Bull is back! CBS’ trial consultant drama returns for its second season tonight at 9 PM ET. Bull stars Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull, the ultimate puppet master who combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to figure out how to get the best possible outcomes for his clients within the courtroom. Joining Bull behind the scenes this season is new Executive Producer and Showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Weatherly and Caron ahead of Bull‘s season premiere for an inside look at the show’s cast and crew, where this season is headed and working with Dr. Phil.
Weiss- Hi guys how are you doing today?
Weatherly & Caron- Good!
Weiss- Congratulations on the new season of Bull premiering tonight, Michael I want to start with you, what was it about the show that caught your interest in the beginning going back to before the first season?
Weatherly- So, it was January when I got the script and I was in the middle of the last season of NCIS and frankly, the last thought in my mind was that I was going to do another – after 13 years of NCIS and two years of Dark Angel before that – I thought 15 years of one hour drama television, I’m good, I don’t need to do any more of that [laughs]. It’s a real workload and it’s heavy lifting. What happened was Paul Attanasio and Dr. Phil, Phil McGraw, crafted for CBS a very unusual genre hour that was sort of law adjacent. For me what it was really about was a guy named Jason Bull who is sort of a flim-flam, just short of con artist operator who has figured out a new business. In this entrepreneurial way, he’s taken something that no one has decided to charge $10,000/hour for ever before. He sees this opportunity and we meet him when he’s in the middle of this exploding world of high priced attorneys and huge tabloid stuff going on.
The pilot was a murder trial involving a teenager and I loved the case and I loved the trail but what I really wanted to know is who is this character, Bull? The show is called Bull, I wanted to know what is Bull about. I started to see that he was a little like Fellini’s main character in the movie 8 1/2. He was this director who didn’t have a movie but everyone was expecting him to make a movie. I felt that Bull had to pull out of thin air a narrative, a way to win the case and he was kind of a magician at it. I thought, ‘that’s a fascinating guy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him on television and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.’ That’s what really got me was the character and the world of trying to figure out a jury.
In the world of O.J. Simpson and all the documentaries you realize that jury impacted the decision. Then because that jury is America and the voice that you’re hearing is a really important thing for audiences because I think that’s who we’re really telling the story to. It’s a mirror back to America.
Weiss- Now Glenn, this is your first season with Bull, what’s it been like working with the cast and crew?
Caron- Well except for Michael it’s really been a delight [laughs]. No, it’s been great, having a really nice time. The thing that struck me when I started watching episodes of Bull when I was approached to come on board was what an amazing cast of actors – they’re all really, really extraordinarily skilled. If I had a criticism, and I certainly didn’t have very many because the show was an enormous hit, the one thing I felt was perhaps the actors maybe weren’t being given an opportunity to show all they could do. Maybe we weren’t learning as much as we could about the different characters.
Weiss- So that will be a major emphasis in season two then I would imagine?
Caron- Yea, hopefully you’ll feel that. It’s a much more character driven show, we’re certainly not stepping away from the procedural premise and what goes on in the show but hopefully you feel like these are real human beings and just like I get up everyday and go to a job, these folks go to a job and then they have a life. That life to some extent informs how they do their job and that helps to find these people interesting, that’s the hope.
Weiss- Going into character development, the thing that really stands out about Bull, to me, is his confidence. Is that something that is going to be expanded upon this season? Will there be more explanation of where that confidence comes from?
Weatherly- Well, it’s very interesting. Confidence is a fascinating word and I like it. I think Bull is a confidence man and that’s different than a confident man. I think he understands how to project confidence. He understands how to get other people to perceive him a certain way. I think there’s a lot more of that happening in this next season, the confidence man [laughs].
There’s a sort of arrogance that Bull has about what he does for a living but what it really comes down to is he really believes that he’s the guy who’s figured this out. He really believes he’s got the best team around him to get the thing done. There’s a part of him that totally knows you don’t always win and you can’t always be right and you can’t always figure people out, but he never tells the clients that. The clients don’t want to hear that, they’ve paid you, they’ve paid you to do it well and to do it right. They don’t want to hear about your insecurities so Bull gives you confidence. I think season two we’re going to look behind that mask a lot more and that’s where Glenn comes in super handy because he knows how to do that.
Weiss- Now Glenn, you talked about Dr. Phil before, how closely do you work with him for each episode?
Caron- I try to spend about an hour with him on each episode and go over legal aspects of it, what would his strategy be as a trial scientist? In other words, if you have this case how would you approach it? What would your narrative be? What kind of jury would you look for? What sort of questions would you ask to get that jury? How would you mold the case?
He’s been extraordinarily helpful with that, he’s a fantastic resource.
Weiss- Michael, last question for you here – when you play a character like Bull, I wonder if there is ever any blurring of the lines. Have you gotten any better at reading people in your everyday life?
Weatherly- Absolutely not [laughs]. If anything it’s given me a greater range of understanding and more patience with people’s points of view. I think if anything I make snap judgments less. The kind of snap judgments that Bull might make, I’m less presumptuous about who someone is based on that Malcolm Gladwell blink. So maybe it’s had the opposite effect, I’m probably more nervous about trying to figure people out [laughs].
Weiss- Well that’s all the time I have with you guys today, thank you so much and good luck with the new season!
Weatherly- It’s going to be awesome!
Caron- Thanks Matt!
Bull returns for its second season tonight at 9 PM ET on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.