Brent Sexton on ‘The Killing’

The actor tells us about his role as Stan Larson, as well as his time on “Deadwood” and A.I..

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

“The Killing” is one of those shows it’s hard to talk about because there are so many spoilers. We know they’ve promised to reveal the killer in this Sunday's second season finale.

Since the beginning of the series, we've been following Brent Sexton's Stan Larson as he attempts to help his family get past their grief and find justice for his murdered daughter, Rosie. During our recent interview, Sexton told us everything he could but wouldn’t spoil anything, and he also shared his memories of other classic shows he’s worked on in his career.


CraveOnline: You’ve had some great stuff to do in recent episodes, haven’t you?

Brent Sexton: Man, how blessed am I? They’ve written some great stuff for me this season.

CraveOnline: How have you felt about recent events for Stan Larson?

Brent Sexton: They gave me some great stuff this year I have to say, and last year too. When we really get into the depth of his struggle, what this guy’s going through, it’s great.

CraveOnline: Did you ever wonder why he wasn't offering a reward all along?

Brent Sexton: I think his first instinct in terms of the guy he used to be, he certainly has a right or wrong morality. So he goes to the cops, he gives the backpack to Holder as we saw earlier. Then of course the cops let him down so he goes back to what he knows, the Polish mafia and they let him down. And then he goes back to the cops again. I think he’s doing what he can to gain some resolution.

CraveOnline: So he was exhausting all his other options first.

Brent Sexton: Pretty much, yeah. The little chat he has with Richmond as far as making them care, well, people care about money.

CraveOnline: When you started the show, how much of this had they told you was going to come up for Stan?

Brent Sexton: We didn’t talk a lot about the second year. We did talk about the first year and I also watched the Danish series that our show is based on just to get a big picture idea of what the arc was going to be like.

CraveOnline: Did you know from the start that the part was going to grow?

Brent Sexton: It seems like an ensemble piece certainly. You rarely see in network television where they wrap up everything nice and easy in an episode. You really see the fallout of what happens to a family and how they’re processing their grief. So I knew it was going to expand into that.

CraveOnline: We’re told that we will get an answer by the end of this season. How is getting an answer going to affect Stan?

Brent Sexton: [Laughs] Okay, there are certain things I can’t talk about. They haven’t aired yet.

CraveOnline: We know, we don’t want spoilers.

Brent Sexton: I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll have to skip that question. Sorry, Fred.

CraveOnline: It’s okay. We can’t find out who the killer is but is getting an answer all it’s cracked up to be? Or does it raise more issues for the Larsons?

Brent Sexton: Certainly, yeah. That’s a great way to phrase it and I think that happens to every character. For every answer you get for a question, you’ve got to ask yourself what’s the consequence of that answer? I think that’s a good way to dramatize the show.

CraveOnline: What were your thoughts when you got the first season finale script?

Brent Sexton: You know, since I’d watched the Danish series, in their series it took two years as well to find the killer. So I knew that wasn’t going to happen at the end of the first season. I actually thought they wrote an excellent cliffhanger.

CraveOnline: Does the second season leave other thing as cliffhangers?

Brent Sexton: Again, Fred, I’m sorry. There are certain things I can and can’t talk about. I think there’ll be something there to keep them hanging.

CraveOnline: How does doing the show for AMC compare to other shows you’ve worked on like “Justified” and “Deadwood?”

Brent Sexton: I’ve had great experiences on all three of those shows actually. HBO, FX and now AMC with “The Killing,” those are three terrific shows I’m very grateful that I actually got to be a part of.

CraveOnline: How about AMC versus a network show?

Brent Sexton: It’s just what you’re allowed I guess on cable more so than on network, but even that, I was on a show called “Life” on NBC and had a great time with that. All of the AMC people I’ve meet, the New York people as well as California, are all just very terrific and friendly.

CraveOnline: How much is Stan like you?

Brent Sexton: Wow, I wouldn’t know how to answer that. I’m working from myself so there’s a certain amount there. As far as the character, obviously I think he’s a good guy who tries really hard, maybe made some mistakes and is wondering whether or not he could outrun them.


CraveOnline: Did you work with Billy Campbell in scenes together on the film Enough?

Brent Sexton: No, we worked together on the film but not in scenes together. So this was the first project we actually worked together on.

CraveOnline: What were some of your memories of working on “Deadwood?”

Brent Sexton: Oh wow, I’d say first off just listening to David Milch talk about the project. He had such a gift with words and the way he can convey a message to you, his wealth of knowledge and the way his mind works was a beautiful education every time I went to work. I had a lot of fun with the people. I worked a lot with Leon Rippy who played Tom Nuttal. He was a terrific, nice guy and we became good friends on the show.

CraveOnline: Is that ability to portray another time, another world, sort of what acting’s all about?

Brent Sexton: When you can do it, and I certainly think we did it on “Deadwood,” it’s kind of magical, isn’t it? I think it’s telling the truth of behavior, what conflicts the characters are in and how they try to resolve it. That’s how I approach it.

CraveOnline: This is sort of an old issue, but if they had been able to do the wrap-up “Deadwood” movie, what were you hoping to get to do as Harry?

Brent Sexton: I know that at the end of season three, Harry got elected sheriff even though he didn’t want to be sheriff. He only wanted to be a fireman. I know that that story would play out certainly in the beginning four or five episodes I think. I don't know what else David had in mind either for a fourth season or for the movies but it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to do them.

CraveOnline: When you were on “Justified,” was Sheriff Mosley a character from the Elmore Leonard books?

Brent Sexton: Actually I think Mosley was based on a character from Harlan County, KT. I think he was a sheriff, if I understood correctly, who went to prison, got out of prison, ran for sheriff again and got re-elected.

CraveOnline: What was your experience on that show?

Brent Sexton: I really enjoyed my time on “Justified.” Of course Timothy [Olyphant] I’d worked with before on “Deadwood” and he was really great to work a scene with. The directors I met and the writers, it was a terrific piece to work on I’ve got to say.

CraveOnline: Are you still interested in movies or are you focused on television?

Brent Sexton: I actually just decide whatever project comes up. If it’s a movie and I like it, then I’ll do that. If not, if it’s a series, I like it, I’ll do that. I’m grateful I’m able to do both whenever the need arises.

CraveOnline: Was “24” a different experience because they were capturing real time?

Brent Sexton: It took eight days to shoot an episode, so it’s not like everybody’s running around trying to get everything done real quick. I wish I could remember more about that but it’s been a few years go.

CraveOnline: “Birds of Prey” was unfortunately short-lived but it was before this superhero boom. Do you think it might’ve had a better shot today?

Brent Sexton: Yeah, I would say that, sure. I worked with Shemar Moore on that, and he was a nice guy. I didn’t actually get to work with the three superheroes on that, but I have a feeling if it was around today, they’d probably have a little more success with it.

CraveOnline: Were you a comic book fan?

Brent Sexton: I was actually. I had a few titles growing up when I was younger.

CraveOnline: Which ones did you read?

Brent Sexton: I had a subscription to X-Men. At one point Daredevil, I think it might’ve been right around the time Frank Miller was writing for him. Maybe there was Fantastic Four at one point also. I actually split a few subscriptions with a friend of mine.

CraveOnline: That’s a smart way to do it.

Brent Sexton: Yeah, it went a lot further.

CraveOnline: What do you remember about making A.I.?

Brent Sexton: It seemed like it went by in a blink. I got to see the Stan Winston robots. I actually got to see him work with some of those when I was hanging out backstage and that was pretty cool.

CraveOnline: That was in the flesh fair, so they had that whole practical set and robots with actors?

Brent Sexton: Yeah, they did. There were at least four or five people working backstage at the flesh fair so to speak, besides all the extras that were in the stands.

CraveOnline: Well, I wish we could hear more about “The Killing” but we’ll watch and see what happens.

Brent Sexton: Cool, Fred. Thank you.