Eoin Macken plays Army doctor TC Callahan on NBC’s The Night Shift. Macken recently talked to us about what lies ahead for the San Antonio Memorial crew in season three. Check out our interview with Eoin below, and tune in for the season premiere of The Night Shift on Wednesday, June 1st, at 10/9c on NBC!
TC and Jordan had a really heartbreaking end to season two. After a miscarriage and a marriage proposal, what is ahead for them in season three?
“I don’t know if I can tell you that without giving away spoilers! (laughs). The next season takes place a couple of months later, so TC and Jordan are back in the hospital, but I can’t tell you anything without giving away the first few episodes!”
Are they still going strong or is it kind of frosty?
“At the end of last season, we had a marriage proposal, but we don’t know if she said yes or no. People keep asking, but I don’t want to tell you anything until after the first few episodes.”
In a promo, they indicated that she said no.
“Did they say that in the promo? (laughs). Well then… TC proposed to Jordan, and she said no. So they’re back working together, and it’s a little awkward. It’s about the two of them trying to figure out how they can work together, and seeing how strong they are as friends and whether or not they will get back together. It’s trying to figure out- after all that- how they cope with being in the same environment and then figuring out their personal stuff and professional stuff at the same time. So it’s a little bit awkward.”
We’re on season three now, so this relationship has been going on for a while. What is your favorite thing about the TC and Jordan relationship?
“They have so much history and they know each other so well. It’s never going to go away. Even though season three begins with them not together at the start, it’s because they’re so strong that there’s so many places for it to go. That’s what’s interesting about that relationship. It’s not one that goes away and it’s not a simple cut and dry, two people dating thing because of the past they’ve had and everything they’ve been through.”
The flashback scenes from the season two finale about how they came together were so sweet.
“Oh yeah! We shot those in different hospitals. It was quite fun, actually, because we did that at the end of the season. It was fun with all the haircuts and that type of stuff. And then we shot to the very, very end in a new hospital. That was quite enjoyable.”
How about TC and Scott this season? Are they finally going to see eye-to-eye or keep butting heads?
“There’s a healthier level of respect between TC and Scott this year, but I think even if they eventually have a certain grudging level of respect for each other, they’ll never really see eye-to-eye. They’re just people. No matter what happens, they’ve dated the same girl and I think it’s hard to let that go.”
From a behind the scenes standpoint, Eriq La Salle has come in and directed a few episodes. Do you know if he’ll be back this season? What is it like to work with him?
“I’m not sure if Eriq is coming back yet. He was supposed to come back for the (season two) finale, but I know he’s doing Wolverine. I don’t know what his status is, but Eriq is great. He did the finale of last season (season one). Eriq is great because he understands these types of shows. He’s got a great fire and energy about him, and he’s very specific. He really gets performances out of people because he understands how to get under people’s skin and pull that out. He’s very demanding. He’s a combustible person, but Eriq is wonderful. He really knows how to get performances in a great way. He really keeps you on your toes.”
One of the episodes he directed opened with a seven-page “oner,” where it was all one take and in and out of different rooms. How difficult was that to film and how many takes did it take to get right?
“Not that many, really. I think that’s harder for the DP. For the rest of us, it’s quite fun because it’s a matter of getting your scene right and connecting the dots. From an acting point of view, it’s a lot of fun because you’re ready to go and waiting for the camera to come around and get your piece ready. When you’re doing a oner like that, it keeps everybody engaged. It’s not like a piece of theater, but it gives a realism to it and allows you to play because you’re in it and you’re not specifically trying to say a couple of lines to get something across. There’s more of a reality to it. You have to really understand your character. That’s what that comes down to.”
If we take a look at TC, he’s probably one of the most complex characters on television- he’s very flawed, but he’s excellent at what he does and cares very deeply about it. What was the biggest challenge for you in getting to know him as a character?
“The most difficult thing with TC was just getting across his gentleness. He is quite charming and sweet and people like him, and marrying that with the fact that he has the issues of PTSD, we had to make sure he wasn’t too aloof. It can be easy to play that type of character in a very detached manner. Keeping him engaging and likable at the same time because of how combustible he is was challenging. That can easily go the wrong way- that was the interesting thing, trying to figure that out and understand where he’s coming from with the PTSD issues, and trying to understand where he’s able to go in the end.”
Do you ever find it hard to let go of him after a long day of filming?
“Not really. I don’t really subscribe to that notion. I love acting, but I find that even when you’re totally invested in your head, and you’re totally in it, it doesn’t encroach on my personal life. It’s exhausting, more than anything else, when you’re thinking about it constantly it can get tiring, but no. TC is there, so I’m okay with that.”
Prior to your work on The Night Shift, you did a lot of work on and with the BBC. What would you say are some of the differences you’ve noticed between British television and American television?
“I don’t really know if there are any differences. We’ve got some British crew this year, and- well- I don’t have an answer for that. I had a wonderful time working for the BBC, and I made a lot of friends- which is the same over here. They’ve been very different shows, but essentially I’ve been lucky with both of those shows. In the end, just working with interesting people who are talented- and when that happens, that makes it exciting. There’s not a specific difference in terms of how you work or how people operate.”
The Night Shift has aired in your home country of Ireland. How did your friends and family react when they saw the show?
“(laughs) It was nice! It’s also airing in places like Belgium, Holland, France and Spain and I’ve got friends and family in those countries too. It’s interesting when it airs a season or two later and people haven’t seen it. I get phone calls and text messages asking about stuff and I’m like ‘what are you talking about? That was two years ago!’ It’s very good. People have really responded to it and they like it. Merlin is also airing overseas and people are really into it. It’s kind of fun.”
Of all the characters on the show, we see TC in the field the most. What’s the most challenging scene you’ve had to film in the field?
“Probably rappelling down the cliff with the kid. It was for the opening of season two. We had to do a little operation on the side of the cliff with the kid strapped to my chest. That was a little difficult. It was hot, but it was really cold at the same time because it was November in the desert. That was just a damn difficult scene to do. (laughs).”
Crossovers have become a big trend lately. If you could cross The Night Shift over with any other show out there right now- which would it be and why?
“I always like to work with people who are funny. I’d like to do a crossover with Black Sails and get to work with Tom Hopper- he’s a good buddy of mine- that would be fun. That would be interesting- a bunch of pirates come into the hospital and then go off on an expedition in the ocean.”
If you were to talk to somebody who has never seen the show before, what would you tell them to convince them to binge seasons one and two, and tune in on June 1st?
“I’d just basically tell them that it’s the best medical show on television. If they like medical shows mixed with drama, emotion, and action, then they’ve got to watch The Night Shift. We’ve got some exceptional characters, and there’s a lot of current topics that we deal with. It’s explosive, and it’s a lot of fun.”