Victor Alfieri is reprising his role as journalist Victor Cifuentes on the February 27 episode of TNT’s LAPD drama Southland. Last seen on the Season 3 finale, Victor will make his comeback on Season 5’s “Babel,” jumping right back into the Tammi-Sammy storyline.
Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with the Italian-born actor to get the scoop on his character’s dramatic return.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What brings your character Victor Cifuentes back?
Victor Alfieri: Well, the character never went away, fortunately, for me as an actor. Last year, my co-star got cast in Desperate Housewives, so that's why they didn't bring us back. There wouldn't be Victor Cifuentes without Tammi. And this season, actually, Emily [Bergl] is doing a play with Scarlett Johansson in New York. Emily is very busy. Good for her! But we're back for a couple of episodes, and the Tammi-Sammy storyline is still huge, so I don't think she's going to go anywhere.
So what is the storyline between Victor and Tammi on tonight’s episode?
She’s moved into my place now, so I'm taking care of her and [Sammy’s] baby. He's coming to see the baby. And in tonight’s episode there’s a big fight in the middle of the street. I loved the way they shoot it because it's really real. The show is unbelievable real, and when we were shooting it in downtown LA, in the middle of the street, he was wearing his LAPD uniform and there was a police car and everything. It was a lot of action, a lot of screaming, and people were like stunned. Pedestrians were walking by the set, and they were looking at us, like “Oh my God. Is that real? Are they filming?” And then they see the crew and the cameras, and they say, “Oh, it's okay. They're filming.” But the way they shoot it, it's documentary-style almost. So that's what fascinates me about the show is that it's so close to reality that you can really feel it.
Me, Tammi, Sammy, and also Ben Sherman, played by Ben McKenzie, so it's the four of us. We're all fighting and shouting on the street, and the baby's in the car. It's a good scene.
As a former police officer, what do you think of the authenticity of Southland?
It's very authentic. That's why I like it, and that's why I'm attracted to it. When I watch it, it's almost like watching a documentary on the History Channel or something. It's really well-done, and I was shocked the first time it got cancelled. It's like, “What? Are they crazy?” There's a lot of crap out there, and this show is legit, you know? I'm glad TNT picked it up, and it's still going. Also, all the actors are very devoted to it. They're very committed to it, and they really, really embrace the police work, and brought it to life. I heard, on the set, stories that the LAPD is really grateful to the show and to the actors that portray the police officers in a real way.
Do you watch other cop shows and think that they are completely ridiculous?
I don't watch that much TV, and every time I watch I try not to analyze it too much because otherwise it spoils your enjoyment. But if I see something really ridiculous I'm not afraid of saying anything. It's like, “Oh my God. That's so stupid.” And then I flip the channel, or I walk out of the theater. So far, nothing really has made me walk out of a movie theater or flip a channel. I mean, it is what it is. There's good and bad movies, but I think, at the end of the time, we either send a good message out or entertain. If you're watching a movie or a TV show that sends a good message, then, okay, they accomplished their duty to improve society, or they just purely entertain you and that's the other accomplishment.
What are you working on now?
Well, I'm working on a little short film that I produced, direct, and co-wrote it last year, and it stars Brian Krause from Charmed and BiBi Amos, American actress. And so I finished that up, and then also, I'm working on my first feature film, actually, that I shot a year and a half ago in Italy. And I'm finishing up with sound mix and color correction. It's a tremendous amount of work, but I love it, you know. It's very creative, and it's my baby.
Southland airs tonight, February 27, at 10/9c on TNT.