Don Johnson is coming back to television, this time on ABC with Blood & Oil, a drama set in a North Dakota town booming in the oil business. Johnson, now 65-years-old, is best known for his iconic roles on Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, but Don says that his role as Hap Briggs in Blood & Oil is nothing like either of his previous television characters.
Mr. Johnson describes his Blood & Oil character as someone who is a relic from a past era, when men held greater belief in the hand of fate.
“He’s hearing a bell of destiny, which is driving him to make American energy-independent,” says Blood & Oil‘s Johnson in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I think Ghandi heard a bell, I think Mandela heard a bell — I’m not so sure that Hap possesses any of their virtues, but when people hear that bell, it is as if nothing is going to alter their course.”
Hap sees an opportunity in the oil boom and that seems to be the ticket to the fortune he feels he deserves, but what about the blood? Don says that the problems seen between Blood & Oil‘s Hap and his son, Wick (Scott Michael Foster), are seen in many wealthy families and that it all boils down to one central issue. Wick’s sense of entitlement is the source of much tension between the boy and his family, says Johnson.
As for Hap’s wife Carla, played by Amber Valletta, Mr. Johnson says the marriage is just what one would expect of a billionaire husband and wife on any prime time soap opera. While Carla is socializing and shopping, Don’s Blood & Oil character is running around with any number of “dalliances” he may have on the side.
As excited as Don Johnson clearly is about his new project, it seems Blood & Oil has earned its critics, even as the premiere episode is fresh out of the gates. The very tone of the Blood & Oil review posted on The Guardian may be predicting that prime time audiences aren’t ready for another Dynasty or Dallas as of yet.
It seems this one critic’s main concern is that Blood & Oil lacks the extended cast of characters that most similar soaps possess and that may be a valid point, considering the potential drama is limited by the number of characters to be exploited. However, as Don Johnson hinted at, when discussing his Blood & Oil family, the drama may be moved along by characters outside the immediate family. Hap’s list of lovers may be sources of trouble in the series, as may be Wick’s own ambitions.
In fact, as Johnson tells it, he was neither interested in returning to television, nor was he particularly drawn toward the Blood & Oil project, until the very insistent executive producer pressed Mr. Johnson for the meeting.
“This came along and I said no. Then [Blood & Oil EP] Tony Krantz said, ‘Please let me just come meet with you.’ I was taken by the passion that everyone had with the project,” Don said. “This is sprawling, epic, prime-time drama. It’s full of secrets, double crosses, backstabbing, and sex. The seven deadly sins are on full display!”
While critics are content to judge a series like Blood & Oil on a single pilot episode, the fledgling series may have many surprising tricks up its sleeve, and with a star as passionate about the series as Don Johnson obviously is, one can only expect greater things as the season plays out. Admittedly, Blood & Oil isn’t for everyone, but for those looking to invest their time in a new night time soap, they can hardly do worse than watching Don Johnson struggle to keep his blood together, while exploiting as many oil resources as he is able in that small North Dakota town.
The next episode of Blood & Oil airs on Sunday, October 4 on ABC.
[Featured image courtesy of ABC/Blood & Oil]