A Wedding to Die For” when Kai gets the news that she’s going undercover, and Ernesto is visibly thrilled for her. What was your take reading that scene? It felt like such a wonderful moment for them and their partnership.

CK: It is. They know each other very, very well. But if you notice, he’s behind me as well. He’s always the guy who’s behind me. They say “Don’t call Alex.” He calls Alex. I think early on Art Acuña made it a point that he was going to be the supporter. Dean told him earlier that he was the soul of the show. He took it one step further and said you know what, I’m going to be the support beam for everyone. And it’s really nice to see him lean into that character and do that stuff.

If you’re following [Kai]’s story, you realize how hard it is as a woman to move up in a situation like that in a Filipino police department. We’re making strides in America, but over there it’s not the same. It’s very tough for women to be at the helm. We’re showing that and we’re showing him supporting her. And what’s great about it is for a while you think Ocampo’s keeping her down, but he’s not. He’s just making sure she’s ready.

And that’s what’s very fun to play is to show the support. Not only for Kai, but we all do it as actors. This is why the show works. I’m around actors, including me, including everyone on the cast, that will step back when it’s someone else’s time to shine. A lot of actors I’ve worked with, will not do that. But in this case it works really well. You step back, you let the other person shine, you all move forward as a team.

PTV: This episode was fairly obvious in that Amber was the killer, but it took Alex a long time to clue into that. Was it different to have him not clued in for you as an actor?

CK: I struggled with this episode. He knows what cyanide smells like, but he didn’t know what frankincense smells like. Everybody knows what frankincense smells like. I kept talking to the director; how do you want me to hide the fact that I don’t know? And this is another time where I had to step back and go okay, you know what? We’re in the business of suspension of disbelief. And so I just stepped back and let my character, in all honesty, be a little weaker than what I thought he really is, and not figure it out in time—so that Kai can have the spotlight. So that Sam Richelle could really shine with her character.

I wanted to respect not only the words, but a moment to let Sam shine. Because if I figured it out again, then it’s just me every time. This was really something that was for her to do. So I took a back seat on this one, even though it was tough for me as an actor who believed this character would have figured it out early.

PTV: Kai does save Alex’s life at the end of the episode, which is different as well.

CK: Right off the bat, on the first episode we did, she was going to pull me out of the water because I couldn’t breathe. I really to her about it and I said you can’t do that because the dynamic is too much. Because right off the bat, I owe her my life and we’re going to have to play that for the rest of the season. I talked to Dean about it; he agreed with me. So I came up out of the water on my own, talked to Dean about it. He agreed with me. And I told Sam, just wait.

I saved her life when she was drowning in Episode 5 in the jail cell. And I said now we’ve got to pay it back. So now she saved my life, and now we’re even, which puts us on level playing ground. And that’s what you’ve got to keep with these two really strong willed characters. You have to keep an even playing ground. It was time for her to save my life, which was really well written by Calvin and come up with, with Dean and Gary.

And then also, whenever I was upset about laying in the sand while other people got to fight, I knew what was going to happen in the season finale. I was like, I’m going to get so much action and so much payback. And Dean Devlin directing that episode, it’s going to be so fantastic. So I didn’t mind laying there in the sand.

PTV: Which brings us to the million-dollar question—as we get ready for that finale, is there anything Almost Paradise fans should know now?

CK: It’s Dean Devlin directing. He’s going to kill me for saying this, but it’s more money than any other episode. It’s more time than any other episode, it’s more explosions than any other episode, and quite a few bullets. He waited to come in to wrap this thing up so nicely for the season, and it’s always bigger. Some people are like well, we can’t do this because it’s too much money. We can’t do this because it takes too long to shoot. So let’s condense it. Dean doesn’t have to do that. Dean’s the boss. Dean gets to shoot whatever he wants.

And that always comes out on screen. And it’s just big. It’s a lot of locations, a lot of fights, a lot of emotions. He really came in and knew what he wanted. He lived with it all season and knew what he was going to do. And pretty much had the locations almost all set up before he showed up. So it was really fantastic to be able to have your boss come in and direct the character that he knows just as good as you.

Next. Dean Devlin on the creation of Almost Paradise. dark

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 or on the Electric Now app.