‘Elsbeth’ Star Wendell Pierce on Being ‘In the Dark’ About Captain Wagner (Exclusive)

‘Elsbeth’ Star Wendell Pierce on Being ‘In the Dark’ About Captain Wagner (Exclusive)

Spoilers ahead for Season 1, Episode 9 of Elsbeth (“Sweet Justice”)

As Elsbeth Season 1 winds down, so is the investigation into Captain Wagner and Wendell Pierce spoke to PopCulture.com about the outcome. In tonight’s penultimate episode, “Sweet Justice,” Elsbeth and Wagner teamed up to find out just who is the real criminal. Just before Wagner is indicted, they catch Lieutenant Noonan in the act. 9 episodes in, and Captain Wagner is finally in the clear. But just how much in advance did Pierce know that his character wasn’t guilty after all?

The Suits alum told PopCulture that he was kept “in the dark as well. I was wondering.” He continued, “I had to figure out why I did these things, or I didn’t know if from week to week how corrupt I was going to be. I know that I’ve made the decision just as I’m an actor. Even when you’re playing to someone who’s a villain you admire, there has to be something in the person that you understand why they do what they do. So, I was building the character. Whatever I am doing is because I was doing it for this foundation, and I may have crossed the line. It was something that was very special to my wife, something we built together, so it was personally something very special to me.”

(Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS)

While it may be a little difficult playing a character without knowing the whole story, it seems like it gave Wendell Pierce the chance to really craft Wagner from the ground up. Not to mention the fact it was also harder to suspect whether or not he was truly corrupt. For Pierce, he was just playing a man who had good intentions, whether or not he was dirty.

“If they were going to write the character as being a corrupt man, it was a man who had good intentions but did the wrong thing,” Pierce said. “The road to hell was paved good intentions, as the saying goes. So, that’s how I was playing it. And from week to week, I was hoping that I wouldn’t be corrupt, of course, but if I ended up being corrupt, it was going to be for good reasons. And that would’ve been an explanation and not an excuse. Not an excuse, but just an explanation of why would somebody do that.”

Now that the investigation is over and Wagner is clear, it was likely easier for Pierce to play him knowing much more about him than before. It will surely be interesting to see how the aftermath goes and if it will impact anything or anyone. Whatever happens in the Season 1 finale of Elsbeth, which airs on Thursday, May 23 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS, there will be much more to look forward to in Season 2 coming to CBS this fall.

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