With CBS bringing back the reliable “Flashpoint” earlier than anticipated on Friday nights – filling in for the low-rated CIA dramedy “Chaos” — star Enrico Colantoni says he’s feeling “Like any excited player that’s just ready to get out there. We’ve always done well on Friday nights for them and I’m grateful they haven’t forgotten. And to continue the baseball metaphor, now I just want to hit it out of the park.”
The Canadian-made police drama, about an elite tactical unit in Toronto, is in production of its Season 4. Colantoni says that “What’s exciting about this season is we go further into the vulnerability of the team. They’re not just the super heroes dealing with these traumatic events; they’re human, and we see the toll this work takes on each one.”
With that in mind, he’s become involved with Canada’s Tema Conter Memorial Trust (www.tema.ca) organization that’s dedicated to helping first responders. “They came to me because of the show. On some level we are helping those emergency personnel — firefighters, police, paramedics — who deal with trauma every day. I’m grateful the show is reminding people they need our support.”
There will also be more of a toll on the characters’ interpersonal relationships — including increasing stress between Colantoni’s character, Greg Parker, a crisis negotiator and the leader of the Strategic Response Unit, and his right hand man, Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon).
“Hugh and I get great scenes I always relish,” notes Colantoni. “In real life we have become better and better friends — he’s like a brother — even as the characters drift into the tension and vulnerabilities of their relationship and the difficulty of holding each other accountable.”
To Colantoni, “When you love somebody, it makes it even more fun when you’re playing these scenes. I always like bringing the dynamic of our relationship into our scenes. I felt that with Kristen Bell on ‘Veronica Mars,’ too. It’s easy to love someone as a human being and bring that into the work.”
MEANWHILE: Colantoni admits he’s sorely missing his son and daughter back in Los Angeles.
“They’re in school. They’re almost out, and then they’ll be on the first plane up here,” says the divorced dad. “That’s probably the toughest part of the job — watching them grow up on Skype these last three years. But at least I get to talk to them and see them and say goodnight to them every day. I can’t imagine what it must have been like back when families who were separated by distance had to make do with a letter every four months.”
Colantoni’s kids have a whole social life in their Canadian second home. “They’re involved in our extended family’s life. They have cousins here they adore,” says the Toronto native. “They have a sense of what life is like on the West Coast, on the East Coast, and in Italy, where they’ve visited a dozen times,” according to the actor, whose retired policeman brother lives in a small Italian village.
Even when his children are under the same roof, he’s still dealing with long shooting days. “At some point, the challenge is, ‘Am I present when I’m with them, or am I not?’ I always know whether to give myself a star when I’m present, and not distracted by other things. We try. I’m hoping they reap something positive from all this. They’d better be, or I’d beat the #@!$ out of myself for letting them down.”