NEBRASKA’S HELGENBERGER TO STAR IN ‘INTELLIGENCE’
January 7, 2014
By JEFF KORBELIK
Marg Helgenberger never saw an episode of “Lost,” but knows now why Josh Holloway, who played the wiseacre Sawyer on the hit ABC drama, is so popular.
“Besides being a very sexy, handsome guy, he’s a good actor,” said Helgenberger, who grew up in North Bend and has family in Nebraska, including a mother and brother in Omaha.
The two co-star in the new CBS midseason series “Intelligence,” which debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday before moving to its regular timeslot at 9 p.m Mondays on Jan. 13.
“As it turns out he’s a really great guy,” Helgenberger, 55, said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where she wrapped filming Sunday night the first season’s 13th and final episode. “He’s so cool and fun and easy to work with … The whole cast is great, actually.”
“Intelligence” is an action thriller from creator and executive producer Michael Seitzman, who wrote Tuesday’s pilot episode. Holloway, in his first series since “Lost,” is a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain, which gives him access to the information grid.
Meghan Ory plays the Secret Service agent charged with protecting Holloway and the chip. Helgenberger is their boss, Director Lillian Strand, whom Helgenberger described as strong, intelligent, mysterious and enigmatic.
“It’s not only fun for the actor, because every week a little bit more is revealed about her, but I think it’s more interesting for the audience, too,” she said. “They will be always questioning — What is she all about? What is her real story? — and that kind of stuff.”
“Intelligence” is Helgenberger’s first TV series since leaving “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” in 2012 after 11½ years playing forensics investigator Catherine Willows.
“When I left ‘CSI,’ I never stated that I wanted to retire,” she said. “Sometimes people got the impression that’s what I was doing.”
It was quite the opposite, she said. Helgenberger acted in a play in New York during Hurricane Sandy, saying “that was a bit of a harrowing experience.” After that, she had hoped to find another play or a small feature film, but nothing worked out. So she told her agent she was open to another TV series if the right script came along.
“This one stood out,” she said. “It was very smartly written. I love the subject matter. I love the character. Josh Holloway already was attached to it.”
Helgenberger predicted, as she did with “CSI” in 2000, that “Intelligence” has the potential to be a hit.
“The characters are all unique and interesting,” she said. “The subject matter is an espionage thriller, action-adventure show, which has this technology. It’s just kind of five minutes into the future. You put this microchip into the super agent’s brain, and it makes him even more super.”
Plus, it has Holloway, who counts several adoring women among his fan base.
“All the women want to know what Josh Holloway is about,” Helgenberger said. “Oh yeah. The ladies love Josh.”
They will see a lot of him in the first two episodes, when he appears shirtless a few times.
“I don’t think he’s that keen about it,” Helgenberger laughed. “It’s not entirely gratuitous. There’s a purpose as to why he has his shirt off. And I think it’s really quick. It’s just they tend to show the trailers when he has his shirt off.”