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Dr. Phlox Is Turning In His Tricorder For A Little "Leverage"

Dr. Phlox Turning In His Tricorder For A Little "Leverage"

Catchy title, eh? We spent a good deal of our evening coming up with that little gem. We'll maybe not the whole evening... Anyway, since we've started re-watching "Enterprise" from the very beginning, we've fallen in love with Dr. Phlox, all over again. At the moment, and this could change at anytime, Phlox has become our favorite Trek doc. Not that we don't love Bones, The EMH, Dr. Bashir, & Dr. Crusher (well maybe not Crusher).

The man responsible for bringing Phlox to life, John Billingsley, is joining a show that seems to be a new magnet for Trek talent, TNT's "Leverage".  On the list of Trek alumni who have worked on "Leverage" he joins the likes of Wil Wheaton, Jeri Ryan, & Jonathan Frakes. In an interview with, John talks about how he scored his new role and what it was like working on the set.

Check out an excerpt from John's interview with below.

iF MAGAZINE: How did you become involved in LEVERAGE?

JOHN BILLINGSLEY: I auditioned, which is the fate these days for most character actors, as opposed to the days of yore, when we might get offered the occasional part flat out. Many years ago, the casting gals, Angela Terry and Barbara Stordahl, cast me in COLD CASE and they brought me in earlier this season to audition for an episode that Jonathan Frakes was directing, about a dweeby guy who’s helping the Iranian government. Arye Gross got it and I was disappointed at the time, because I thought it was a fun part and it seemed like a fun show and I love to work with Jonathan, but as is the way of things, you get lucky sometimes, because the second go-round was a particularly charming episode, I thought, plus Arvin Brown was directing. It’s a tough choice between Arvin and Jonathan, because they’re both wonderful guys and wonderful directors. Arvin I’d worked with several times before, so I feel really fortunate that I got to get a second whack at the piƱata.

iF: The episode is called “The Rashomon Job.” May we infer from this that there are multiple points of view in the storytelling?

BILLINGSLEY: Yes, we can infer. The gag is that five years ago, when the team didn’t know one another, each of them was simultaneously trying to purloin a fabulous bejeweled dagger from a museum show, and when we meet the team in present day, they’re each bragging about this exploit, and it turns out that none of them successfully managed to steal the dagger, and we eventually learn why all of them, although they came close, failed. I play the guy who’s head of the security for the museum exhibition, and from everyone’s point of view except Nate’s, I am fearsome and frightening. From Nate’s point of view, which of course is the real point of view, I’m in fact a sweet and hapless bumbler. So it was sort of my best career hits. I’m frequently either fearsome and frightening or a hapless bumbler, and I got to be both in the same episode. You see many of the same scenes, but with a slight slant, as they are re-examined from a different perspective.

iF: Had you worked with any of the LEVERAGE people before?

BILLINGSLEY: I had not worked with any of the actors before and in fact I don’t think I’d even worked with any of the crew before, which is unusual. There are usually at least one or two crew members that I know, but they were brand-new folks to me, except Arvin. I did an episode of THE CLOSER with Arvin a couple years ago and a TV movie some years back [JUST ASK MY CHILDREN, also known as BEST INTENTIONS], about the horrible cases in the Eighties where parents were tried and jailed for child molestation. It was not the McMartin case. The McMartin case was similar. It kicked off a whole era in which children were coached by unscrupulous prosecutors into making outrageous accusations about parents and other adults in the community - truly disgusting, outrageous accusations, none of which were true. And a lot of parents were jailed, and in fact, I believe some in Massachusetts are still in jail, but it actually kind of changed a lot of legal methodologies. I found it very interesting, that back in the day, this was brought out in this particular movie, the prosecutors could essentially, in taking the children away from the parents, make them wards of the state for an indefinite period of time while they had access to the kids, and coached them in their testimony. I was the unscrupulous prosecutor. So I’ve gotten to play a number of things with Arvin. He’s such a wonderful director, just a gracious, kind, gentle man. I just have no end of admiration and respect for him. He ran the Long Wharf Theatre in Connecticut for a number of years. Back when I heard about this [episode], Bonnie [Billingsley’s wife Bonita Friedericy, who plays Gen. Beckman on CHUCK], who sometimes keeps me apprised of what’s out there; said, “Arvin’s directing it,” and although the age range originally [was younger], I called my agents and said, “You know, Arvin’s directing this, so really try hard to get me in for this, because I’d like to work with him again.” It worked out.  (source

You can check out the full interview with John, here.

For those who don't know, "Leverage" is about former insurance agency investigator Nathan Ford who heads a team of former top-criminals. They handle 'unorthodox' cases of people unlikely to get their dues through regular channels and legal procedures. That often involves stinging or otherwise scamming criminals. Nate's team is altered at times, and his professional as well as personal past repeatedly seems to catch up (source

Here's a sneak peek of John's episode "The Rashomon Job" on TNT's Leverage.

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