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Last Updated: 18 October 2000

 


TUNE IN

The Daily Telegraph - Wednesday December 31 1997

The Sentinel (Thursday, Seven at 8:30)

"After an army mission to Peru goes wrong, one soldier is left behind in the jungle to fend for himself. While there, something strange happens to his body and he discovers he can see, hear, smell and feel things far better than the average man.

Now back in the Western world, Detective Jim Ellison (Richard Burgi - pictured) uses his new found powers -- and a new friend who wants to study his abilities -- to fight crime.

A great fantasy/drama series, with excellent special effects."


SENTINEL STANDS TALL

TV WEEK (National TV Magazine) - December 27 - January 2

The Sentinel - Seven/Prime, 9:30pm

Richard Burgi (left) stars as Jim Ellison in the American police series, The Sentinel.

Detective Ellison has hypersensitive senses, meaning he can see, hear, taste and feel better than the average man.

"It's a fantastic role to play," says Richard, who is best known for his daytime soap roles (in Another World, As The World Turns and Days of Our Lives).

Set in the fictional town of Cascade, Washington, The Sentinel is big on special effects. Creator Danny Bilson says: "We were looking to create a series that was in the vein of a Die Hard or Lethal Weapon."

Local fans continue to receive letters from Channel 7 acknowledging that they are giving the series a better publicity push this time round, and we are being treated to a major promo campaign during primetime. In addition, reader's letters sections of every major newspaper for the last month have featured viewer letters praising the show.

Channel 7 reports that The Sentinel is rating strongly for them at the moment, as is supported by the move to the Double episodes.


GARETT MAGGART Q&A INTERVIEW TV GUIDE ONLINE - January 14 1998

This article comes from TV Guide Online's Sci-Fi News which is updated weekly. The interviews then move to their archive where you can still read the Richard Burgi piece.

GARRETT MAGGART AKA: Blair Sandburg on The Sentinel

Don't let his long hair and bookish habits fool you. Anthropologist Blair Sandburg has kicked butt on occasion. And those occasions are more and more frequent on the increasingly action-packed series The Sentinel (Wednesdays, 9 p.m./ET, UPN). Steeped in shamanic lore, Sandburg works with Det. Jim Ellison (Richard Burgi), the titular supercop with extraordinarily heightened senses. It's far from a desk job, but it's the grad-school thesis of a lifetime. We caught up with Garrett Maggart, who plays Sandburg, between takes on The Sentinel's Vancouver set. - John Walsh.

How did you land this role?

Actually, I was at my sister's wedding in New York, and they sent me the script. It was out of season. It was not during regular pilot season. I almost passed on it. I was like, "Well, I don't want to go flying back to Los Angeles right now." But then as it turns out, they had had to postpone the original audition two days. So I was able to go in, and fortunately they liked me from the start.

Do you have any idea what cinched it for you?

Well, I think what cinched it was that Malcolm Jamal-Warner was up for it or something, but wanted too much money. Well, that's what I heard, anyway.

Do you share your character's interest in anthropology?

I always have had, a little - you know, not enough to actually make me go to college and study. I mean, come on, you've got other things to do. Like golf. But actually, since I've been playing Blair I've done a lot more reading on it, just so I don't sound so green when I'm saying some of the terminology that they write for me. I'd like to at least sound like I know what I'm talking about.

Are you content being an actor? Do you see yourself writing, directing at some point?

Everybody I know tells me to write. I have never written. It stems from school. I'm extremely dyslexic. And I'm the worst speller in the world. So I've just always had this phobia of writing, of actually putting pen in hand. And I haven't yet found a computer with a spell-checker that works for me. So I've just never really written. But it's always in the back of my head to write.

And I do want to direct. But I don't think I want to direct The Sentinel. I see the directors that come in to do the show. It's a big show. Their backs are up against the wall from day one. The schedule is just incredible. I don't think that's for me. Not yet, anyway.

Has your dyslexia been a problem professionally?

It is a little bit of a problem. I'm an awful cold reader. I have to read a script once or twice and then just get into my head. But actually, my dyslexia has made me develop a good memory. You know how when you're a kid in school, you all take turns reading? I'd count out how many paragraphs it was until my turn, and I'd memorize it. And by the time it came to me, I wouldn't know what the story was about, but I would know what I was supposed to say because I would have it locked down to memory. So everybody thought I could read perfectly.

What drew you to an acting career?

Well, my father's an actor. His name is Brandon Maggart. He's one of those guys who's been in everything twice. He worked a lot on Broadway, and that's where I got the bug. I'd just sit in the wings and watch the plays - Hello, Dolly; Applause. And as a young kid I was hanging around with Lauren Bacall and Jerry Lewis and Carol Channing. It was pretty exciting, but it also seemed very normal to me, you know? I mean, that was my life, the only one I knew.

So you got the bug early on. Did you do a lot of high-school plays?

Well, actually, no, because it was what I knew I wanted to do for a career, and I didn't want to be a child actor. I didn't really see too many of them making the change to adult acting. I mean, of course there's the few that do it, and they're wonderful - Jodie Foster, Matt Dillon. But the norm was that you didn't make that leap.

How about in college?

Well, in college I just took the normal drama courses. I didn't major in it because, again, I knew it was what I wanted to do. So I just used college to get other information. I mean, the last time I checked I didn't see anybody making a living doing Julius Caesar. So I got an associate's degree, mainly to appease my mother, and then I started acting.

Started acting or started bartending?

It's funny. I didn't know that people had other normal jobs. I thought everybody had a night job until they booked a show. I just figured everybody was a bartender or something. I didn't know that there were actually stockbrokers and mechanics. This had just been my life for so long, and this was what I had always known that I wanted to do. I moved to L.A. in '88, got a night job and started going on auditions.

When you auditioned for The Sentinel, did they tell you how physical the work would be?

No, they just lucked out with Richard [Burgi] and me. Richard is very athletic. And I was sort of a jock in high school. When I was a kid, all I did all day long was play football and baseball. And I was just a happy surprise for the producers because they just saw this long-haired kid, probably thought I'd never even seen a football before. So when they started talking about stunts I said, "Oh, I'm fine with that." And they were a bit surprised, but it's worked out well. Since they don't have to use a stuntman very often, they can do fewer setups. It makes filming go much more quickly.

 


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