It wouldn't be another season of Rookie Blue without Ben Bass. As the tough yet wisecracking Sam Swarek, Ben is at the heart of the show, and he's captured the hearts of the audience, too. BFTV recently caught up with Ben to ask him about Sam's promotion to detective, his changing relationship with Andy, and what he thinks would be Sam's happy ending.
"It took me three years to get used to the uniform and then they took me out of it. I was kind of disappointed actually," he commented with a laugh, referring to the reveal of Sam's promotion in the fourth-season premiere. "It was a bit of an adjustment, frankly. It was kind of weird. I felt in a way sort of less cop-like. If I had to choose, I would probably choose [being in] uniform, but the storylines are great, which is the most important thing."
Those storylines include not only Sam's change of job title, but some self-discovery, too. "I think he's learning more about himself and about his limitations. He's becoming more worldly in a human sense. I think he's realizing that if he's going to be happy in life he's going to have to work on himself," Ben explained. He also revealed that the show will "explore some really grey areas of my character this year. There are a number of episodes where there's a whole storyline. I look forward to the audience response to his code of conduct. I like the moral grey area. I like exploring that, and I like exploring conflict."
Of course, the hot-button issue after last week's premiere is Sam's romantic relationship with new arrival Marlo Cruz (played by Rachael Ancheril), which understandably doesn't go over well with ex-girlfriend Andy McNally. Reflecting on the demise of Sam and Andy's romance in season three, Ben reflected, "When he broke up with her, I thought that he, as much as possible, did it for the right reasons. If you're going to break up with somebody, that's probably the best reason to do it.
"He just said 'Look, I don't think this is right for us to work together. It's just too hard and I worry about you all the time.' Also, he was in a lot of pain, so he's all screwed up about that as well. At the end [of the season], he realizes he made a mistake and he makes the effort to try to rectify things. I think that was a learning experience for him."
They may not be together now, but there's still hope for Sam and Andy's relationship. At least, Ben believes that they belong together. Asked if he'd given any thought to where he'd like to see his character end up whenever Rookie Blue concludes, he told us, "I want to see Sam end up with Andy. Everything else is gravy after that. I want to see him end up with the love of his life."
Given how long the team has been working together now, he described the show as being "a well-oiled machine in the best sense. Everybody has always gotten along, [but] the camaraderie in the fourth season, we were closer than we've ever been. It just makes it a pleasure for all of us to work together, cast and the crew."
Having four seasons under his belt has afforded Ben some input on his character. "We have influence when it comes to making sure that everything is sort of lining up logically," he told us. "Sometimes there are scenes that we don't understand. 'Why would I say this when three episodes ago I said that?' or 'Why did this happen?' That's what actors tend to pick up on mostly, is that kind of character inconsistency. "
"I do feel very familiar with the character," he continued. "We're actually two very different people. So it's interesting to be able to have this specific sense of rhythm and physicality that when I go to work, when we go to the read through, it's kind of in my body. It feels like it's in my muscles and it feels like it's in my sensibility. And it's a nice thing to have."
Judging by how Ben talks about it, the audience has a lot to look forward to in season four of Rookie Blue. "I think the fans are going to like the season as much, if not better, than any other season," he said. "There are some challenging things for the fans, but there's a lot in there they're really going to like. Particularly how it wraps up. It's going to be a pretty serious ride."
Rookie Blue airs Thursdays at 10 PM ET/PT on ABC. You can follow Ben on Twitter (@BenBassOfficial). And if you missed it last week, be sure to read my interview with Ben's co-star, Missy Peregrym.