Part workplace comedy, part techie action series, Breaking In is not your typical sitcom. At Wondercon last weekend, the cast and crew gathered to give some insight into Fox’s quirky new comedy. Before the panel, I was able to speak to series stars Christian Slater, Bret Harrison, Odette Yustman, and Alphonso McAuley.
“You’re dealing with a group of people that work for this high-tech security firm called Contra Security,” Yustman explained. “And we are hired to test other people’s securities, find loopholes in their system, and protect whatever it is they want us to protect. And that’s where the comedy ensues, because we’re a bunch of oddball geniuses.”
Leading the team is the mysterious Oz, played by Christian Slater. Though he’s no stranger to television—let’s not forget The Forgotten—Slater is of course well known for his film work. And fans of some of his past projects will likely appreciate his assessment of Oz.
“He’s definitely got some unorthodox methods,” Slater noted. “He’s an eccentric guy, definitely one of the more offbeat types of characters. Let’s just say he’s kind of like J.D. from Heathers, had he not blown up.”
While Slater is definitely leading-man material, he has no problem playing a character who’s more of an overseer than an active participant. Oz sets the stage, but it’s Cameron, Melanie, and Cash who do all the heavy lifting.
“I love getting the opportunity to be the guy who kind of comes in, sets up the missions, and then lets these guys go out and try to achieve whatever the master plan is,” Slater said. “Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate, because just to have an ensemble like this is great.”
Yustman plays safe-cracking and lock-picking expert Melanie Green. “She’s such a tough character,” Yustman noted. “And she’s just so unapologetic for who she is.”
She also provides some of Breaking In’s unresolved sexual tension, as one point in a love triangle between Melanie, Contra Security newcomer Cameron Price (Harrison) and Melanie's boyfriend, Dutch (Michael Rosenbaum).
“So far Melanie and Dutch are together, and Cameron wants to move beyond just the friend stage,” said Harrison. “But he’s playing it cool right now. Well, he’s trying.”
McAuley is the third member of Contra Security, playing Calvin “Cash” Sparks, the team’s resident nerd. The character of Cash was originally written as a hulking wrestler-type, but the producers were charmed by McAuley’s persona. And for his part, he’s glad to be on the set.
“It’s great,” McAuley said. “It’s good when you work with a lot of creative people, people who are really funny. Because you bounce off ideas.”
In some ways, Breaking In is a tough sell: As popular as office comedies are, the show’s unique setting may turn off less tech-savvy viewers. But the cast insisted that all audiences will be able to relate, because at its heart, the show is a comedy.
Harrison said he's excited about being able to take part in something distinct and offbeat, and that he’s confident Breaking In is a good fit for Fox.
“In terms of pilots, they [Fox] try things that a lot of the other networks don’t,” he reflected. “They’re tricky, because their schedule fluctuates more than a lot of the other networks, but I can only go after the things that I like best.”
And despite the high-stakes work environment, Breaking In’s characters remain fairly down-to-earth.
“We’re not supernatural,” Yustman said. “We’re not superheroes. We’re just very good at what we do.”
Breaking In premieres tonight (April 6) at 9:30pm on Fox.