Category Archives: 4×13 – Paper Soldiers

Interview with Peter Cambor

CBS Summer 2009 Press TourIt was less than three hours away from the East Coast premiere of Paper Soldiers on NCIS Los Angeles, and NCISLA Magazine was fortunate enough to sit down and interview the man of the evening… Peter Cambor! Peter, who was scheduled for a return visit as Nate Getz on Tuesday night’s episode was a delight to speak with and it’s no surprise that Peter’s fans always look forward to seeing him return to the show… even if it is not as often as we would like! With the show only hours away, we sat down to talk to Cambor about his emotional and intellectual relationship with Hetty, why he enjoys seeing Nate being ethically challenged and his current undercover roll as rock god (Eddie) in the Wedding Band.

Peter always enjoys returning to play his alter ego, Nate Getz, so right off the bat we wanted to know if it was easy getting back into character after being away from the series for so long?

Yes, it’s one of those things when you are doing a show, and coming in everyday you get used to doing it so much it does kind of become old hat and a lot of it has to do with the cast which is so great and the crew which is so great, you kind of just slip back into it.  It’s always weird when you go and guest star on a show somewhere, all eyes are on you, but that’s not always easy.  But here, when I do come back it’s just another day at the office. You all kind of slip back into old patterns, ribbing each other and all that comes with it… trying to kick box with LL Cool J and failing at it!  There is such a great vibe on that set… so that’s what makes it easy.  Of course I loved doing the show as a regular, but it’s so much fun to come back in this capacity because the story lines tend to be so extensive for Nate and it’s a mystery trying to fill in the gaps.  It’s kind of fun to be on these secret missions as part of what I do.  It’s a real treat and you get some great moving scenes out of it.

Nate’s come a long way in the past four years, including working in the field… what character changes are we going to see in his return to the show in Paper Soldiers?

I think the first time he came back in the episode, Lockup where we do the whole episode in the prison… I actually choke someone out.  It’s like this whole other side of Nate where he’s really in the mix… it’s like Kung Fu Nate.  But Hetty, is always putting you to the test, even if you are just painting the house, painting the fence, sanding the floor or waxing the car… she is making you into a great fighter.  Hetty is an intellectual warrior and she is not going to be physically imposing but she is credibly capable. And she’s ruthless if she needs to be.  Her intellect is honed as a real weapon.  I think that Nate is on the way of going down that path. 

Whatever the end result and if the show goes on, for god willing ten to fifteen years, he will be someone who is capable of that kind of skill set.  A lot along the lines of where Nell is at… but Nell, as we found out, is a physical warrior too.  But Nate comes into this episode and into a situation which he is very uncomfortable with but to that end I don’t think he wants to go and paint a house, he wants to go kick stuff and be a karate fighter.  (In this episode) Nate doesn’t want to be involved in a complicated situation with someone who he has a lot of feelings for… that being Rose. But Hetty feels like she has to do that.  I feel the road he is going down is a psychological, intellectual change but I think all the characters go through that at different levels. Hetty is always aware of that every time she calls someone up to the Ops centers, she says “You guys take this and you take this” and I think there is a method to her madness!

Peter Cambor
You and Linda Hunt look like you have a great time on screen. Are there any stories you can share from this episode?

The great thing about Linda is that she comes from a theatre background and it’s really challenging with Linda.  She’s really fabulous to work with and   talented.   Besides the fact she has won an Academy Award, she comes from a time when theatre had some incredibly interesting people in it like Peter Brooks and the real cutting edge way of thinking about theatre in the 60’s and 70’s.  I remember the first days I was on set and it was early on in the series and she said “So how did you get out here and wind up in the show?”  So I said “Well I came to LA to do a production of the Cherry Orchard by Chekhov.”  She said “Oh I was in a production of that which Peter Brooks directed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music”… and I’m like “Oh my God, Peter Brooks!”  You can just imagine what that was like.  And anyone who was a working acting in New York and spent time in New York, cutting their teeth as an actor, like Renee and myself, there is kind of a little extra spark every time you get to see Linda, especially on stage. 

So this episode is a lot of fun in the sense, there is this element of a game of chess going on and I’m trying to outwit Hetty much to Nate’s folly and chagrin.  Which is kind of impossible but whenever you play those scenes it’s always the stuff in-between the lines like Chekhov that’s important… we are fortunate to have some fantastic writers on the show.  A lot of stuff happens in the subtext of what’s not being said which is why I love all those scenes with Hetty.  Especially the ones with Callen and Hetty but Nate in this episode gets a little bit of intellectual jesting and sword play with her.  And it’s fun whenever I see her on set.   I’m a giant, I’m like 6’5” and she is so small… so it’s a wonderful game we play.  And it’s great to have great people to act with and that’s one of the reason these NCIS shows work really well.  There’s a terrific chemistry with everyone.

Shane Brennan has said he would love to have Nate return to NCIS:LA. If you have a say, what would you like to see happen to Nate in future episodes? More adventure, undercover work? Or back working at the Mission with the gang?

That’s a good question.  We always joke around the set and wonder if there is this character bible locked away in some safe in the corner of Shane Brennan’s office with every secret about the characters.  But of course there’s not… but in some ways there is because it’s always up to the creator.  I think one of the great lines from television is by the guy who created the Sopranos who said he always knew how the show was going to end.  The smart question to ask any of these guys like Shane who write these series is what is the end of the show… what is wrapping everything up?  For Nate in a show like this you have to keep obstacles in front of him going forward… as many obstacles as possible for Nate because he is a physiologist and there is an ethical element to that because as a physiologist you have to take the Hippocratic Oath and there are all sorts of guidelines you have to adhere to. 

Personally what becomes interesting to me is when he comes close to crossing the line ethically.  In season two when I left the show to go on my mission, I was in the firing range firing a gun which was him taking that forward step.  Doctors aren’t supposed to go out shooting people!  It’s this element which puts him in danger or when things get compromised and make things difficult for him that’s great to explore.  But I like that idea of him being ethically challenged and him having to go and do something he isn’t comfortable with which is exactly what happens in tonight’s episode.  I’d also love to do things like jumping out of helicopters with Eric Christian Olsen and Chris O’Donnell too!

Congratulations on your new show the Wedding Band.  It definitely looks like you guys are having a lot of fun. What’s it like working with this unique cast?

Because it’s an hour long show, there is a little bit of more space to work with in terms of the comedy. A lot of times when you are doing a half hour show, the jokes are packed on the page, but this is more situational.  And I really liked that about the show and when they say cut, we’re like, oh you mean you guys are rolling?  You don’t even know when we stop or when we’re starting because there is a great rapport between the cast.  We’re like a boys club, when you see the four of us up there we are just kind of goofing off.  It’s great to have a gig like that when you just roll camera and you have a good time and getting to play music which is a very important part of the show for me because I play music and I have for a long time. It’s just a lot of fun.  Great fun;great group.  It’s an offbeat quirky show and it’s been a real treat to do that.

You seem to be the only family guy in the band, complete with a wife and kids. How does your character juggle being the responsible/parental figure and the weekend rock god?

The two creators of the show in many ways their lives mirror Eddie’s in the show. They are both television writers and they work incredibly hard but they are also married and have two kids So they know the game and personally relate to the story on some level… it’s always great when it’s there on the page and the writing is really good because it makes it so much easier. He (Eddie) has two loves in his life. The band and his wife and his family and he loves them for two different reasons. Music is something that is important to him and his wife understands that. It’s all the passions in life that is important. It’s so real and important in my life. Having been in a band before, if you really have the opportunity to perform live in front of a crowd that is really into it, there is nothing like it. It’s intoxicating and to have that every week is fantastic and he’s got that.

What’s it like doing comedy after coming off of a drama like NCIS Los Angeles?

It’s funny because NCISLA is such a unique exception because it is a workplace kind of show instead of a crime show in the sense that fans want to hang with those people, you want to be in that atmosphere like Cheers or the Larry Sanders Show.  When I think of NCIS LA you want to work in those cubicles and work next to those people solving crimes and fighting the good fight.  You really are attracted to the lighter side of it.  If NCISLA had been more dark and brooding like some other kind of crime show, I don’t know if I would have been necessarily into it. 

But I think the way things are with that show, I fit into it because of my quirkiness and more comedic side because I did a comedy before NCISLA.  I like doing the serious stuff as well but you got to find the humor in it, and find the jokes in it.  The tragedies will take care of themselves.  When you go out to hang out with the actual NCIS agents, they are so funny and they are not like ‘we got to go solve a crime’ or super serious guys.  Obviously this is different because the stakes are lesser in something like Wedding Band.  It’s not like life and death is at stake.  But there is so much more that goes on with NCISLA and really helps the show and adds this human element to it. It’s really an enjoyable place to work as well.

Peter Cambor Screencap
You were in a staging of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, As You Like It this summer. What was that experience like? Would you like to do more theatre?

I always would love to do more theatre.  When you move to LA you think you’re going to do a play a year and you kind of keep that in your back pocket and then you start working and that becomes more and more difficult to do.   Sometimes the timing doesn’t work out and to find the right play at the right place is kind of hard for that to happen too.  It had been over 4-5 years since I did a play, and finally this Shakespeare play fell into my lap and I spent a week on this audition because I was so rusty on my Shakespeare that I just worked and worked on it and went in and had a ball and later that afternoon I was cast in this thing.  There is nothing like being in front of a live audience and this was outdoors which I never done before which was great too.  It reminds you why you became an actor in the first place.  Not to be corny but it’s definitely chicken soup for the soul.  I was humbled by it and it was challenging and a great experience.

What’s up next for Peter Cambor?

Saturday is the season finally of the Wedding Band and we’ll find out if it’s coming back.  I’m in a holding pattern; maybe do some more pilots and comeback to do more NCISLA.  That’s the life of an actor; you go where the winds take you!


To celebrate the return of Peter Cambor this week to NCIS Los Angeles, we have commissioned a special Nate NCISLA Magazine cover by Sweet Lu!  Peter’s cover will be put in rotation along with the rest of the cast covers that you see above.  Be sure to watch the season finally of the Wedding Band on TNT, Saturday, January 19 at 10 pm (EST).  Thanks go out to Peter for taking the time to speak with us and we eagerly await his return to the set of NCIS LA.  Also, be sure to follow Peter on Twitter: @petercambor and on IMBD here.

Nate Getz Cover to be revealed with a special interview…

Nate Cover - Peter Cambor
To celebrate the return of Peter Cambor this week to NCIS Los Angeles, we have commissioned a special NCISLA Magazine cover by Sweet Lu which we will post tomorrow along with a special interview by the man himself! Peter sat down with us to answer a few questions about his return in Paper Soldiers and his current role in the Wedding Band. Stop by tomorrow to enjoy our new cover of Peter and his interview with NCISLA Magazine!

Interview with Jonathan Murphy

@David Zaugh

©David Zaugh

Jonathan Murphy likes to wear a lot of different hats and sometimes all at the same time!  This multi-talented actor from Arlington Texas is looking at his future projects and finding ways to expand a successful acting career.   Having starred in various TV shows and soaps, Jonathan got his first big break in October Road and later in the American version of the cult classic Life On Mars.  Today Murphy has expanded his resume by adding writer, director and talent to a new film short called Pull the Trigger, Mr. Wigger, a thought provoking work that poses some tough ethical questions.  This week we are excited to see Murphy make his way back in front of the camera again to star on NCIS Los Angeles and this week’s episode Paper Soldiers.  Welcome Jonathan to the NCISLAfamilia!

You grew up in a very traditional family far from the entertainment industry… but in high school you got the bug and decided to become an actor. What lured you to the footlights?

I was the guy who always played sports and I feel like I reached this thing where sports wasn’t doing it for me.  A friend of mine at the time was big into the theatre and he said why don’t you come out and do this and give it a try.  From what I can remember from my earliest time, when I went to see a musical or a show, I was always enthralled and stayed up late watching TV instead of doing my homework.  So there was always something wanting to exist in the entertainment industry that has been in me as long as I can remember.  The first thing I remember when I was six, I went to see a production of the Wizard of Oz and I can still remember thinking ‘how do I do this….how do I get into something like this’?  It was hard to admit to somebody that I’m going to move out to LA, hundreds of miles away and try to be an actor with the other millions of people who are trying to do the same thing.  But it caught me and bug has not let me go since!

After you enrolled in college, you immediately quit and made the move to Los Angeles. What motivated you to make the move at that time?

There was this thing called the Modeling and Talent Search of Texas, and I had no idea what it was but I was sitting in my dorm room looking for theatre auditions because there are tons of theatres from the Dallas/Fort Worth area where I’m from…so I was basically looking for a gig and this search said you could come out and do a monologue and there is going to be a casting directors there so I thought I would give it a shot.  I was 19 years old and wanted to give it a go.  I ended up getting a performance scholarship and met my first manager Craig Wargo there.  He said to me, ‘I think you’re great, but you live in Texas, if you ever move out to LA give me a ring and I’ll see what I can do for you’.  Two weeks later I was giving him a ring!

You have been on a few TV series but one of the most memorable was your work on the American version of Life on Mars. What was it like to work with that extraordinary group of actors?

That was a very good time and something a little different from your run of the mill cop shows.  We had a very devoted fan base not only with the UK version but the US version as well…they watched and they liked that show and I appreciated that.   That was a special experience.  It was the first time I had been to New York because we shot the whole series in New York and I packed up from LA and moved out there and I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know anyone except the producers.  Obviously, I was familiar with Mike (Imperioli) and the work he had done on The Sopranos and the accolades that came along with that.  Then there was Harvey (Keitel) and his long career.   But a lot of actors try and get on a show and be a regular and I was lucky enough to bond with not only people who had extensive film credits but people like Michael who worked a long time on television and also talented people like Jason (O’Mara) who was just breaking out.  But I think I was in awe of the whole experience of moving to New York and touching that dream that you thought about for so long.  So you learn and Mike and I developed chemistry not only on screen but off screen as well and I still speak with Jason and see Gretchen (Moll) too and I feel like we created a bond that surpassed the 17 episodes that we did.  But if you are someone who is sitting on a set and not willing to watch and learn from people who do what you do at such a high level and so consistently you miss a big opportunity.  I think the biggest thing I took away from that whole experience is that you have to be individual in the decisions that you make and the things that you want to do and you can’t rely on someone else to fulfill everything that makes up all your dreams.  I got to the do the work and enjoy the experience and it was only after so many years and now away from the series that I can look back and say, ok… the costumes were so great and the music was so great and I know people still talk about it and say they liked it so much as a viewer.  So now I can look back in a nostalgic way and say I agree with them. 

On NCIS Los Angeles you play Ian Bruckhurst in Paper Soldiers.  Without going into anything specific about the plot, can you tell us a little about your character? What was it like to work with this cast and crew?

This was kind of my first foray into any of the medical world jargon because I play a character who works at the LA Coroner’s office.  My character is a guy who handles the body and when he hears what the coroners are saying, they don’t match up and sound suspicious and that’s when Sam and G come around asking their questions.  My scenes were all with those guys (Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J) and when you do a one-off guest appearance you always hope that you get to work with the leads of the show because it’s a good thing for your face and your level of performance because you are hopefully matching their level of performance.  But I was lucky because my scenes were with Chris and Todd.

I can tell you from experience that a lot of people don’t understand the amount of work and time that goes into being number one, number two, number three on the call sheet and the extra-curricular work like being hosts of the Grammys and all the extra stuff they have to deal with for them to be able to come to a set and be as cordial and as nice as they are.   They are so nice and it filters from them all the way down to the sound guy, the grips and of course, the director.  Those guys are the face of the show but they really set the standard and they set a great working atmosphere. 

Any stories you can share about your time spent on set?

There was one scene we were doing and I noticed Todd was sitting over there reading his lines and I took note of it and the next day I sat next to him between takes and I said ‘Is that woman that you are sitting next to yesterday your acting coach?’  And he said that yes, she goes over everything with him and I told him that I respected that.  Because a lot of guys in that position don’t have to be making that extra effort and have an acting teacher working with them nonstop on every scene… but the dedication and the amount of work and everything that goes into that and on top of them being cordially and introducing themselves and saying hello at the table read sticks with actors like myself because I’ve seen how difficult it to be a regular and how time consuming it is but they are able to manage that and still be able to be nice guys and I appreciate that.  They made my job 10 times easier.

@David Zaugh

©David Zaugh

You have recently written, directed and starred in your first short film called Pull the Trigger, Mr. Wicker. Can you tell us how that all came about and what it was like to wear so many hats?

I loved it.  That idea was a short scene idea that I had stewing around in my brain for a while.  It was a desire to want to wear all those hats that created the essence of wanting to pull it all together.  But I didn’t just want to go out and make a short film because I wanted to have written something, and directed something and starred in something …my goal in accomplishing the goal of writing and producing and all the stuff that comes along with all that pre-production was that the content was relevant and as I told my actresses, we want this to be the first ten minutes of a conversation that lasts a lot longer than that.  We want people to watch this and say what choice would I choose, because in the end my character has to choose what his fate will be and my ultimate goal in doing it was to plant some sort of seed in the viewer’s mind that says what fate would I have chosen?  And if we can get them to ask that question then I think our goal has been realized and hopefully that is translated into what I would choose and why I would choose this and hopefully it would start a debate.  It has been received well by the people who have watched it and I hope that I can leave the audience behind with a piece of it and take something away with them.  That was our goal. 

What’s up next for Jonathan Murphy?

I can tell you there is a script that I have written and a producer who saw Mr. Wicker at the Unexpected Film Festival in LA and he is interested in getting this project off the ground.  But in living the life of an actor you never know what is right around the corner and in the mean time I have spent a lot more time with my writing and after Mr. Wicker was done I was trying to delve into that part of this industry because I respect guys like LL Cool J who create different venues like he does with his music and his hosting besides his acting.  And that’s what’s next for me, not just another job but looking to expand a career.  I want to build a career so people can’t get enough of me yet!

Thanks go out to Jonathan for talking the time to speak to NCISLA Magazine!  You can watch Jonathan’s new short film on YouTube, Pull the Trigger, Mr. Wigger .  Follow Jonathan on twitter @jonathan3murphy and on his website: