Don Johnson plays a ruthless oil tycoon on Blood & Oil, ABC’s North Dakota-set boomtown drama. For our Fall TV Preview mega-issue, we spoke to the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star, 65, about his return to the small screen and what being around billionaires is really like.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us about your character, Hap Briggs.
DON JOHNSON: Briggs is a throwback to the riverboat gamblers of yore – he sees the world differently. He’s hearing a bell of destiny, which is driving him to make American energy-independent. I think Ghandi heard a bell, I think Mandela heard a bell — I’m not so sure that Hap possesses any of their virtues, but when people hear that bell, it is as if nothing is going to alter their course.
What’s Hap’s relationship with his son, Wick (Scott Michael Foster), and his wife, Carla (Amber Valletta)?
As happens in a lot of families where there’s a lot of money, entitlements run rampant. That’s part of what he’s dealing with with his son. His wife … I’ve known a lot of these billionaires, and they have the wife. But they also have four or five dalliances on the side.
Is that the case with Briggs?
That may be the case.
Were you looking to return to TV when you got this?
Not particularly. This came along and I said no. Then [Blood & Oil EP] Tony Krantz said, “Please let me just come meet with you.” I was taken by the passion that everyone had with the project. This is sprawling, epic, prime-time drama. It’s full of secrets, double crosses, backstabbing, and sex. The seven deadly sins are on full display!
Sounds like Hollywood.
Well, yeah. There’s a lot of riverboat gamblers in Hollywood.
Want more? EW’s Fall TV Preview mega-issue has the scoop on 115 shows! While the issue has left newsstands, you can still buy it here.
Blood & Oil premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.