Designated Survivor is Back! Actor LaMonica Garrett Talks About Season 2 and His Role As Secret Service Agent Mike Ritter
By Pamilla Hiner
If you are a Designated Survivor fan, then it is safe to say that you were probably left on the edge of your seat, episode after episode, and the suspense of the finale left you desperately waiting for Season 2. Tom Kirkman (Keifer Sutherland), the appointed President, after a catastrophic attack on the White House, and his trustee cabinet members are back! There are still plenty of responsibilities; rebuilding the country after such a devastating event. However, no rebuilding of the Capitol Building happens without his team, and especially his right hand man, Secret Service Agent Mike Ritter, played by actor LaMonica Garrett.
Mike Ritter’s enduring loyalty and thoroughness to President Kirkman had every fan intrigued. As Designated Survivor, enters into a highly anticipated Season 2, well in short — we want more Mike Ritter. We were able to catch up with the busy actor, LaMonica Garrett, in between shooting. He gave us the scoop on his character Mike Ritter, and talks about what it’s like to be on one of the hottest shows on prime time tv.
LaMonica Garrett, is no stranger to being on hit tv shows, or the silver screen. He can be seen on Michael Bay and TNT’s “The Last Ship”, FX’s critically acclaimed “Sons of Anarchy”, the short film “The Duke”, and the blockbuster “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. He shared his thoughts on going into the second season of Designated Survivor, “It feels great. I’ve done pilots. I’ve done other shows that really didn’t get it’s feet off the ground. When you finally get attached to something with legs, it’s a good feeling.”
LaMonica exerts such humbling energy and dedication to his craft, that it makes perfect sense why he is so drawn to his character, Mike Ritter.
Mike’s fortitude, his ability to see the big picture, his loyalty, his work ethic, his discipline. I saw a lot of myself in him, and that’s really what you want. When you’re asking questions, and digging into the layers of a character, you try to find yourself in that person. Mike Ritter and I have a lot of similarities in that aspect.”
With the chaos of rebuilding the White House, fans weren’t able to really get to know, Secret Service Agent, Mike Ritter. As we approach Season 2, LaMonica shares what we can expect from the resilient and devoted, Mike Ritter. “Last season, everyone was thrust into positions. New White House, new staff, it was thrown together. You really didn’t have a chance to explore backgrounds. You were trying to figure out who was who, who’s in the White House, who’s doing what, who’s behind it. There’s still conspiracy, there’s still people to go after, and there’s still a country to govern for President Kirkman. But, the dust has settled a little bit, not literally. But people like Aaron Shore, Emily Rose, and Seth Wright; you get to see more of their background, their family members, what makes them tick, and why they are — the way they are.”
Garrett’s role as a secret service agent is done so well that he was shouted out by the actual US Secret Servicemen on Instagram, he shares his thoughts on the recognition. “That was humbling. We tried to set up a visit, for me to come see the facility in D.C., and we just kept missing each other. That didn’t happen, a lot of stuff went down in Washington, and I really couldn’t take that trip. It has been postponed. At some point, I would love to go there. Them acknowledging me, was huge for me. That’s what it’s all about. If you can get that true to life as possible, and they’re telling you, you’re doing a good job portraying them, that’s all you can ask for as an actor.”
LaMonica let’s us in on, what it’s like working alongside the veteran actor, Keifer Sutherland. “Kiefer is a professional first and foremost. The way he sees things. The way the scene comes off the paper. He always has suggestions to make the scene better. And it’s interesting, he’s like no one that I’ve ever worked with before. You might not be able to see it, he said it’s a lot like trusting. But then you rework the scene a little bit, and then you see it. It’s like wow, I never would have thought of that. I think that comes from him being in the game for so long. It’s easy to trust someone like that. The Lost Boys, A Few Good Men….he’s been doing this forever. And we’re always learning as actors. To think you have it all figured out — you don’t. ”
It is no easy endeavor to have longevity and consistency in Hollywood as an actor. LaMonica uses his surroundings and real people, with real issues to keep him grounded, and inspired. He candidly opens up about what keeps him motivated. “I get inspiration from everywhere, not just actors. I’m a big sports guy. You’re always seeing in sports where this guy got cut from his team in high school. He walked onto USC or something, and now he’s a big star in the NFL. That inspires me.”
“You hear about stories, kids fighting cancer, their overcoming these illnesses. That inspires me. I think life happens to everybody. It’s an important thing what we’re doing as actors, but at the same time, we’re not curing cancer. To keep everything in perspective, that life goes on around us, and to not make such a big deal. It might be big to you, but not everybody else. I like to keep engaged with the world, and see how everyone is affected by everything. The stuff that is happening now, earthquakes, hurricanes, people overcoming adversity. That inspires me.”
Audiences have really taken interest in the actor, and so has Hollywood. Will we see more of the actor on the big screen? “Designated Survivor takes up a good chunk of my time. I’ll be in Toronto filming a good 8, 9 months out of the year. I’ll have a window of like 2 or 3 months, of what I can film. When we finished last season, I was up for two pretty big films, that just happen to be shooting in May and June, and those are my months off. I didn’t get them, that’s the kind of window I’m looking at. So it’s a good problem, I’m not complaining. I really want to do some films in my down time.” And who does he have his eye on to work with? “I got a laundry list of people, I want to work with. Off the top….Idris Elba, he’s one of my favorite actors. Tom Hardy, The Rock — I love action, I love drama.”
Photo Courtesy: Designated Survivor ABC
LaMonica Garrett gave us three reasons why we should be watching Designated Survivor, Wednesday at 10pm EDT on ABC. “Keifer Sutherland is one awesome reason, that goes without saying. Two, if you like high suspense, drama, and clever writing. And three — Secret Service Agent Mike Ritter!” We couldn’t agree more.