'The Passage': NYPD Blue's Mark-Paul Gosselaar puts on his detective cap again, this time for a rather unusual plot
Gosselaar played the role of John Clark Jr., a fan favorite cop, on 'NYPD Blue'. Now he will be Brad Wolgast, an FBI agent, in Fox's upcoming show, 'The Passage.'
Mark-Paul Gosselaar is an asset to comedy on television, but somehow, the one avatar of his that fans have latched on to for the longest period of time is John Clar Jr. from ABC's former longest-running drama, 'NYPD Blue'. Gosselaar played the role for four years at a stretch and soon became a fan favorite cop on television.
This was probably because of the wholesome relationship the character shared with his work-partner, detective Andy Sipowicz - showcasing a journey between a mentor and a mentee. Fast forward to 2019, and Gosselaar has another equally riveting plot to unfold on the upcoming show 'The Passage'. This time acting as a guiding surrogate parent of a young child while he mentors her through the process, once again, as a detective.
In 'NYPD Blue', from season 9 onwards, we saw Gosselaar's character Clark Jr. go through a transformation process alongside the character of Sipowicz. The two were partnered after Sipowicz's previous partner, Danny Sorenson, lost his life at an undercover sting that went bad. But Clark Jr's initiation into the role of a detective was not by mere luck or chance; it was only after he brilliantly exhibited a fair share of courageous action and bravery in an undercover operation, that he earned the badge of a detective.
One of the most brilliant subplots to unfold on 'NYPD Blue' was the relationship between Sipowicz and Clark Jr. As the show progressed, and as the two detectives began partnering together, Sipowicz sort of became a mentor figure for the much younger Clark Jr.
This was especially charming to witness because, eventually, Clark became so adapted to the veteran's qualities, and his detective skills, most of those began rubbing off on him. Their relationship peaked when Clark Jr's father - a former by-the-book detective himself - embarrassed him repeatedly and almost cost him his job, but Sipowicz demanded Clark Sr. clear his son's name.
Another important milestone in their relationship was Sipowicz taking care of Clark Jr. after the suicide of the latter's father, and also the death of his bipolar ex-girlfriend from an apparent prescription drug overdose. This led to Clark Jr. losing focus, as he started spending most of his time being drunk and engaging in casual sex, his reckless attitude also ruining one of the cases their squad was handling at court.
But Sipowicz was constantly by his side, and as the show progressed, we saw John Clark Jr. developing his skills and attitude - something that led to him becoming the 15th Squad's lead detective, while his former partner, Sipowicz, was made sergeant, as the show came to an end.
It was a refreshing take on cop dramas, especially considering it was all the way back in the early 90s where multi-dimensional cop characters were a rarity on television. They were either always the socially offensive macho men or the quiet intellectual type that would, quite frankly, make the plot bland.
At a time like that, John Clark Jr. emerged a young, driven detective, who had a fallback and didn't turn into the sour-patch stereotype. The more unfriendly, older detective, shows him compassion and he is ready to turn his life around despite the tragedies he experienced, and that was a breath of fresh air.
And this is pretty much what brings us to the conclusion that as an FBI detective turned secret guardian of a 10-year-old medical test subject set in a dystopian world, Gosselaar is going to wow and amaze us once again with a cop character that is quite unconventional.
Soon to arrive on Fox, 'The Passage' is based on Justin Cronin's apocalyptic novels of the same name, and revolves around Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a federal agent who has been given the task of retrieving the young Amy Belfonte (Saniyya Sidney) as she has been chosen to appear as a test subject for a risky medical trial called Project Noah.
Here's the catch. This trial could either eradicate all disease from our planet or could completely wipe out the human race. In a very Spiderman-plot fashion, our initially good cop, Wolgast, goes rogue, and accompanying him in this change of heart is the little Amy - with the duo standing against the world. Soon, it draws the attention of the Feds, of course, and who is the man in charge of hunting the rogue duo down? Wolgast's former best friend Clark Richards (Vincent Piazza).
What's interesting about the plot is that Wolgast - even though he's going against the authorities - is actually doing what he's doing, with good intent. In his task to bring Amy to the research center, he gets protective of the child and starts acting like a father-figure of sorts. Along with the authorities, Project Noah begins posing a threat in the form of unleashing a deadly apocalypse on the planet.
Oh, and turns out the trial going wrong could accidentally create vampire-like superhumans with bloodthirst, an amalgamation of science and technology with the supernatural genre has rarely been seen before!
Much like the craze and rave 'NYPD Blue' was able to garner over the span of the 12 long years it ran, Gosselaar's upcoming project has already been dubbed an expansive drama by critics and reviewers - unlike most of the dramas produced by the Fox network. Also starring Jamie McShane, Caroline Chikezie, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Brianne Howey, McKinley Belcher III, and Henry Ian Cusick, 'The Passage' comes from exec producer Ridley Scott and premieres Monday, January 14, 2019, at 9/8c on Fox.