SPOILER!!! THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THE APRIL 22 EPISODE OF “BATES MOTEL.”
Mike Vogel enjoyed his stay at A&E’s Bates Motel. It’s just too bad it had to end.
But hey, at least he went out shooting. His character, Deputy Shelby, completed his turn from friendly police officer to twisted villain when he discovered that his lover Norma (Vera Farmiga), and her sons Norman (Freddie Highmore) and Dylan (Max Thieriot) had freed the girl he was holding captive in his basement as part of an Asian sex ring. Shelby seemed to have the Bates family under control, but a surprise attack from a catatonic Norman gave Dylan just enough time to grab his gun and start a shootout. It was a long, tense ordeal, but it ended with Shelby dead on those infamous stairs leading to the Psycho house.
I spoke with Vogel the day after the episode aired, and he said he wasn’t fully aware of what was in store for him when he joined the A&E series, only that his time onscreen would be limited.
“I didn’t know exactly what his fate was going to be, but I knew I only signed on for [a certain number of] episodes,” Vogel said. “I knew what I was getting into. Certainly as it went on, I’m reading each script, and the crew is fantastic, the cast is fantastic, part of me is going, ‘Well, you know, maybe Deputy Shelby’s got a twin brother. Maybe there’s another way.'”
His character might not have a twin brother, but it was hard not to notice the physical resemblance between Vogel and Thieriot, which Vogel says wasn’t intentional but ended up working out well dramatically.
“I think it was one of those happy accidents,” he said. “When we got there, [Thieriot] and I were looking at each other and it was like, ‘Whoa. When were we separated?’ I don’t know if anyone expected that, but [executive producer Carlton Cuse] was saying it’s kind of incestual when you think about the mommy issues with her and her son, and yet she’s with this guy who’s kind of the spitting image of her son. It just adds one more creepy layer to an already complex and creepy show, which I think is a really nice touch.”
While Vogel has moved on, soon to be seen as the lead in CBS’ Stephen King adaptation Under the Dome, he has nothing but fond memories of his Bates Motel experience.
“I was just tickled to have the opportunity to work with such great actors,” he said, heaping extra praise on Farmiga. “She makes it look effortless. You watch her work, and she’s having fun. It’s not like abrasively focused and zoned in and don’t you dare look her in the eyes. Not at all. She’s just brilliant with everyone around her, and I think that’s just infectious. But they’re all just so smart and giving as actors that it was really a treat to keep coming back. They’ve got a smoking hot show on their hands.”
“Bates Motel” airs Mondays at 10pm ET on A&E.
Photo: © 2011 Credit: Joe Lederer