*Steve Harris, best known for his long-running stint on ABC’s “The Practice,” returns to series television on Thursday (March 1) at 10 p.m. in the NBC drama “Awake,” which follows a police detective who can’t tell what part of his life is an ongoing dream, and what part is real. [Scroll down to watch the pilot’s first 8 min.]
The confusion all starts with a car accident involving Det. Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs), his wife and his son. In one of his realms, his wife survives the crash, but their son dies. In the other realm, his son survives, but his wife loses her life. Britten, as well as the viewer, must piece together clues to figure out which realm is the dream, and which is reality.
Wilmer Valderama plays Britten’s ambitious young partner, Det. Efrem Vega, in the realm where his son is dead, while Harris plays Britten’s veteran partner, Det. Isaiah “Bird” Freeman, in the realm where his wife has perished. But Vega also exists in the world where Freeman is Britten’s partner, and vice versa — but in a different police rank than in their respective detective realms.
Don’t worry, Harris says you’re supposed to confused in the beginning.
“One of the things we really want to deal in when we’re dealing with these realities is that – it really is Michael Britten’s travels,” Harris tells EURweb. “So when we start crossing and things start blending and we do dreams and certain things just sort of happen, hopefully we’ll be able to keep that going and keep people interested.”
Michael even has a different therapist for each of his two realities (played by Cherry Jones and BD Wong), and both shrinks try to prove that they in fact are real, and that the other therapist is part of his alternate dream world.
Meanwhile, Harris describes his character Bird as a cut-and-dry, by-the-book detective who has developed a shorthand with Michael after being partners for a very long time.
“Michael is not just his partner,” says Harris, “but as a lot of police officers have said, when you’ve partnered with somebody, they’re as close, if not closer than family because they know all of everything about you. I know everything about him. I know the pain of losing his wife, I know how committed he was to this, I know all the issues. We’ve had a way of dealing with things. This has been our pattern; we’re like an old married couple.”
But, when Michael loses his wife in the accident, his personal grief ripples into the way he goes about his police work, which in turn disrupts the previous rhythm he had with his partner.
“Michael’s work has changed and he’s playing hunches,” says Harris. “He’s doing things that aren’t the way we put in work. And because a lot of the times those hunches have been correct, I now have to change over and become somebody new.”
So what does Steve Harris really think about the possibility of dual realities or alternate universes? Listen below.