‘The Last Ship’ exclusive: Jocko Sims on Slattery’s rescue, helicopter scene, and Burk’s mindset

Burk -Last night on “The Last Ship” season 3, we certainly had a crazy episode from start to finish. We had helicopter action, the rescue of Slattery, and also the death Cruz, among others. The episode ended with further questions about who the crew of the Nathan James can trust, and it propels us into an interesting place moving forward.

For more insight on the state of things past and present, we were lucky to have a chance to speak with none other than Jocko Sims (Carlton Burk). We talked about some of the scenes from Sunday’s episode, the “no one is safe” mindset that goes along with being on the show, and if he could see his character having another love interest at some point soon.

CarterMatt – From the get-go this season, what did losing Rhona Mitra and the Rachel character do to everyone? How did it rock the team, and did it reinforce that nobody is really safe? So many shows claim that, but this one has really proven it.

Jocko Sims – It’s like ‘Game of Thrones’ on this show — you never know who’s gonna go. I think the writers made that decision some time ago, maybe even midway through season 1, midway by season 2. I think that’s from the top down, all the way to the co-stars. What’s cool about that is that you’re doing a show about war, and you have to have some sort of reality there. It’s not really great for the actors (laughs), since you never wanna get that phone call from a producer. When you get that phone call, you know it’s coming.

What did you think when you first learned about Slattery’s capture early this season, and have you enjoyed that we’ve seen the world expanded so much? We’ve got that story, and then everything at the Nathan James, and then everything going on with [President Michener].

I love the whole Presidential situation room, I think it adds another layer that was needed. The Slattery capture was cool as well. What was interesting to me is that the writers write these sort of things that are parallels to what is happening in real life. We filmed that a long time ago, and it was a few months ago when there were U.S. sailors captured by Iran. That writes time and again each season. In fact, this season we had to postpone our premiere date because of the shootings in Orlando because of the scene in the club. I don’t know how they’ve done that, I wish they’d stop predicting the future, but they have a good grasp on politics and things that are going on with China, conflicts with Russia, and they try to incorporate all of those things. It’s really interesting.

How do you think Burk feels about where he is right now? He’s halfway around the world dealing with very difficult things, and I can’t imagine this is what he thought he would be doing so many years ago.

I think Burk is not necessarily surprised or fazed by any new mission. He’s loyal to his mission, he’s loyal to the Navy, loyal to the United States, and whatever he’s handed, he is going to take it, no complaints, and do what he’s gotta do. If nothing else, judging by season 2 and the beginning of season 1, Burk may be a little lonely, not having a love interest, but other than that he knows it’s a part of the job and I think he’s content to be spreading the cure. As we know, something’s going on over in China, President Peng’s not spreading it the way that he should be, and that’s raising concerns for all of us. We don’t know if the virus has mutated, if Takehaya is involved; the more time we spend, the more things will become clear.

He’s glad to have his brother back and on board. That’s a good thing.

Have you played Burk any differently because of his brother being around?

No, I don’t really play him differently. Initially in the first couple of episodes, you saw some humor from Burk, which was a good change. You see some sibling rivalry and that’s cool. Other than that, there’s not much difference when it comes to approach.

But, with the whole ‘Game of Thrones’ approach that I was talking about before, on this past episode when I was up in the helicopter and was sort of a sacrificial thing, saying ‘hey, use us as a target and shoot the quarter-inch right at us,’ when Lt. Granderson looks to my brother and says ‘hey, that’s dangerous,’ he’s faced with another decision. I love the moment that LaMonica Garrett, who plays my brother, took. He said ‘let’s do it,’ and he had faith in his brother that this was going to work. They shot, and when we came back after the quarter-inch and the show and the plan worked, I go back to LaMonica and his eyes are a little bit teary-eyed, I thought that was such a great moment. Having them there, having LaMonica specifically play Burk, is a great addition for me and a great addition to the show.

What was the experience like shooting some more of those helicopter scenes this week? I know it had to be different than it looked on TV, but I was scrolling Twitter last night and people really loved it. Did you have any idea that it’d look that cool?

Absolutely not. That one caught me off guard. We shoot so many things out of order. That might have been the last thing I shot for the season. We’re shooting out of order, and while we can see what happens in the script, we’re certainly not around at the time they are shooting the other side, the guys on the ground fighting. You don’t know how that comes out, and with the music and how they had the timing of us swooping in, it was beautiful. I was like ‘whoa,’ and I was scoping through Twitter like you said and everyone was freaking out about it.

You mentioned earlier love interests and Burk being lonely. Would you want to see someone new later this season, early next season? I think it could be fun.

I think it could be, but they just have to be fun and not have to repeat the same experience that he had in season 2 with Ravit, who was played by Inbar Lavi. You definitely don’t want the same to happen, you don’t want people to be killed off because the fans don’t want to do that again.

I think if there is some sort of love interest it’d have to be played a little differently, like if someone came along and Burk wasn’t paying attention at first. Burk is a flirt. Maybe they’re working together, he says he’s proud of her and that she’s tough, and then they build a friendship. That’d be a little bit different, and I’d love to do that.

After all that he and his brother have been through, do you ever think that there is hope for for Burk to have some sort of normal life once this ends?

I think they all hope to go home at some point and have a normal life with their families, but it seems the way the world is going, at least with how it’s being written, we’re far from that. There’s so much unrest, and there are so many different people in power, so many people attempting to be tyrants, so it looks like it could be a long time before there is any sort of sense of normalcy.

Again, Burk is the kind of person who just takes it in stride. He’s a soldier, and whatever the world is going to throw at him, he’s ready to take it on.

So have you guys heard anything about season 4 just yet, or are you guys waiting around like we are?

Every year we go through this, and it’s one of those things where we just sit and wait to see what happens. I have a similar attitude to Burk; whatever happens, happens. If we get to come back that’d be amazing, but if not we’ll be looking to see what else is out there for us.

Is there anything that you’re working on that you want people to know about?

Right now I’m writing and developing a comedy series, which is a stark contrast to ‘The Last Ship,’ so I’m excited about that. I’m looking forward to doing more writing, producing, directing down the line.

I’m also hosting an internet radio show with my mom that I started, and we play unsigned artists’ music. It’s on-camera, and we bring celebrity guests in to watch and drink and have a good time and critique the music. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a learning experience for the artists and a lot of times they’ll have an opportunity to get signed. Some A&R people are listening sometimes and it’s happened a couple of times. That’s always great. Tonight, incidentally, our guest is Eric Dane! Captain Chandler will be in the studio on-camera and will be having a good time.

How you find the show is that every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time is at ApolloNightLA.com. We also post the past episodes on YouTube the very next day.

We want to give a special thanks to Jocko for spending some time chatting with us! New episodes of ‘The Last Ship’ air Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

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