News Article

News Article

Harper's Dead -- We Chat with Sheriff Mills (a.k.a. Jim Beaver)



"…Another one bites the dust.  And another one gone, another one bites the dust."  Yes, this week we bid fond farewell to Sheriff Mills.  Though we did not know him well, we did know that he lied about killing psychopath John Wakefield.  Was it Wakefield that booby-trapped the Sheriff, yanking him violently through the hotel window as his only daughter watched?  Or was it someone else, someone less obvious… someone who came to Harper's Island with the wedding party?


You were being set up as the killer for a while now.  Did you know beforehand that you were or weren't the killer?

I didn't have a clue.  They were very, very good about keeping us in the dark.  I don't know if any of the actors knew anything in advance.  Up until the minute they told me I was getting killed, I thought it could go either way.

Were you surprised that you didn't go all the way, or that you lasted as long as you did?  How long did you think you would last?

I was actually surprised that I didn't last a little longer.  The producers were extremely tight-lipped about everything.  But I had an instinct that the sheriff might be around to the end.  So I was a little surprised – thought I would make it to episode 12.  The producers didn't make any promises or tell me anything, it was just a feeling I got.

How did you find out you were the next victim?

Normally, Karim would call each week's victim – that's how he got the nickname "The Assassin".  Instead, I got a call from Jeff Bell, the executive producer.  It was a very straightforward call.  Other than the fact that I was dying, it was kind of business-like.  With only three episodes to go I knew anyone left on the show could get the call at any moment.  It wasn't a big surprise, but a little disappointing.  I had been in Vancouver for a long time, so I had gotten used to being up there, but I was glad to get back home to my daughter.

It appears that you never killed John Wakefield and now he's back.  But is someone else a killer?  Who do you suspect?

My sense of things is that the guys who write the show are pretty clever.  Just because John Wakefield is a killer doesn't mean he is the killer.  I have nothing to base that on.  Anytime things start to look obvious, [the writers] are pretty good at yanking the rug out from everyone.   I've never clung to any strong sense of who the killer was.  I have read a lot of mystery novels, so I kind of feel like I knew who probably wasn't the killer.  The really good mysteries will fool you.  I did get the feeling that Abby probably isn't the killer, but that's just because they have set the show up to make her the viewpoint character. 

How did you decide to go from being a Marine to an actor?

Well, there is a long tradition of actors who are ex-Marines, but I don't know that there is any direct connection.  I was an old movie buff as a teen, and I wanted to write film history.  After the Marines, I went to college, but they didn't have a film program.  They had a good theatre department, so I figured that's kind of close.  A friend in the theatre department asked for audition help, and I got hooked.  Plus, it seemed a whole lot easier than working. [Laughs.]

Don't forget to check out Fancast to chat LIVE with the newly 'dead' every Monday at 10am PT/1pm ET!