After leaving Rescue Me, Daniel Sunjata wasn’t looking for another television role. But he changed his mind once he read the part of FBI agent Paul Briggs on USA’s new drama, Graceland.
“I loved my time on Rescue Me, but I didn’t really want to do TV when it was over,” he explained in an interview with Yahoo! “At a certain point in time, I felt like Franco [his character on the series] was kind of like doing the same thing. Every time he spoke, he was like being a little arrogant or talking about women or what have you. Clearly, from [Graceland’s pilot episode], I could see that the intention was to dimensionalize and texture Briggs over the course of time.”
The role of Briggs seemed like a good part to take after appearing on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Smash. “I haven’t had a ton of opportunities in my career so far on camera to play characters that have multiple levels going on at the same time, uh, characters with this type of complexity and texture to them,” he said. “And so as soon as I saw the writing, and of course, it’s Jeff Eastin, so I knew the history of White Collar. I knew he was a great storyteller. And it was, uh…it was kind of a no-brainer. There was no reason not to take the job, definitely a great character.”
Sunjata is paired up with Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables) on the show, and the duo’s compatibility is part of what makes the show work.
“Aaron had gotten cast before I did, and he was there at my test,” the actor said. “So, I actually auditioned with Aaron in the room. I’m sure they wanted to make sure that the chemistry between whomever they cast as Briggs, thank God it was me, and Aaron was going to be on point. And I think they saw that in the audition.”
Graceland airs on USA, Thursdays at 10 p.m.