Aussie podcast The Oz Network has a bit of a scoop with a ‘reunion’ by the cast of Third Watch to mark 20 years since it premiered.
Guests include Michael Beach, Anthony Ruivivar, Yvonne Jung, Coby Bell, Skipp Sudduth & Bill Walsh plus co-creator Ed Allen Bernero.
Host Ben Waterworth says, “It’s a great chat with lots of behind the scenes moment including a fun moment around Matthew Perry being jealous of Anthony Ruivivar getting his role on the show, and is the only reunion of the show that has been done to celebrate the occasion and first reunion that has ever been done as far as I know.”
Third Watch ran for 6 seasons from 1999 to 2005.
Here are some excerpts:
Anthony Ruivivar on finding out he was cast on the show while with Matthew Perry
“I’m on a frisbee golf course with Matt Perry when they get the news that they were all getting a million dollars an episode. Then later that news we’re all out, I get the news that I got Third Watch and he’s like hammered and says ‘man I’m so jealous for you’. And I’m like what are you talking about? And he said you get to work with John Wells and Ed Bernero on a real show. I’m just a clown. And I said dude you’re getting a million dollars an episode but he was jealous. Super jealous.”
Answering what they believe the legacy of Third Watch is
Skipp Sudduth – “Best cop show ever”
Ed Allen Bernero – “It was one of the last cop shows that was just about cops. Cops didn’t have to be psychics, they were all cops and something else. It was one of the last shows where it was actually about cops. I think one of the legacies is almost everything on television now is some version of Third Watch but in a smaller version of it.”
Skipp Sudduth – “Dick Wolf turned ER and Third Watch into five shows.”
Michael Beach – “I don’t know if there were a lot of shows or any shows that combined all of the paramedics, firefighters and cops but I know afterward there seemed to be a ton of shows that combined the first responders. Prior to that there seemed there were only firefighter shows or cop shows separately.”
On dealing with September 11, which the show did a two part special as well as a documentary episode In Their Own Words which interviewed first responders and family members and won a Peabody Award for it
Bill Walsh (who was a real life FDNY firefighter who acted in the show) – “I think all of us as a show went through something very personal together at the same time that would pretty much bond anybody with 9/11. All of these guys were there. That’s going to build something between people for a lifetime. Everybody stayed together. That bonded us for life.”
Yvonne Jung – “Somebody said to me out of all the television they watched that the two Third Watch episodes were the best episodes.”
Ed Allen Bernero – “It was hard. There was a time where I didn’t really want to do the show anymore. The time just after. It was actually the fire department that got us to do it again. I met a couple of guys and they said you have to do the show it’s the only show about firemen. So I said alright. But I was afraid to do it again. I didn’t want to benefit from it at all. I had NBC call me that day and they said there are only two shows that are going to benefit from this and one is JAG and the other is Third Watch. And I said well I quit.”
Skipp Sudduth – “I got the same message from first responders because we were all working in one way or another to support everyone at ground zero, we were visiting precinct houses and fire houses. Some of us were actually there the night of and working food trucks and handing out masks and all that kind of stuff right across the street from the pile. We were right in the midst of it. It was family. That’s how we were with the FDNY and NYPD and the paramedics. It was all family from day one. The way we all took it as a show is it happened to all of us…it remains true to us all to this day. Not only people from the show, the actors, the producers and writers, but also Billy Walsh, cops, firefighters, paramedics both on the job and retired that are among my best friends to this day. It was just family.”
On casting Roy Scheider as evil an evil Russian mob boss Fyodor Chevchenko during season 3 and 4
Ed – “I called him and talked to him about the character and he said that sounds interesting let me call you back. So 15 minutes later he called me back doing the voice (Russian accent) and the whole time I wanted to go does this mean yes? I don’t know what’s going on here? Are you practising? So I asked will you do it, and he said of course of course. He was awesome.”
There was also talk about other big name guest stars including the first on screen appearance of Chadwick Boseman as well as appearances by three future Oscar winners JK Simmons, Viola Davis and Helen Mirren among many other big name guest stars.
On the characters they played
Yvonne Jung – “They were written with lots of depth. All the characters.”
Coby Bell on the characters – “The were real people. It wasn’t just a job. They were really detailed characters that Ed and the rest of the writers gave us to play. Then with Chris Chulack setting the bar so high with what he expected us to deliver. The whole thing you couldn’t ask for more.”
Skipp Sudduth – “I don’t know if I’ll be able to say this without tearing up but the first thing that came into my head when you asked that question because of Sully’s relationship with Davis I kind of got to experience what it was like to have a son. Because he was my dead partner’s son. So from the very first moment I saw him and said oh my god he looks exactly like him, the feeling I had about Coby was that he was my son. Because that was his (Sully’s) family. He didn’t have anybody else.”