Tim Omundson was up next in our round of interviews with the cast of Psych. Tim plays tough-as-nails Detective Carlton Lassiter. And the real Tim couldn’t be farther than his character on screen. He’s quick, incredibly funny, and easy-going. He arrived with his dog Lucy, who immediately began running around the office getting attention from all of us. And as soon as Tim sat down at the boardroom table he began…
Tim: I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here. There’s been some—well, it’s a downward economic turn, and I’m afraid we’ll have to let you all go. Kidding. I can’t fire any of you.
We hear that you’re the first person on set to break character. Who makes it hard to keep a straight face?
Tim: First of all, that’s a f-ing lie. There’s no children in the room, right?
No, just reporters. Lots of reporters.
Tim: I wish it were true. It is absolutely true. What was the second part of the question?
Who makes it the hardest to keep a straight face?
Tim: James, normally. I mean, Dulé knocks me out, but I just find him so funny, and we have the same twisted sense of humor, which you wouldn’t necessarily get from last year. But me, he just cracks me up. I just find him hilarious. Dulé, not so much. [I’m kidding]
No, you see it’s tough, because Lassiter has no sense of humor and never cracks a smile, really. And so there’s no leeway for Lassiter to at all enjoy what Shawn does, but on the inside – that’s why I always say I’m the best actor on the show, because I’m constantly covering wanting to giggle like a girl.
There are a few moments where Lassiter, or Lassiter’s sense of humor likes to come out. It tends to be tensely inappropriate times, and he’s always pleased as punch with himself. We did something in Scary Sherry, that never made it to air, that just delighted James to no end, where Lassiter says some quip and then is so pleased, he just gets this big Cheshire Cat grin. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen it, and that’s something that James always liked, so I’ll throw this one in.
How does the sense of humor on this set compare to others that you’ve worked on?
Tim: Oh, it’s as unique as the individuals that you’re in the room with. We just kind of got lightning in a bottle on this show where it’s like you have this group of actors, all of whom, especially me, are really funny. And I always say we have very different senses of humor. We find different things funny, but I think we come from the same foundation of funny, if that makes any sense. And we all appreciate the same kinds of humor.
I think Maggie would like a little less crass humor. There are a lot of boys on this set. We try and keep it in line and not let it get too blue, but every now and then, we’ll forget Maggie’s there. You’re talking…she’ll just walk up and go, “A lot of boys on this set. A lot of boys,” and then walk away. James will do something that could never possibly make it to air, and she’ll [Maggie] just go, “That’s my boyfriend.”
So yeah, it’s certainly the funniest set I’ve ever been on. But then, when I did Judging Amy, which was not a show full of yucks unless you like child abuse, it got to the point where Tyne Daly and I worked so closely, got to know each other so well. And after 70 episodes and the subject matter being so deadly serious, we just tried to figure out how to make each other laugh. Like, those two characters of Sean Potter and Maxine really grew to sort of – I know we’re not here to talk about all my career, but our relationship as people really grew. It was all like this… And Deadwood, not so funny.
We’ve seen Lassiter frustrated with his social life. I’d love to see Lassiter dating.
Tim: I would, too. Maggie has pitched, many times, that she signs him up on Match.com, and becomes his love guide of trying to get him into that. I mean, we’ve touched on that a little bit. There hasn’t really been any Lassiter relationship stuff since the break-up of his marriage, which is okay. I mean, Maggie has sort of become his surrogate – well, not social life, but she’s really the only other human being he speaks to, I think. You know, other than the guy who clocks him in at the gun range.
So, we got to see a little bit of it in – which one? In, I think, “A Very Juliet Episode,” where he becomes her love counselor with the Grease stuff. And I loved playing that, because then that came out of nowhere for him to be the one that she goes to, and you see this weird sensitive side, just these non-sequiturs like, “Wait, who was that that just—oh, that was Lassiter?” And then kind of never touched on it again. So we’ll see what happens.
[To Tim’s dog] Lucy, be quiet. I’m talking to the reporters!
Now that you’ve danced on Psych, can we expect to see you on Dancing With the Stars some season?
Tim: Okay, now here’s the deal. I really cannot dance to anything written after 1960. So you give me a meringue, you give me a nice waltz or a box step, I will tear that s*** up, because I came from a large Irish-Norwegian-Slovak family. But all the Slovaks are still pretty much in Washington, so I’ve been going to these family reunions since I was four, and I think I learned how to polka when I was four and a half. It’s all pretty much – all dance is based on the polka. There’s very small variations, but I don’t know. Dancing With the Stars hasn’t called yet.
What is your favorite thing you’ve done as Lassiter?
Tim: There’s too many to list. There really are. And, again, because it’s so varied, it’s such a wide spectrum of things I’ve gotten to play. Like, you know, you play this tight-ass cop like, supercop. He’s supercop. Like I said, you don’t think you’re ever going to get to do anything else within that show, but I’ve gotten to do so much other stuff. One episode, it’s pure goofy, silly. One episode, it’s bad-ass action. And another it’s just drama. You know, I can’t think of any one episode that’s been my favorite because they all sort of become my favorite, and then I read the next one and that becomes my favorite, and I read the next one.
Maggie commented on the relationship between Lassiter and…
Tim: First of all, Maggie’s a liar, whatever she says.
She made a comment about the end of last season, when Juliet has her breakdown, that she was really happy that Lassiter was the one that was there for her, and not Shawn. Then she said that the characters had earned this.
Tim: And that’s a phrase we used while shooting that. Because [you could have got Shawn]. That would have been really easy. But the hard thing is for that a**hole from season one, Lassiter, to be the guy who comes in and sort of takes care of her. That was real – that was one of the most satisfying moments to get to play.
We’ve seen Juliet go undercover. Are we ever going to see Lassiter go undercover, and as what?
Tim: I think Lassiter should go undercover as a drug lord. You know, I keep saying that, well, I’m raring to go. I think they feel that Lassiter – they’ve written in that Lassiter had a few bad experiences undercover. Perhaps he lost his temper and blew his cover. But the second this show is over, I grow a beard. I always do, because I get bored with what I look like. So I’ll grow this massive beard and grow my hair out. My rule is, pretty much, I won’t cut it until someone pays me to cut it. Or my wife threatens to take the kids. So depending on how good my hiatus is going, I could have a pretty long beard. And I keep saying, “I will come back for [next] season with a beard down to here, if you want.” And I always thought it would be a great time to – we’ll just do one scene of him just post doing a sort of narc. And then we’ll shave it off. They haven’t taken me up on it yet.
The summer finale of Psych airs Wednesday, Sept 8 at 10/9c on USA Network.
Check out http://usanetwork.com/series/psych
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