Colin Ferguson finds his place in quirky ‘Eureka’
By Rick Bentley
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
PASADENA, Calif. — In early episodes of the Syfy cable channel series “Eureka,” Colin Ferguson’s character was — and there is no way to put this politely — kind of stupid. After all, his Sheriff Jack Carter was the law in a town loaded with geniuses. The brain bar was set pretty high.
That’s changed over the three seasons on the air. Carter slowly grew — because of a tenacity by Ferguson and the producers — to show that while he may not have a high IQ, he’s still very capable.
“Look, there are only so many ways I can go ‘What?!’ before people start assuming I don’t know anything,” Ferguson said during an interview in late April. “It was easier to write the character stupid. Over time, they decided to make the character better. In recent seasons they have done a good job of making him smarter. And, he is still learning.”
Carter had to learn because his job has been complicated by the science projects of the local residents (everything from the creation of black holes to turning people into gold). The plots are so far out there, the writers actually hit points in the first and second seasons where they ran out of ideas.
Ferguson, who has been a professional actor since 1995 when he appeared in an episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” wanted “Eureka” to succeed. He had been through too many one-episode jobs and failed series, such as the NBC flop “Coupling.”
“I wanted this show to be my ticket, because I had done a lot of other shows that had just blipped up and disappeared. I was bored with that cycle. So we were getting these scripts, finally, and they weren’t that good. So on set we all started asking, ‘How do we make it better?’ I started bringing the character back to my own moral compass. I think the writers saw that and used that to make the scripts better because we fit the characters better.”
Ferguson’s passion for “Eureka” goes back to the early part of 2006 when he was hoping to land a role on a “one-hour, dramatic comedy.” The reality is most actors end up taking whatever comes along.
That’s why Ferguson was so happy when he was cast as Carter in the sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic “Eureka.” He calls the casting lucky. And the luck continues with the third season of “Eureka.” Ferguson even stepped behind the camera to direct an episode that aired earlier this month.