Fight for fight

 BCaroline May, Xposé, 1998

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Two new TV shows arrived on the American networks last year, both centered around the work of the profilers, these FBI agents whose speciality is to track killers starting from indices given up by those on the scene of their crimes. But whereas everyone thought that it would be Millennium, created by the persons in charge for The X-Files, which would easly win this duel, it is finally the other show, the one almost denounced as a fraudulent imitation, Profiler, which gradually became essential for the public. What is ravishing A Martinez, the actor who plays the bomb disposal expert Nick Cooper. Character conceived in the beginning to appear only in one episode, Coop affirmed his presence so well that he now became a "regular" of the show. Isn't he from now on the friend of heart of Sam Waters herself (Ally Walker) ?

Initially famous to have been during three consecutive seasons Daniel Morales, the single father of L.A. Law, A Martinez explains why he is happy to have found a job in a popular TV show again : "During the two years after L.A. Law has stopped, I had to run from dramatic to dramatic, and it is not the best way of living when you are a father and that you aim at coming back home every evening. Of course, you travel by plane every weekend to come back home, but it is not really the same thing. I waited impatiently to find an employment which would enable me not to leave the town. I refused one or two proposals which did not appear very interesting to me, but it is necessary to well acknowledge that it is only at the last moment that you know if a role deserved to be accepted or not. I thank the sky for having make myself to accept Profiler. I play a role I like in the middle of people I get along with really well. What could I ask more ?"

One of the reasons that pushed A Martinez to prefer Profiler to other proposals was the prospect to work with Ally Walker, he had already met several years ago, at the time of Santa Barbara : "She took part in this show during about one year, and she played there a woman who wanted to kill me. We can say it now, this part of the intrigue was certainly not what was the best of Santa Barbara, but Ally, while at the same time was only a beginner yet, did not discourage herself. She valiantly stayed there ! She had remained printed in my mind and since I followed her career. She is lively, she is nice, she has sense of humour, and she is an excellent actress. When, in Profiler, you see her having visions, you really have the impression that she is in a special state. And, believe me, it is not so easy for an actor to produce this effect. With her way, she symbolizes rather well the reasons of the success of Profiler : this program shows to the televiewers characters who go somewhere else, and the televiewers have the impression to accompany them in this journey."

A Martinez does not do homage only to his comrades actors; he makes a point of also underlining the precision and the effectiveness of the scripts of the show, which make of the character of Coop practically the opposite of Daniel Morales that he played in the L.A. Law. "Unlike several other characters of Profiler, Coop is not lost under administrative works. He is a man who, to earn his life, is constrained to risk it every day. He defuses bombs for ten years. People who make this job for a so long time end up thinking that "tomorrow" is a word they must use with much prudence. But this absence of futurology has its advantage : it obliges to more deeply appreciate the present moment. Finally, I believe that what I look for the more in my life is the conscience, the conscience to be there, quite simply. There are so many things in the everyday life which encourage us to forget that we are there, for the best and the worst... Nothing said that we must be a day there, and we are there yet. One of the things I like the more at Coop is that he is always here and now."

Martinez himself is not man who makes impracticable plans. He had not imagined, even in his most insane dreams, that such a success awaited Profiler : "But you know, this is in what I am distinguished from my wife and my children : as soon as they see the gifts at the bottom of the Christmas tree, they die of desire for knowing what the packages contain and they shake them to try to guess. A similar idea would not even come me to mind. When I am on the way, I am not impatient of knowing what is at the end of the road. I’m always surprised of what arrived to me. At the occasion of a meeting of former college friends, I recently became aware of the chance that I had had by making this job that is mine. An actor who is not very known, which is my case, must constantly make efforts to improve. But this professional work touches so many things, pledges so many decisions that it ends up resounding on the personal life and leads to a real discovery of oneself. Yes, really, I had chance..."

It is with the L.A. Law that Martinez become "a name" in Hollywood. This show offers the same qualities as several other famous shows created by Steven Bochco - Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Murder One : "It combines the spirit and the heart, quite simply. This combination is finally the ideal that any actor looks for. I remember Steven explaining one day to Jimmy Smits about NYPD Blue : "Do not ask you if it is in a movie or a drama series that you play. Ask you what words you have to say." The secret is there. Words are the reflects of the mind, and what are we, if not what we think ? Only for that, all the actors who worked with Steven Bochco owe him an eternal recognition. In every episode, there was at the beginning a scene in which you saw all the characters together around the same table. I liked this rite, because it enabled me to work at least one time in each episode with all the actors and because this work - but is this the right word ? - corresponded to the spirit of the show."

A Martinez needed some time to grasp at the role of Morales in L.A . Law. He had to leave the kind of comfort he had acquired by playing in Santa Barbara. "I had spent eight years with a character I adored, and then I had to enter the skin of a character much less adorable. However the relations I have with my roles are primarily founded on emotion. And if there is not really any, you lose, if I can say, a little light... Santa Barbara had its portion of difficulties, but especially related to the same conditions of shooting. The rhythms seemed sometimes really impossible. But little by little, with a little chance, we discovered that we were able to react more quickly face to some situations, we learned to "manage" better our time and energy, and finally we succeeded to rise on a higher qualification level. I missed this daily mental and moral gymnastics when the show was completed and I felt that my little interior engine started to purr a little too nicely..."

But Martinez is not the kind to stay with anything to do. Musician at his free hours, he likes rock country so much that he already recorded an album and that he is even preparing another one, that he intends to finish during the breaks which will leave him the shooting of Profiler. And he will give, to celebrate the release of this second album, a series of lives. "I am not as advanced in the range of music as in dramatic art ! In fact, I had started to make music well before playing comedy. But it is an activity I almost entirely left on another side during all my Santa Barbara period." The success of Profiler and the shooting of many episodes in the months to come will probably not enable him to develop his musical side as much as he wishes it, but he would not dare to complain about his participation in a show that some already compare with The X-Files.

Like The X-Files indeed, Profiler succeeds the combination between sympathetic characters and topics which seem often directly extracted from the "Gothic" literature of the 19th century : "In a certain manner, Profiler is for some eyes science fiction. But there is no fiction in the life of the profilers who exist in the reality. They are FBI agents whose speciality is now established since nearly thirty years. The principle of their activity is basically simple : it is, after having studied sketches of behaviour and some situations, to project themselves in the mind of someone who makes devastations on his passage. Men who achieve the best this kind of work perhaps have, if you want to present the things in this manner, a sixth sense, but Profiler never requires of the televiewers to forget reality as some science fiction shows force them to do it."