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A whole lot of "Bull"

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Trial analytics are at the centre of the new drama series starring Michael Weatherly

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   After 13 seasons of playing of senior field agent in the hit TV series “NCIS”, actor Michael Weatherly has swapped law enforcement for trial analytics in new drama “Bull”, which recently premiered in the US and Asia.
Weatherly portrays Dr Jason Bull, founder of successful trial consulting firm Trial Analysis Corporation, who uses every means at his disposal to get the justice his clients deserve. The doctor is perfectly aware that the 12 ordinary people making up a jury have the power to decide a person’s fate at court. He also knows that these jurors possess a preconceived notion of the truth. That’s why the key to winning a trial is by winning over the jury.
   Bull further understands that even the tiniest details such as relationship status, clothes and hairstyle can turn the court against the defendant. To avoid an unfavourable outcome, he works with a team of experts to make sure his clients are on their best behaviour and will say the right things on the witness stand. His staff includes a lawyer who acts as defence attorney in mock trials, a neurolinguistics expert formerly employed by the Department of Homeland Security, an ex-detective from the New York Police Department, a haughty millennial hacker, and a fashion stylist.
   The show takes inspiration from the early career of Dr Phil McGraw, co-founder of top trial consulting firm Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), which has provided trial consulting services for Fortune 500 companies as well as talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
     We chatted with Weatherly about his new role.
 
How did you prepare yourself for the role?
It is a beautiful thing when you can go to YouTube and watch all sorts of different people who are jury consultants or examine the different aspects of trial science, including the O.J. Simpson trial. I was also watching Fellini’s “8 1/2” every day. And I was really inspired by the Fellini-esque quality of the characters, faces and storytelling because ultimately Bull is a dream weaver. He’s a storyteller. Whether you’re selling toothpaste or running for president, you’re just building a narrative. And that is where Bull is sort of magical.
 
What other qualities do you think makes Dr Bull interesting?

We’re six episodes into making the show right now and I keep trying to put Bull in situations where he is a little uncomfortable because I think that Bull is a bit of a control freak. He wants to understand what everybody’s thinking and he wants to control outcome, but I think he’s self-aware enough to know that’s what he’s doing. So he constantly puts himself into different, sometimes contorted, positions where he can be uncomfortable, and sometimes even wrong. The other day I went to work and Bull woke up in a field in his underwear next to a cow! He’s a very surprising character.
 
What do you like most about your character?

I like the mystery. It’s the enigmatic core of Bull that appeals to me. And I haven’t figured him out. I don’t know what the mystery is, but it’s a great engine inside the character and the series. He seems to be almost a con man sometimes. And then he turns around and helps people in the most beautiful way and he seems selfless and magical. So I’m really looking forward to exploring Bull for many, many seasons to come.
 
Are we going to discover more about him?
Absolutely. As I started on the journey with Bull and saw how he behaved in different scenes, I was really surprised by the emotion that came out of him. He is capable of being very vulnerable, but I also found him really very manipulative. And I think he’s a bit of a shaman or showman, so it’s interesting. All of these contradictions indicate that Bull is a complicated mess underneath that cool exterior.
 
Do you find yourself analysing people you meet with the techniques that you’re interpreting in the show?
Yes, I think I do. I have to really think a few steps ahead now when I’m playing a scene or when we’re breaking down a script so that I can see how I should be acting, whereas before, if my hands were in my pockets, I didn’t really think about it. But now projecting arms folded or arms in a pocket, being seated or standing, those dynamics actually come into any kind of interplay.
 
What was Dr Phil’s feedback on the show?
Phil McGraw is involved for a very good reason. He was at the forefront of trial sciences several decades ago and his insight is profound and thus very meaningful to our show. Phil can crystallise and synthesise somebody’s weaknesses and strengths and neuroses into a very concise idea. And then he can communicate it well, which is why his talk show is so successful.
 
What can we expect from the show?
You can expect from every episode of “Bull” to learn more about why human beings do the things they do. What goes behind an opinion that someone has. And it may seem like they’re not really involved if somebody asks, “do you like to bake or to cook?” Whether you’re baking or cooking might seem arbitrary. After watching an episode of “Bull,” you’ll realise there’s a very important distinction between people who bake and people who cook. There’s a whole process of figuring people out and I think at the end of every episode of “Bull” you’ll have a better understanding of human nature.

On the box
“Bull” Season 1 airs on RTL CBS Entertainment every Wednesday at 8pm.

Published : September 29, 2016

By : Manta Klangboonkrong<br /> The Nation