‘Elsbeth’: Wendell Pierce Previews Seeing Where Captain Wagner’s ‘Moral Compass’ Is in Season 1’s Penultimate Episode (Exclusive)

‘Elsbeth’: Wendell Pierce Previews Seeing Where Captain Wagner’s ‘Moral Compass’ Is in Season 1’s Penultimate Episode (Exclusive)

All season long, fans have been trying to figure out whether or not Wendell Pierce’s Captain Wagner is a corrupt cop. The actor spoke to PopCulture.com about what to expect with the investigation in tonight’s penultimate episode. Airing May 16, “Sweet Justice” will see the D.O.J. investigation getting close to an indictment, so Elsbeth and Wagner join forces to expose the real criminal.

The initial reason for Elsbeth being in New York and working with the NYPD was so she could keep an eye on Captain Wagner, who was suspected of taking bribes. However, recent developments suggest that he may be getting framed, and Lieutenant Noonan may be behind it. As of now, nothing is certain, but Pierce says in tonight’s episode, fans will see where his moral fiber is, where his moral compass is, whether he is corrupt or is a man of great character. So that’s the thing I love about the episode tonight, the penultimate of the season when it comes to whether or not Captain Wagner is a great commander or a corrupt commander.”

It was revealed at the end of the series premiere that Elsbeth was somewhat investigating Wagner, hence why she was working as the “consent decree” for the NYPD, but only in the last few episodes did it really start to take off. Once she told Kaya about the investigation, then Wagner found out about it, and it was discovered that he might be getting framed, there was no way of knowing what would happen. And that’s what Wendell Pierce loves about Elsbeth, the never-ending mystery no matter what goes down.

(Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS)

“It’s like every episode is a low-crime mystery drama,” Pierce shared. “And this low-crime mystery movie that happens week to week individually is a great movie, a great murder mystery. And then what goes on in an anthology from week to week is this storyline of whether or not I’m corrupt. And there’s all these moral ambiguity and great characters, really wonderful characters. You wonder where that barometer is, left to right as it goes. Are they or are they not a person of good character?”

“And it’s that moral ambiguity that keeps an audience interested, and it keeps the excitement of the story going,” Pierce continued. “At the same time, it’s what we go through from day to day. And that’s why we look at shows. It’s the thing that makes you turn on a television in the first place to learn about the choices we make as people, and so it’s always something that keeps you interested. That moral ambiguity is a part of the drama. And that’s what I like about the whole season, about whether or not we’re going to see where Wagner goes and why.”

With a storyline like this one, it really could go in any direction. While it definitely seems like Lieutenant Noonan is very much behind the bribes and framing Wagner, it’s also possible that he could be working with Wagner, or the series is simply making it look like Noonan is behind it when, in fact, it’s all Wagner, possibly even someone else. Be sure to tune in tonight, May 16, at 10 p.m. ET on CBS to see what happens. The Elsbeth Season 1 finale airs next Thursday, May 23.

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