Season 1 SABC3 (*193) 23:00 Action
There’s no fun having a perfect TV hero, especially when they’ve got a difficult job to do… like former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) in thriller series The Following (2013-2015). Ryan is called in by the FBI to help catch escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). Things were so bad the first time hunting Joe that Ryan was pushed to breaking point mentally and he’s now drinking heavily just to get through each day.
“Ryan has killed so many people and he has seen so many people killed,” says Kevin. “There’s a large element of blood on his hands and there’s a haunting that he’s unable to escape.” Kevin adds that “there needs to be flaws” in characters because “that’s the first thing audiences buy into. Without that emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs, you just get something that’s ‘nice and fluffy and average’”. Fans need to be hooked on characters they’re bonding with and it’s what takes actors time to develop, to get into their character’s head. “We try to keep focused on the emotional content and what’s going on personally with these characters,” explains Kevin.
And that’s a whole lot when it comes to Ryan Hardy. Former varsity professor Joe was always a step ahead of Ryan, who was one of the FBI’s top agents and that irked Ryan. “Joe’s a professor – he’s no fool and he had everyone running around like headless chickens… and again now thanks to his cult of followers,” explains Kevin. The 58-year-old adds that Ryan’s flaws drew him to the character and it’s the same for viewers. “The flaws humanise Ryan but make him vulnerable too, in a figurative and literal sense. Every time he goes into a physical thing – whether it’s a fight or a chase or whatever – there’s this ticking timebomb. And we added vodka and sadness and isolation… I like that!
Agent Ryan Hardy and his nemesis Joe Carroll.