New rookie on the block

COPS L.A.C. is only the third series role for actor Tom O'Sullivan, and the fourth time he has played a Policeman. But he's loving it all the same.

Compared to some of his co-stars,Tom O’Sullivan’s career is still gathering pace. In the last few years he has had roles in Rain Shadow for the ABC and Underbelly: The Golden Mile for Nine.

Playing Senior Constable Nathan Holt on COPS L.A.C. he is on the rise.

“This is definitely the biggest thing that I’ve done and it’s been great fun so far,” he says. “I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It’s a great team and happy set.”

As he explains to TV Tonight it’s also the fourth time he has played a Policeman, which meant he had already knocked off a big chunk of an actor’s research.

“A lot of it in terms of the training I had already had a look at before. But in terms of this specifically there was a lot of character stuff as well. It was very much about their jobs and the crimes they deal with but it was also very much about them as people.

“So I really was really just trying to figure out the conversations and the relationships that he has with the other policemen and what sort of person he is.

“But we had the opportunity to speak to a couple of policemen which was great. We did some weapons familiarisation which was fun and for my own research I read a lot. For Underbelly I had already read a couple of books that were published by policemen in Sydney at about that time so it was easy to draw on them.

“A lot of it I suppose is looking at similar genre things like other TV series and films and take it from there.”

Now several weeks old for Nine, the series is still finding its audience, and in many ways its point of difference in a crowded genre. With City Homicide in its fourth season and Rush in its third, Nine’s police drama is certainly the new rookie on the block.

O’Sullivan looks to the  heirarchy of characters in a suburban police station as giving the show a point of difference.

“The uniforms and the detectives work together and there’s conflict and sometimes harmony between them in terms of trying to achieve the same goals,” he said. “A source of a lot of the drama for COPS L.A.C. comes from working together and then not working together so well.

“Because of continued twists, stuff that gets established quite early on is still getting resolved by the end of this series and hopefully beyond. As certain storylines have developed in the characters’ personal lives the stakes have gone higher.

The show also revolves around a fictional State Police, affording the writers the ability to depict a Police Force with shades of grey. In the first episode, Roy Billing’s character was the perpetrator behind a hit and run accident.

“That’s more interesting, to be able to show police as people, dealing with some of the things they have to deal with and not painting them as perfect people or role models,” agrees O’Sullivan.

“The show certainly doesn’t do that, it shows them to be people who have got conflicts. If it was bound in a certain way we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that. I think it’s great for the writers as well.

“It shows them all as human beings and shows them all as being flawed.”

COPS L.A.C. airs 8:30pm Thursdays on Nine.

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