PASADENA, Calif. – If Golden Boy star Theo James looks familiar but you can’t place him, maybe this will help: He guest-starred in the first season of Downton Abbey as Pamuk, the Turkish suitor who deflowered Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) before dying in her bed.
James, a 28-year-old Brit of Greek descent, stars in CBS’s Golden Boy (10 p.m. Tuesday) as all-American New York City homicide detective Walter Clark Jr. James had conversations with Golden Boy executive producer Nicholas Wootton about what type of New York accent his character should have.
We wanted to avoid him being a guy from Brooklyn, he said, putting on a pronounced Brooklyn accent. So he has a New York accent, but a light one.
James said the Golden Boy script offered the appeal of getting to play Clark in the present and seven years in the future for flash-forward scenes in each episode.
I love a journeyman’s story about a person becoming a man and his rise to power, he said. And another thing (I liked was) the ego. He’s someone who’s essentially good but also swayed and attracted by the element of his own ego and power and money.
James shares many of his scenes with actor Chi McBride (Boston Public, Pushing Daisies), who plays his detective partner on the New York police force. The pair have an appealing rapport, with James as the brash newcomer and McBride as the veteran.
There’s a little bit of art imitating life, James said. I’m fairly new. I’m a young English punk coming over, and Chi has been doing it for a long time.
He’s a veteran. So there was a lot that we could learn from each other, and we had a good natural chemistry. ... But also Chi’s character, Owen, he’s not flawless, either. And you see through the series that he can make mistakes as well.
So they’re teaching each other, and Chi’s character is this old guy who’s kind of given up, and I’m bringing out the best in him.
And then with me, he’s tempering my central morality between whether I choose the darker nature that Clark leans towards ... or I use the law for the purpose of good.