Luke Mitchell is an actor whose versatility sparks a different impression for each type of viewer. His fellow Aussies may recognize him from playing heartthrobs on the teen series “H20: Just Add Water” and the long-running “Home and Away” soap. Others may have caught him in regular roles on sci-fi or superhero series like “The Tomorrow People” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and as a murderous villain in NBC’s “Blindspot.” But Mitchell’s most prominent role to date is the lead in CBS’ new procedural, “The Code,” as Captain John “Abe” Abraham. The drama, which premiered April 9 and is now airing on Mondays, follows six lawyers in the Marine Corps in and out of the courtroom. Mitchell sat down with Variety to talk about doing an American accent, his body of work, and his Australian roots.
What for you is at the core of “The Code”?
The human stories are the heart and soul of the show. And it’s not all sunshine and roses — there’s been a lot of sadness, either currently in these characters’ lives or going to be coming up in these characters lives. We’re really going to take a deep dive into each of these characters and see how complicated they are, and how flawed these characters are, despite being virtually superhuman, because these guys are the best of the best at what they do. [Abe] is a third generation Marine. He is charming, he’s got this bravado and he enjoys the banter, he enjoys pushing the buttons of his coworkers, and he knows his stuff so he can bend the rules a little bit. But he’s a complex guy, and he’s been through a lot. So I hope people enjoy the journey that he goes on through the season.
What’s been the biggest challenge, working on the show?
I’m Australian playing an American, and Marine at that so, I really need to make sure that I bring my A-game in terms of my accent. It’s one thing learning the line, but it’s another thing rattling it off, like you know what you’re talking about. Just feeling the pressure to do justice to these characters, because it’s such an honor to be able to portray a character who is a Marine. And we have advisers on set for inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom. But there are little things that we have to tweak for story purposes or for dramatic effect. But for the most part, we want to get it right.
What’s been the most rewarding?
I pinch myself at the quality of the actors that I work with and obviously the main casts are all phenomenal, but getting to work with Dana Delany is an achievement in itself. She’s such an incredible actress, but she’s a phenomenal person too, and getting to work with her day in and day out and learn things from her. And then we have Broadway stars coming into guest starring roles every episode.
Is there a storyline you’re excited for viewers to see this season?
Phillipa Soo’s character, Lieutenant Lee, she’s got a fairly hectic storyline coming up that is really interesting. And I’m very curious to see how people react and follow her journey. It’s got to do with her lack of experience, and very soon, she’s going to get a lot of very real experience. Maybe more than she would have hoped for.
What’s been your favorite thing that you’ve worked on?
That’s tough — everything that I’ve been a part of, I give my heart and soul to, and they each hold a special place in my heart for different reasons. “The Tomorrow People” was my first gig in the States, and I wish and a lot of other people wish that it got more of a chance than it did. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” getting to play a superhero and going to comic conventions, and that sort of stuff is pretty rad. Then “Blindspot” came out of nowhere, and gave me this opportunity and this platform to play this really warped, twisted character who was really broken. Then “The Code,” something completely different and challenging in its own right, and working with such talented people.
How did your career in Australia prepare you to work in the States?
“Home and Away” in particular, gave me that time on set, and sometimes it’s well written, and sometimes it’s not, and there are lessons in both of those scenarios. It prepared me as a professional and prepared me to work hard and to do my work, and so that when it came time to transition into the States, a lot of people were surprised by my level of professionalism. I’ve heard multiple stories of actors here and there who don’t know their lines or turn up late, and it baffles me because I take my work seriously and I love what I do. When you’re selfish, you’re not just letting yourself down and your image, but you’re letting down your other castmates and your crew. That’s a big thing I learned: it’s a team environment, it’s not just about you. So you got to check your ego at the door, which is hard to do sometimes.
Who are your favorite Aussie actors?
There’s a really fantastic actor called Jason Clarke, who is one of those guys who, everything he’s in, is rock solid. And he’s probably not one of the guys that you would know by name but if you saw him, you’d be like, “Oh yeah that guy.” I’ve got so much respect for him and the quality that he brings, and also his career, because he has this level of success and he’s an actor’s actor, but he can still live a normal life. Joel Edgerton is obviously incredible. And I really admire him and his career. And then obviously, Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger.