Strike Back star Daniel MacPherson: ‘There’s nothing else like it’

Daniel MacPherson stars as Sgt. Samuel Wyatt in Cinemax's Strike Back. Photo Credit: Hal Shinnie/Courtesy of Cinemax.
Daniel MacPherson stars as Sgt. Samuel Wyatt in Cinemax's Strike Back. Photo Credit: Hal Shinnie/Courtesy of Cinemax. /

Strike Back’s Daniel MacPherson is back for more and discussed what it’s been like digging further into Samuel Wyatt during Strike Back Season 6.

This season of Strike Back has been another adventure for Daniel MacPherson, who stars on the Cinemax series as Sgt. Samuel Wyatt. After nearly being killed last season, he’s being run through the emotional wringer this season—and still trying not to die.

The first set of episodes has seen Wyatt deal with a new commanding officer, reveal that he has a wife, and most recently grapple with guilt over a death he couldn’t prevent. It’s emotionally tough as well as physically tough, and not many actors could do what Daniel has done.

Hidden Remote connected with him before tonight’s new Strike Back episode to talk about getting to delve deeper into Wyatt’s character, the bond with his fellow castmates that exists both on and off-screen, and how he’d describe this season.

Get to know more about both Daniel MacPherson and his character in our interview below, then don’t miss the next episode of Strike Back tonight at 10 p.m. on Cinemax!

Hidden Remote: When Strike Back returned last season, it was important to everyone to do well by the fans and also to establish your own identity. What was it like to come back this season knowing you’d accomplished both goals?

Daniel MacPherson: It was really interesting to land in Malaysia and look around and realize Warren [Brown], Alin [Sumarwata] and myself were the only cast of this entire season that were back to do more. We kind of looked at each other and went okay, we know what we’re doing, we know who these characters are and it’s our time, let’s go.

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It was amazing because I love them both like family. They are like my brother and sister. And we really got to step up and lead by example [because a] new supporting cast has joined us this year.

We’re a lot more comfortable in who we were on screen, but I think that spread to everybody involved in the project. I think Jack [Lothian], our writer and showrunner, had a better handle on who we were and how we fit together. We’re a lot more confident in everything we’re doing, from characters to military tactics and weapon handling to making bolder choices—knowing when to really dig deep and go hard, and when to have a lot of fun. Strike Back really is a mixture of both.

HR: You, Warren and Alin have formed such a wonderful bond off-camera, so how much has that translated to your characters? How would you describe their dynamic this season?

DM: We’ve gotten a chemistry on screen and off that doesn’t happen on very many jobs, and it’s interesting because what we see in this season is the effects being part of Section 20 has on their friends and family and loved ones in the real world.

You realize how important these characters are to each other. How reliant they are on each other, not only in combat and when they’re deployed, but also to survive their outside world. The three of them have really gone from complete strangers last season to being completely dependent on each other.

HR: Second seasons always mean character development, so what did you want to learn about Wyatt in Strike Back Season 6? What about him stood out to you this season?

DM: A lot of the time in that first season was building huge character backstories. There was a lot of ideas going around and seeds thrown in there which, as a performer, you’ve got to go flesh out so you can step on set ready to go. I think this season and throughout our offseason, Jack was able to flesh out a lot of those ideas—the ideas of Wyatt’s past relationships, of who this guy really is.

He’s got a complex and very eclectic backstory and the little nuggets we learned last season we’re able to expand on—how he carries his PTSD, his life outside in the real world, his previous relationships and those events that have changed him and scarred him in the battlefield. We learn a little bit about all three of those this year.

The balance between action and character has changed just a little. There’s a little more breathing space for these characters to shine through and I think that makes the overall balance of the show a little stronger, and I think audiences will enjoy that.

HR: Wyatt came very close to dying in last season’s finale. Did that make you feel better or worse about his chances to survive this season?

DM: The golden rule of Strike Back is there’s a bullet with everyone’s name on it. We got told that before we even stepped on set. As an actor, a job that takes you around the world to get to do some of the most epic stunts and action sequences, you’ll never get to do anything like this again on another set anywhere else.

Working with this group of people, working with this crew and [in] these locations, every day on a Strike Back set is an absolute blessing and that’s how I step on. Whether I’m destined for many more series or there’s a bullet coming my way, I just embrace every day on set because there’s nothing else like it.

HR: Warren talked about how none of his previous experience could compare to what he has to do on Strike Back. Is that also the case for you?

DM: I think it’s its own unique beast, for a number of reasons. One is not only the intensity of the show, but the intensity of the show and the shoot over a period of six or seven months. We shoot like a feature film, but we do it every day for seven months. We work so hard at the authenticity; we are fearlessly chasing authenticity of these operators and soldiers, and that is supported and expected in a way unlike any other show.

Previous cop shows I’ve done, you don’t have to turn up and be a 20-year veteran of an elite [unit]. You’re just a cop. But in Strike Back, we are playing these characters that are the best of the best of the best. It’s a year-round commitment; it doesn’t stop between seasons. We kept training in between seasons.

The other reason, you get to do things in locations around the world on this show that you quite simply do not get to do on any other set anywhere else. You couldn’t shoot the show in the US, you couldn’t shoot the show in Australia or the UK, there would be too many limitations and restrictions and whatnot.

We know what we’re signing up for. We put ourselves in 110 percent and we want to be right there in the action when the bombs are going off, when the car chase’s going fast, when the building’s exploding, when the bullet casings are flying past your head. We want to be right there because that’s the type of show it is, and that’s what makes it different from anything else.

HR: How would you describe this season of Strike Back? What’s the hook for you?

DM: I’m really excited about this season. Last season was a really good jumping off point; this season I think the show really grounds itself, settles itself. There’s a really enjoyable balance between action and character, and it’s a season I’m really proud of.

I think if you enjoyed last season, you’ll really, really enjoy this season. If you weren’t so sure about last season as a transitional season between the Stonebridge and Scott era to this new team, I would say come back and give it another try, because I think it’s probably closer to the Strike Back you remember.

Next. Read our interview with Strike Back's Yasemin Kay Allen. dark

Strike Back airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Cinemax. For more on Strike Back and other Cinemax shows, follow the Cinemax category at Hidden Remote.