There’s no bull about it: go inside courtroom drama

Freddy Rodriguez and Michael Weatherly in a scene from the TV series Bull.
Freddy Rodriguez and Michael Weatherly in a scene from the TV series Bull. David M. Russell

MICHAEL Weatherly has grabbed the bull by the horns and proven he's not just DiNozzo, says his new co-star.

Freddy Rodriguez stars opposite Weatherly, best known for his long-running role as Agent Anthony DiNozzo on the crime series NCIS, in the courtroom drama Bull.

Weatherly left NCIS, despite its ongoing success, last year to delve into a new role.

"Michael is a lovely human being in real life, and by far one of the most decent human beings I've ever worked with in my career," Rodriguez (pictured) tells The Guide.

"On a professional level he's as professional as anyone I've ever worked with He's working really hard at creating another character and showing the audience he's not DiNozzo in real life. I think he's done it successfully on this show."

Michael Weatherly as Dr Jason Bull in the TV series Bull.
Michael Weatherly as Dr Jason Bull in the TV series Bull. Jojo Whilden

Weatherly plays Jason Bull, a character inspired by Dr Phil McGraw, who was the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time before embarking on his second career as a TV host.

Rodriguez stars as Bull's former brother-in-law Benny, who plays the defence lawyer in mock trials.

"Everyone's perception of Dr Phil is the talk show host," he says. "But the question was always how did he become a talk show host and the story was really interesting.

"He had one of the most prolific trial consulting firms in the US and he represented Oprah in a case. He won the case for her, and Oprah saw his potential as a talk show host and the rest is history."

But what Rodriguez finds more interesting is the trial science McGraw employed to get results for his clients.

"I had no idea of what trial science consisted of before working on this show," he says.

"Every aspect of it surprised me, from the mock trials to how there's a science behind what the client wears, their hairstyle, their body language. That's why Dr Phil was so successful at what he did because he paid attention to the minutia of it all."

McGraw co-created the series with Paul Attanasio, who was also one of the driving forces behind iconic TV series House and Homicide, and Steven Spielberg is an executive producer.

"It's exciting for anyone who gets to do a TV project that has Spielberg attached," Rodriguez says.

"I think his name is a brand and it's synonymous with quality."

Outside of the courtroom Bull and Benny's personal relationship is also explored.

"There's a joke that Bull got Benny in the divorce," he laughs.

"They have mutual respect for each other but there's also a bromance. These guys are just dudes and they like each other a lot, which is why they're still friends and work together (even though Bull and Benny's sister are divorced)."

Rodriguez believes the show's success in the US, where it received a full 23-episode order from CBS, is also due to its consistency.

"We settled into a rhythm and figured out the tone of the show quite early," he says.

"Usually when you watch a show during the first few episodes you can still see the actors feeling their way through it. You can still see that the show is trying to figure out what it is. One of the greatest compliments we got was it felt like a show that was on air for a long time."

Bull airs Sundays at 8pm on Channel 10.

Topics:  channel 10 michael weatherly television

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