Power star Jerry Ferrara on Proctor's 'bittersweet' episode
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Sunday’s episode of Power.
“It was a good run, Proctor.”
Last week, Proctor watched as his ex-wife died of an overdose that he had both caused and let happen. Unfortunately for him, Saxe’s (Shane Johnson) bug overheard what went down, information that the ASUA threatened Proctor with. Looking to protect his daughter, he divulged that Tommy (Joseph Sikora) was the one who killed Angela. Again, unfortunately for him, this message got back to his vengeful client. With an assist from Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.), Tommy then ambushed and killed Proctor, who was first able to make one last heartbreaking call to his young daughter. “This isn’t f—ing over,” he says to Tommy with his last words, knowing he left a microchip, a.k.a. “daddy’s little secret,” with Elisa Marie (Mattea Conforti).
To help us recover from that tragic ending, EW exclusively chatted with Jerry Ferrara about learning of Proctor’s fate, dying at the hands of a “Hall of Fame psychopath serial killer,” and going out with an Entourage reunion.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How long have you been holding this secret in? I talked to Lela Loren for her exit and she was sitting on that for 18 months.
JERRY FERRARA: I technically wrapped around Christmas, but then I owed like two days of pickup shots on that sequence, which was the middle of January. So I’ve been sitting on it for like nine months. This interview is good for me, because this is the first time I’m actually able to answer a question on the fate of Proctor. I’ve been asked for a year and a half, “What’s going to happen?” And I always have to deflect and go sideways, but now we can actually have an honest discussion about what happened.
What was the conversation like with creator Courtney A. Kemp when she told you that this was it for Proctor?
For me, I was a Power fan before I was even on it, so it’s always been a big treat and privilege for me to work on this show. But I know what makes this show unique is it’s one of the few shows ever that really will take anyone out at anytime. So I don’t think anyone ever feels truly safe; I’ve never necessarily felt safe, but then you make it a certain amount of time and you’re like, “Oh, maybe I’m going to see the end of this thing.” At the end of season 5, I had a feeling that my head was on the chopping block, and I got the finale script and I was like, “Holy s—, I survived.” And then I started to see season 6 shake out and how hot things were getting for Proctor, and Courtney alluded to the fact that I might not survive this season, but she never said when.
So right around when I got the episode 4, which was when my ex-wife overdoses on drugs, I was in L.A., and Courtney and I have a show that we’re working on in the future, and she said, “Can you come by my office to talk about a few things?” But I thought we were going to talk about our future project, and then I got in her office and she sits me down and is kind of like smiling but I can also see in her eyes that it’s not good news. I was like, “Oh god, is this happening right now?” And she launched right into her speech that she’s given dozens of times to many actors from the Power universe, and she basically told me the whole way he goes out and why and how it’s going to be this epic shootout. My whole thought had been, “When it comes for me, I’m going to take it like a soldier. I’m not going to show that I’m upset.” And then I got upset in the room. [Laughs] I was like, “Aw man, why now? It couldn’t be three more episodes?” But I’m sure those are tough conversations for her. So I didn’t find out until about a week and a half before I shot it.
Were you at least happy to go out firing? Shootouts weren’t usually part of Proctor’s job description.
One hundred percent. Because so many times you see the characters get killed off and they almost don’t know it’s coming, making it even more brutal. For me, I think Proctor knows that the end might be near. So I loved seeing him carry a gun and dive behind a couch and have a shootout with a Hall of Fame psychopath serial killer in Tommy, who I think he held his own against. And you got to see how much he really loved his daughter and would have done anything to protect her. He went from fear based to almost ready to accept what was coming his way once he knew his daughter was safe.
After that heartbreaking call, he definitely was ready to face his fate.
Yeah, and that is one of my favorite lines. His last words are, “This ain’t f—ing over.” And that can mean a lot of different things as everybody will find out down the road, but I thought that was a very Proctor thing to say as his last words.
If Proctor was going to go, did it always seem inevitable that it would be at the hands of Tommy? He basically thought Tommy was going to kill him every time they met.
Yes and no. In my mind, and totally on my own without having conversations with Courtney, I thought it was going to be Ghost (Omari Hardwick). I maybe romanticized it a bit, like if there is such a thing as a civil murder; it was going to be painless, we’re going to do this quick, you’re not going to suffer. Because with Tommy, he enjoys all of this and you know it’s probably going to be savage. But it is kind of fitting because it shows that still in the end Proctor wasn’t giving up Ghost. Even though maybe selling out Tommy does sell out Ghost, but he was still saying Tommy killed Angela, there you go. So Tommy killing him was fitting — I think maybe he wanted to do it for a long time anyway [laughs].
That was fitting, but did it also feel fitting to go out with Domenick Lombardozzi, your friend from the Entourage days, in the episode as Benny and having some big scenes with him?
For sure, because that is one of my best friends. So when Courtney was very happy to have him come on last year, obviously, that was a thrill for me. But it did add something for me and for him. In an alternate universe, where I was a criminal but Dom was still my best friend, I guess he would be the guy who I was like, “Hey, you’ve got to watch over my daughter for me.” It all felt a little bit real with him because of our relationship offscreen. He’s a tremendous actor, but I do really think it elevated the scenes for me, because seeing Dom and Mattea cuddled on that couch after I come home from being grilled by Saxe, it just really made the acting part easy for me.
You mentioned how long ago you shot this, but what was your last day like? As you said, you were a fan of this show before you were cast and then you put in five years into this. So what was it like saying goodbye to the show and character?
It’s weird, because your character is dying, but, as an actor, in a way you’re being honored like the whole week, because everyone knows it’s your last few days and makes it special. It has been five years, so you really grow to love the people you work with, and I love the cast and so many of the crew members. It’s sad because we’re friends for life but you just know I’m not going to be able to see these people for 50 hours a week like I was. The table reads on Power are almost this monumental occasion. It’s an event. Nobody misses them and people are coming with their A-game. Every time an actor is meeting their end, whenever we get together for this table read, Courtney gets up and says a few words, then I stand up and they let me say a few words, and then next thing you know Omari jumps up and says a couple things, and everyone stands up and claps. I’ve never been a part of anything like this, you really feel respected and loved.
And then you go into the week and you shoot the episode. So like the last day, which I remember from the Entourage days, it’s very bittersweet, but it’s almost like you’re a little numb to it, because you’re like, “What is life going to be like now this thing that has been such a huge part of my everyday routine is now gone?” It really does not hit you how upsetting it is until later. And now, since it’s been nine months, it’s all starting to hit me when this last episode airs, it’s like, “Wow, it’s really gone.” It is very bittersweet. I think it’s sweet, because — and I’m biased — I think Power is going to be a legendary show. But it’s very bitter because this stuff doesn’t happen, and I’m lucky enough that it’s happened twice. I start to say, “S—, does it happen a third time?” It’s really lightning in a bottle!
Proctor is gone, but like you brought up, he said, “This isn’t f—ing over.” We know that he left behind some incriminating information, so how does Joe still affect the story moving forward?
This is not a plug for Power Confidential, but it’s going to seem that way: I went on this week’s [Power after-show] and that was the first time I watched the episode, and on the show with me was Joe Sikora and the writer, Gabriela Uribe, and let’s just say that last line, to me as the actor, I was playing it with one intention, but then Gabby kind of points out another way it can be interpreted, which is equally as interesting — and dangerous. So all I’ll say to the future is there’s a lot of loose ends and Proctor was a very smart guy and Proctor was a very loved guy, and Proctor was not a white collar lawyer who goes in and just wants to do his job, he got his hands way too dirty. At the time, it certainly felt like there’s going to be something coming. It’s not f—ing over.
Now with it officially over for you, how would you sum up this experience and what it meant to you?
Courtney Kemp had brought me in for a smaller part and it didn’t work out for scheduling and I was super bummed because the show had a really successful season 1, and she said, “I’m going to write something for you. I think there’s a lot more to you than just what we’ve seen with Turtle and Entourage, and I like to shock people, so I want to work with you.” And I’ve heard that in my career a bunch of times and it’s never amounted to anything. And less than a year later, she called me back and said, “I have this part, it’s a criminal defense attorney, it’s not a lot stuff right now, but it’s going somewhere and I’d love for you to do it.” I read the scenes and I remember having that moment, “You know what, this is not a lot of stuff.” It was like two good scenes and a courtroom thing. I was just coming off Entourage and in my mind I wanted something bigger, but I just kept telling myself, “This is a really good show with really good actors and producers, and it’s something you’ve never done before, and clearly Courtney sees something that not a lot of other people are calling you saying they see, so take the chance.” I just went in with a totally open heart and I was so welcomed. I’ve felt respected before but it was the first time I felt almost showered with respect. So you cut to five years later, I actually feel relief, like, “Thank God she had the belief in me and that I wasn’t on some ego s—, like, ‘No, I need something bigger.'” Just thank God that I stayed true to who I was, because look where it led me. I’m just grateful and relieved that I was able to do it, and I still am a little nervous for life without it. I know that I’m going to work a ton and there will be other shows, but it was so special and I just hope that fans keep it alive. Because one of the other best things about this show was the love — and hate — that I’ve been shown in the streets from the fans and on Twitter, it’s just awesome. I think Power really does have the best fans on TV. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I hope you’re ready for your Twitter feed to be going wild on Sunday, because the Power fans always take over.
I woke up last Sunday morning and apparently Proctor was trending just from people watching on the Starz app. Courtney texted me at like 9 in the morning with a screenshot of a “Protect Proctor” hashtag trending.
If you were trending on last Sunday, then this will be another level.
I just look forward to the reaction. I want to know if people are like, “He deserved it,” or if people are going to be like, “Nooooooo!!!!”
Regardless, like Tommy says, it was a good run.
In the end, when I got the news, I really couldn’t complain. I made it to the fifth episode of season 6, which is way more than I thought Proctor would be around for.
Power airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.