Big Dogs star Michael Rabe sinks his teeth into new crime drama

Michael Rabe as More in Big Dogs. Image Courtesy Choice Films
Michael Rabe as More in Big Dogs. Image Courtesy Choice Films /

Michael Rabe discusses his role in the dystopian Big Dogs.

Big Dogs is now streaming on Amazon Video, merging the TV crime drama genre with the alternate-reality genre to create something completely different.

In the show’s self-described “violent, alternate reality,” New York City is overrun by crime and crime-fighting has drastically changed as a result. Michael Rabe (Homeland) stars as Everett More, a detective whose methods are far from orthodox.

Precinct TV recently spoke to Michael about what attracted him to Big Dogs and his experience filming the series. Learn more about the show in our interview and then stream the first season now on Amazon Video or visit the official website.

More from TV Crime Dramas

Precinct TV: What was the hook that pulled you into this series?

Michael Rabe: Just the opportunity to play someone like [More], who’s an outsider within the world, but who has more of the information then he lets on, was a really interesting thing to get to work on.

PTV: That character could easily have slipped into the “bad cop” stereotype with the way he approaches the job. How did you avoid that pitfall?

MR: I talked to Adam Dunn, who’s the creator and the writer of the book, and then I read the book as well. And something that was very helpful is that a lot of those stereotypes, they just drop into a world without a background. But More has a very intricate and he has a lot of reasons for why he’s doing what he’s doing. So just pinning all those down and being clear about what his purposes are in the CAB unit was very helpful.

PTV: Did you have favorite moments in the filming of Big Dogs that you’re excited for viewers to see?

MR: Episode 4 [is] the first time all the different players end up in the same room on the law enforcement side. Brett Cullen, Captain McKeutchen, is talking to all of us, and that was the first time, because most of the time, Manny [Perez, who plays More’s partner Santiago] and I were off in the cab and then the other people were off doing other things. So that scene where that whole side of the show is all together, that was a really fun scene.

PTV: Big Dogs is the largest TV role you’ve had to date, and as you said, he’s a very complicated character. What was it like for you to simply live in More’s head that long and flesh him out?

MR: I loved it. It was what you hope to get to do, to have the time and the luxury to get to sink your teeth into something. We stayed up in the Newburgh area where we were shooting mostly, so it was isolated in a nice way. It was really a joy to get to focus on something like that. Even when you’re doing a play, you leave the theater and you go home. So just getting to be in it for that long was really a treat.

PTV: Did you learn anything from the experience of playing an elite cop? Skills or tricks that stuck with you?

MR: Things like just the intricacies of a lot of the weapon work. There’s very specific ways people do things. Hopefully in [other] shows I’ll be reusing putting that to work…That and just a lot of the stunt stuff. There’s technique, as with everything. But just in the fighting you’re like, oh, that’s how you…you just learn as you do anything over and over. You acquire a skill set.

PTV: The series paints a very grim picture of crime and punishment. What was the mood like on the set? Did you have to lighten things up on occasion?

MR: There were definitely days that were rougher, but thankfully, we all got along…I think probably due to the material, we all bonded pretty quickly. It was generally lighthearted once they said cut. They tried to keep all of our spirits up. Actually, it was pretty fun.

Next. Watch The Alienist: Angel of Darkness trailer. dark

The complete first season of Big Dogs is streaming now on Amazon Video.