Interview: Robert Patrick On ‘Scorpion’ And How To Stop The Terminator

Scorpion is back tonight on CBS at 10/9c for the penultimate episode of its third season. Ahead of tonight’s episode, CBS Local’s Matt Weiss caught up with Robert Patrick to discuss his role as Cabe Gallo and what lies ahead for the members of Scorpion Team.

MW- Good morning Robert! How are you doing today?

RP- I’m doing good! Having a lot of fun.

MW- Awesome, well let’s keep that up here. So first question, you’ve had a pretty astounding career, a lot of very successful roles including previous work with CBS on The Unit, you were T-1000 in Terminator 2, what’s your process for looking at a role and what was it about the role of Cabe Gallo that appealed to you?

RP- Well that’s a great question. My process for taking a role is to try to find something that I’m interested in, something I feel I can get a good hook into, something I have an understanding of. Sometimes I take a role based on what I can learn from the role, but there has to be something that is appealing to me to do it. That can be financial, it can be who you’re working with, it can be the script itself. That’s where I’ve been with my career and it’s added to the longevity. A lot of times I’ve taken roles and not been compensated very well for it but they’ve turned out to be, creatively, some of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

So at times I’ve taken art over money, you kind of walk that line. I have to support myself, but I also have to try to find the best work, it takes you in and out of different mediums. When I started I was doing movies only, then I realized there was some great TV out there as well. I did a pilot with CBS early on, I think it came to the attention of Mr. Moonves (CEO of CBS) and that lead to The Unit, now here we are on Scorpion. It’s great writing that kind of lead me to TV but right now I go back and forth. Scorpion came to me at a time when I was looking for something that would keep me in Los Angeles, keep me close to home.

The great thing about signing up for a show that shoots for nine and a half to ten months out of the year is you’re going to be there for nine and a half to ten months out of the year. You’re not constantly looking for the next job.

MW- Now your character Cabe has been through a lot this season. He gained a love interest, he lost a love interest…

RP- …And he lost that love interest over the fact that she did something he didn’t agree with. He thought it would look bad for what he’s been trying to teach the group of kids. If he let it slide, they’d lose respect for him, so he had to let her go. That was an interesting thing and I love the integrity that they’ve given Cabe Gallo. I really love everything about the character that they’ve created, it’s really something that I have a lot of fun doing.

MW- You mentioned Cabe’s integrity, is that something you’ve enjoyed portraying more this season?

RP- I think Cabe, the way they write him, he embodies an image of a guy that we’re all looking for. He’s heroic, he’s rough, he’s tough, but he has a heart of gold and he allows the geniuses to be geniuses. He gives them enough rope yet it’s almost like the way you raise kids. You have to allow them to fail, you have to allow them to try but you can’t over-parent them. That’s the cool thing about Cabe, I think there’s a lot of wisdom there. I don’t want to get over-grandiose here but there’s a certain nobility to him and I think that’s what comes through to the audience, that you can trust him and he’s got the kids’ back.

Certainly another thing I’ve enjoyed about playing Cabe is how much we make fun of Cabe. We make fun of his age, we make fun of the way he wears too much bro cream in his hair. They have so much fun poking at me that it keeps things real.

MW- That parent-child relationship, is that how you approach things when you’re interacting with the rest of the cast?

RP- Absolutely! Both on and off set. I have the utmost respect for everybody I work with, they’re all wonderful professionals and very talented actors, but I feel that I have that role to play for them as well. I’m the oldest of all of them, Eddie (Kaye Thomas) started so young that he’s been working for a long time but the rest of them, some of them this is their first job. You try to show a good example for them on and off camera.

MW- Two episodes left in this season of Scorpion, without giving too much, what can you tell us about the final two chapters of season 3?

RP- Well, what starts out as a mission that was also going to serve dual purpose as a honeymoon for Toby and Happy, is going to have a tragic ending, in the sense that we crash on a deserted island. We have to figure out how to A) survive and B) how are we going to get off the island? Then what are we going to do now that we’re all trapped on this island together? We start to divide and fracture and go off on different teams. There’s competition and jealousy and all sorts of things going on so we’re really fractured. Then we slowly come back together in an effort to get off the island by the end of the final episode.

Was that giving away too much?

MW- I think that was just enough, the stage is definitely set for an exciting wrap up for the team. Now one last question before I let you go. If we had Scorpion Team vs T-1000, who comes out on top?

RP- That is probably one of the most interesting questions I have ever been asked about the Scorpion character. Hmmm, I think that the Scorpion Team would eventually figure out that there’s only one way to slow this guy down and that’s to freeze him in liquid nitrogen and throw him in a tub of molten steel. But I think they would figure it out.

MW- So Scorpion Team would slay T-1000. Well thank you Robert, it’s been great talking to you this morning and enjoy the rest of your day!

RP- Thank you sir, thank you so much.

Scorpion airs Mondays at 10/9c on CBS, check your local listings for more information.

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