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Peter Sarsgaard Hopes Interrogation Will Put a Mirror Up on Our Own Biases

It's all about how you look at the facts

Megan Vick

CBS All Access' latest drama Interrogation takes you through the harrowing tale of Eric Fisher (Kyle Gallner), a 17-year old addict who was arrested for his mother's murder and spent the next 20 years in prison pleading his innocence. The series, which is based on a true story (though the character names have been changed), allows the viewer to see the first nine episodes in any order they choose before watching the conclusive finale. Each episode is structured around an interrogation that either led to Eric being arrested or helped his subsequent appeal as the evidence around his conviction started to come apart.

Overall, the limited series spans two decades of story, forcing Gallner to transform from a 17-year old boy to a middle-aged man, sometimes multiple times on the same day of shooting.

"I think the challenges of having to play these characters over the span of 20 years is, for me, a lot of it sometimes would be on the day. I would kind of have to go up to the writers and ask them, 'Where am I right now?' or 'What year is this? Can we talk about what's happened over the last, you know, couple months?' because everything changed so much," Gallner told TV Guide at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "But also, you know, my character I spanned from 17 up until my 40s, so one of the challenges was, how do I create Eric Fisher as a young man and then create the changes you would have as as an adult, or how prison may change him."

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Aside from the physical challenges, the story itself is asking its audience to think about how they receive information and question whether their background and experiences color how they interpret the facts. The reason Eric ends up in jail is in large part because Detective David Russell (Peter Sarsgaard) makes the decision that he's guilty early on, and his interrogation tactics follow that decision.

When asked why this show matters in 2020, Sarsgaard explained that Interrogation speaks directly to a terrifying notion that our personal perspective has a direct effect on how we take in facts. That awareness is a key thing to have as we continue living in an age with unlimited information at our finger tips.

"I think that the idea that this show gets into, that your perception of what reality is has a lot to do with where your entry point is into the narrative that we are all constructing -- whether it is in news or in our daily lives -- is an important idea," he said. "Yes, there are facts, and it's important that we all know that there are facts and to hold onto those, but our perception of what those mean in the larger narrative is influenced by [our perception of reality]. Hopefully, we can all agree that yes, this happened, this physical thing, say, but to know that the way we perceive it is being influenced by our background, by where we come into the story, and all of that -- I think that that's an important takeaway for this show."

Interrogation is now available to stream on CBS All Access.

Peter Sarsgaard, Interrogation​

Peter Sarsgaard, Interrogation

Ursula Coyote, CBS