When an actor plays a cop, there are several skills he or she needs to acquire, including handling and firing guns, employing the right amount of sympathy and/or intimidation in interrogating suspects, running down alleyways (sometimes in heels, if it’s a female detective), and simply walking while wearing a heavy gunbelt and not winding up looking like an extra in a John Wayne Western.
And, one must learn how to slap on handcuffs, and that’s one thing that apparently sounds a lot easier than it is.
During some recent set visits, Zap2it asked two stars of “CSI: Miami,” CBS’ Sunday-night hit — Rex Linn and Jonathan Togo — and Regina King of TNT’s “Southland” (which begins a new season Tuesday, Jan. 4), to talk about the difficulties of slapping the cuffs on a suspect.
Linn (Miami-Dade Police Department Detective Sergeant Frank Tripp): “I do have outstanding skills. I could kill you in an instant; I could cuff you quicker. Here’s the deal: We fake it now. The first time I had to cuff a guy, it was as long as another episode. He was all into the scene. He was trying to struggle with me, and I just couldn’t get them on.
“I said, ‘You know what, cut it.’ I walked over to the director and said, ‘Look, this is going to be another movie in itself. I know the guy’s really getting into the role, and he’s supposed to struggle a little bit, but are we seeing the handcuffs actually go on him?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, can you just tell him to hold onto them?’
“So that’s what we’ve been doing. I’ll turn them around, grab their arm like that, bring it around their back. Then what I’m doing is putting [the cuffs] in their hands. They’re holding the cuffs, and they walk off.”
King (LAPD Detective Lydia Adams) : “[My skills] are great, when I’m practicing. I had to have a handcuffing [this season], after a chase scene. I started it, but Jenny [guest star Jenny Gago, as Detective Josie Ochoa] finished it. That’s the way it was set up.
“I’ve seen a show, ‘Law & Order,’ to be specific, where I saw the cuff dangling. But Jenny had to cuff yesterday, and she was good. So I would say that I’m not bad, because I got the one cuff on, and by the end, the suspect’s up.”
Togo (MDPD CSI/Detective Ryan Wolfe) : “Terrible. Just terrible. It’s hard. Most of the time, I say to the actor, ‘I’m cuffing you. Just hold the cuffs behind your back.’ Because you can’t just throw them on. You could break someone’s wrist.
“I was a theater major at Vassar … Yeah, I’m a Vassar Girl, tried and true, looking for that Yale husband to take me away from all this … But drive the car here and skid it, run out and shoot the gun, jump over the thing, walkie-talkie in the car … I went to Vassar. I don’t know how to do this stuff! They say, ‘Hey, just do it!'”