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Billy Campbell.

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The Killing’s Billy Campbell on Acting in a Hospital Gown and Who Killed Rosie Larsen

It’s been a long ride for The Killing’s mayoral candidate Darren Richmond. He went from quixotic politician to prime murder suspect to gunshot victim, all in season one. In season two, which comes to a close on Sunday, he spends half the episodes in a hospital bed and the other half in a wheelchair. But the sedentary season hasn’t seemed to faze Billy Campbell. The actor phoned us from the set of his new movie, Copperhead, to talk about acting in a hospital gown and the imminent revelation of Rosie’s killer.

How are things up in New Brunswick?
Oh, they’re terrific. It’s raining at the moment, but it’s an incredibly beautiful place and things have been going very well so far.

I’m surprised you’re not on a sailing trip right now. I know that’s a huge part of your life.
[Laughs.] Well, I also have to make money to pay for my sailing habits, so that’s what I’m doing right now.

When Richmond was shot at the end of season one, did Veena Sud instantly reassure you that you’d be alive through season two? Or was there a period when you weren’t sure?
I was pretty sure that I’d be alive in season two, or at least in season two for a little while. So I wasn’t too worried that I wouldn’t be back.

Veena told you that, or did you just assume that, given the plot?
Well, eventually she told me that, yes. But we didn’t have that conversation before the last script for season one. So I might’ve for a moment thought, Oh wow, maybe this is it.

And did she tell you up front that you’d be spending the whole season lying in a hospital bed and sitting in a wheelchair?
She informed us that they were going to try to do the hardest thing that they could for everyone on the show. So I thought that was pretty brave.

The hardest thing in the sense that for the actors it would be a challenge?
I guess? Or just the hardest thing they could do for the characters.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a TV character wear a hospital gown for so many episodes. But I imagine that gown went a long way in helping you feel vulnerable as a character?
Yeah, I would think so. It just helps set the mood.

I always think those gowns make you feel so helpless. It’s got the open back …
Yeah, they do. It’s almost worse than not wearing anything.

I was kind of surprised that people at the hospital were so indifferent to a mayoral candidate. Were you surprised Richmond didn’t cause more of a stir?
A hospital is very businesslike when you get down to it. It’s kind of their job, and they have so many people come through. 

Were there any scenes that were especially hard to do in a wheelchair? Like when Richmond is shooting hoops?
No. It surprised me, it was not difficult. I don’t know. I’m probably a better basketball player sitting down in a chair than sitting up. My shots were actually all pretty good.

As of Sunday’s episode, it appears Jamie might be Rosie’s killer, or at least involved with the murder. Some people think this came out of left field. Did you ever suspect Jamie while you were shooting?
I think there was a time when I thought he could be the killer. I suspected Jamie but I don’t think — we’re in the next-to-last episode, right? Yeah, you have to bear in mind that he still might not be the guy.

Right, but some people think there wasn’t enough foundation laid for him to be even a suspected killer. Do you feel like the hints were there?
Yeah, I do. I don’t think that anything that happened really has been out of character for anyone in the show. I think that when you discover who the killer is, it will make perfect sense.

When did you actually find out who killed Rosie?
I found out when we got the last episode to read.

So it was completely hush-hush up until that point?
Oh yeah.

Were you surprised? Did you have any hunches?
My hunch was not correct.

Pretty much every member of the cast has been considered a suspect. What was the sentiment among your co-stars? Do you think people were hoping to be named Rosie’s killer as kind of a badass honor? Or did people not want to be the villain in the end?
I was kind of hoping I would be [the killer], even after everything that happened. I thought it would be kind of cool. But that may yet come to pass. I’m not saying that I’m not.

Did Veena or anyone from the show give the cast pointers on how to talk about the finale without giving anything away? Was there a talking points memo about how to phrase things?
Yeah, there were a couple of those things along the way, memos, about how to phrase things and how to talk about it without spilling the beans or what have you. Yeah. And they were helpful.

Do you have any idea when you’ll hear news about season three?
I don’t. I would guess that won’t happen for a few months.

I know last year it was renewed pretty early on in the season. Does it feel a little more nerve-racking to have to wait for the news?
Um, for some of us, I imagine. It doesn’t really faze me one way or the other.

You seem pretty laid-back about it.
Well, I am pretty laid-back about it. I’m pretty laid-back about most things.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images