Sullivan's Crossing

Scott Patterson of ‘Sullivan’s Crossing’: Embracing His Most Emotional Role Yet

“Scott Patterson of ‘Sullivan’s Crossing’: Embracing His Most Emotional Role Yet”

The Gilmore Girls alum is going to new heights to portray Harry “Sully” Sullivan on the CW drama.

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This interview was conducted under the clearance of SAG-AFTRA to do publicity for Sullivan’s Crossing.

When Sullivan’s Crossing debuted in Canada in early 2023, TV viewers were intrigued to learn more about the next series to come from Virgin River author Robyn Carr. The story followed Maggie Sullivan (Morgan Kohan) who leaves her life as a neurosurgeon in Boston to return home to Sullivan’s Crossing in Nova Scotia. Upon her return, the character must reacquaint herself with folks who feel a certain way about her exit more than a decade earlier. One such person she needs to resolve deep-rooted issues with? Her father Harry “Sully” Sullivan, portrayed by Gilmore Girls star Scott Patterson.

Now airing in the United States on the CW, viewers get to see Scott back on screen in a character that feels very similar to his iconic role as Luke Danes. But the actor doesn’t necessarily feel that way. On the contrary — he insisted they are more different than one would think. As he explained over Zoom to Good Housekeeping, playing Sully required him to be challenged, particularly the emotional journey the character takes on.

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“With Sullivan’s Crossing, the writing was very spare,” he said. “It required me to put the meat on the bone. This is far more challenging, in a sense, because it requires me to make clear choices.”

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For Scott, this style of acting was opposite of what he did on Gilmore Girls. While that show had him uttering carefully crafted mouthfuls of lines throughout scenes, Sullivan’s Crossing gave him more freedom to experiment with his performing choices. But with that, he also felt daunted by the idea of digging deep within himself in order to properly display the character’s highs and lows on screen.

“It was scary and it was very deep work,” he remarked about the emotional depths he went to for the drama. “You have to embrace those challenges. I thought, ‘Boy, this is good stuff and I can do a lot with this.'” Maybe I can use this as an opportunity to show the world what I can do.”

As Sullivan’s Crossing airs more episodes in the U.S., folks already know some key traits about Scott’s character. As they learned at the end of the second installment, Sully is 20 years sober and feels regrets about not chasing after Maggie when she left Nova Scotia with her mother as a child.

While these things may not have occurred in his own life, Scott definitely resonated with Sully in a lot of ways.

“If you’ve lived any kind of a life and if you’ve made any number of mistakes, you have a lexicon to draw from,” he noted. “It’s easy to sort of go back and get things you need, and this show just calls back all of those experiences. If I’m having any kind of trouble believing in the given circumstances, I can rely on that. There isn’t anything I’ve read in these scripts that I haven’t been through at one level or another.”

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Despite the good and the bad his character faces on Sullivan’s Crossing, Scott remains grateful that the fans are standing behind his work on the show. What’s more, the drama got renewed for season 2, which is currently filming in Canada. As for what comes next, well, Scott is elated to dig even deeper into Sully’s world.

“The pleasant surprise about this role — and also the thing that I feared the most — was the places I have to go on pretty much a daily basis to pull this off,” he concluded. “It’s a real challenge every day, so that’s why it’s worth doing.”

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