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Feature: TV Zone's Primetime

Web Exclusive: Mister Stirling

William Russ as Tommy Doyle, Josh Brolin as Senator Bill Sterling, Audra McDonald as Jackie Brock, David Norona as Leon Montero

In an age of partisan politics, NBC’s new drama Mister Stirling is a breath of fresh air, as it chronicles the daily struggles of a well-intentioned young senator who brings his own ‘Independent’ agenda to Capitol Hill.

Executive Producer, Lawrence O’Donnell freely acknowledges that he has set his series in a parallel NBC universe, where Jed Bartlet is President. “I think a network can only have one President at a time,” he comments. “And so we’re presuming that Jed Bartlet of The West Wing is President. I would so love to do a crossover episode, but I’ll be surprised if we can pull it off logistically.”

In keeping with this parallel world, Josh Brolin who portrays Senator William Stirling Jr, is the son of James Brolin, whose character, Governor Robert Ritchie, was just beaten by Jed Bartlet in the Presidential election. But unlike The West Wing, which aspires to admire people who are drawn to politics, it’s hard to find a good role model on the Hill in Mister Stirling, which Josh Brolin addresses, “I think that the show is more reality-based, as Lawrence O’Donnell worked there and experienced the inner-workings of the Senate.”

The producer is quick to add, “There were plenty of moments in my seven years in the Senate where it was a truly noble experience. I love all the characters in this show, and I love what they’re doing. If you went inside each one of the characters in this show, they would pass lie-detector tests saying, ‘I’m doing the right thing for this end that I’m trying to achieve.’ What’s really interesting about politics is that everybody in the building in the Capitol thinks that they are on the side of right and justice at all times.”

Brolin sums up the essence of his character in this way: “I trust politicians when they are not so image conscious. I’m willing to fail; I’m willing to say, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s what I trust in a leader. I just saw the promo for this show for the second time, and (I look at this guy, and think), ‘I would watch this show.’”

by Judy Sloane

Photo © NBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

Taken from
TV Zone #159, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #159
February 2003
ships from Jan 9 2003
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