Back to Frank Black interviews Peter Outerbridge

Peter Outerbridge portrayed Agent Barry Baldwin in the third season of Millennium before meeting his fate in ‘Goodbye To All That’ at the hands of the Millennium Group. Since that time, Peter’s career has continued to rise to stellar proportions with Regenesis, Fringe and the upcoming genre fave, Saw VI. BackToFrankBlack was delighted when Peter took time from his busy schedule to speak to us.

BACKTOFRANKBLACK: Most of your scenes, as Barry Baldwin, had you interacting with Lance Henriksen, Stephen E. Miller and Klea Scott, all of whom have recounted fond memories of their time on the show and their association with the cast and crew, do you recall the experience of working with these individuals to be a rewarding one?

PETER OUTERBRIDGE: Overall I had a fantastic time on the show. It was a great cast and crew to work with and the material was always interesting.

BTFB: It has been perceived by fans that the early portion of the third season of Millennium found it a little difficult to establish itself after the climatic ending of the second season and that it took time to define the new characters and redefine it’s own direction. Was there a palpable sense amongst the cast and crew that things were a little unsure to begin with or did everyone appear to have a clear vision of Millennium, Season Three.

PO: I think there was a certain hesitant vibe to the beginning of season 3. The problem was the ending of season two where it was suggested, quite certainly, that the end had begun. A massive pandemic was certainly raging out of control in the U.S. so to begin season three with everything not as bad as all that was a bit of a gamble with the fans. Kind of like tossing out a story idea half way through the telling. However, it was suggested to me that a lot of the fans hadn’t liked the direction the show had gone in season two so maybe a dramatic overhaul of the show is what was needed. Hey, I got a job out of it so who am I to say.

BTFB: I wanted to ask you what your impressions of the character of Barry Baldwin were? Initially, he seemed to occupy a position similar to that of the X-Files’ Krycek – a character that fans would rally around in friendly opposition – but he outgrew that description and became much more rounded and interesting and the season progressed. Were you pleased with the arc of the character and do you think he was used to his full potential?

PO: Barry was always intended as “pressure” in that he was simply supposed to be this guy who was always involved along side Klea’s character as her partner but he didn’t agree with her thoughts about Frank. Just something else she had to watch her back from. Originally there was this romantic back story between the two…they were an item during training or some such thing…but that was dropped to make Barry more nebulous. I remember getting notes from above to keep Barry more neutral which I found hard to do because he just seemed to have the words ‘smarmy asshole” written on his forehead, so I kept trying to sneak a sarcastic humour vibe into the role. I think that’s ultimately what got me killed off.

I can see Chris’s point though. If I had played him more “grey” the audience would always be wondering whose side I was on. Was I there to keep an eye on Klea or was I there to watch her back? Was I Millennium group or not? In the end Barry turned out to be pretty much just a jerk. And not a very competent G-man.

In that sense I think Barry had a good ride on the show. I know the crew and the rest of the cast liked what I was doing because he sort of became this kind of “Major Burns” kind of thing and it was fun to see how he would wear the egg on his face each time he showed up.

Like I said however, I think that Chris had a much more ambiguous arc in mind for Barry so in that sense Barry probably wasn’t used to his full potential. Entirely my fault.

BTFB: We believe that there was still the potential that the show would be picked up for a fourth season when shooting wrapped, did you consider your association with the show over, with regards to Barry’s demise, despite the fact that many characters in the various 1013 franchises died and returned on a number of occasions?

PO: There was never any doubt in my mind that Barry was dead. The script said in the narrative: Baldwin is dead. DEAD. DEAD. DEAD. DEAD.

I thought that was pretty clear. It MAY have had something to do with my agent trying to get more money for me if the show went another season but….nah…couldn’t be it. I think Chris just got pissed off with me not playing the neutrality of the character and told the writers to “kill that smarmy jerk. He isn’t a threat to anybody but the FBI’s reputation.” In fact, now that I say it, maybe Chris got a call from the Bureau telling him to get rid of Baldwin just out of respect.

BTFB: One of things that aggrieves the fans is that Millennium never had the opportunity to offer any closure on its own terms, this is a sentiment shared by many of the cast and crew. Do you agree that its cancellation robbed the cast, crew and fans of an opportunity to see the story end in a more pleasing manner and do you support our campaign to offer that closure in a movie adaptation?

PO: I think ending the show on the X-Files was a bit of a cheat. It was a good episode though so I kind of think it should be part of BOTH canons. But yes I do think that every show deserves to end things in their own style so the idea for a Frank Black film is a fantastic one.

BTFB: You’ve appeared in some superb genre productions including Saw, Sanctuary, Regenesis and so on, how do you compare the experience of being part of the Millennium franchise with the other notable franchises you have been part of?

PO: Working on a show that has achieved “franchise” status can be both difficult and rewarding from a creative point of view for exactly the same reason. The audience. Franchise audiences have a devotion to their shows that no other audiences share. So on the one hand you’ve got the greatest audience you could ever wish for but on the other hand you have the must critical audience you could ever fear. It’s a very fine line and it keeps everyone on their toes because if you get something wrong, your audience WILL let you know. I’ve never experienced anything like that on other shows I’ve worked on. Don’t even get me started on SAW VI.

BTFB: Our thanks, Peter, for taking the time to talk to us!

PO: Take care guys and good luck!