Battle Creek 104 "Man's Best Friend" - Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, photo by Sonja Flemming

Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven, Transformers: Dark of the Moon,) who starred on the TV series Las Vegas is returning to the small screen in CBS’s new drama Battle Creek, which premieres on March 1st.  

Duhamel and Dean Winters play mismatched law enforcement officers with polar opposite views of the world and crime-fighting in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Det. Russ Agnew (Winters) has his world turned upside down when the FBI opens an office in Battle Creek at the police station and handsome, charismatic Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Duhamel) chooses Agnew to be his partner.

Josh came to the TV Critics tour last summer to talk about his midseason dramedy.

Being from Minot, North Dakota, did you think you would fit into playing a cop in a small town fairly well?

Battle Creek 102 “Syruptitious” – Det. Russ Agnew (Dean Winters, background) and Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, photo by Robert Voets

I’m definitely familiar with the weather. I think, in a lot of ways, it is similar,

and I think that’s one of the things I loved about this whole idea is that it’s not a glamorous city by any means, but it’s a city that we can all sort of relate to in that it’s very American, very blue collar, and a lot of really interesting stories could come out of a place that doesn’t necessarily have all these big glamorous crimes.

It’s the minutia of the people and the situations that the people get in.

What attracted you to this project, bringing you back to TV?

Battle Creek 102 “Syruptitious” – Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) and Phil Floss (Miles Anderson) ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, photo by Monty Brinton

It was the script. It was a lot of things. Having done TV before, I knew the amount of work that it took and the amount of focus over a very long period, and I wasn’t afraid of that, but I wanted to know, if I was going to do it, I was going to be excited about going and doing something.

What I found really interesting about it, there’s a true?to?life quality about the perspectives that the police department in Battle Creek has, the local underfunded police department, and then the world that I come from, which is a never?ending supply of resources as a federal government FBI agent, and the way we go about things.

The way we handle our business is completely different. I think there’s a lot of humor coming from that. I love the bullpen in the Battle Creek Police Department, because they’re such an eclectic group of characters.  It reminded me almost of The Office in a way because nobody is too serious. They all have their own way of doing things, and I think that’s a really fun quality of the show.

Your relationship with Dean is wonderful in the show. Was that rapport there from the beginning?

Battle Creek 102 “Syruptitious” – Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) and Det. Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, photo by Monty Brinton

We’ve had mutual friends and I’d heard nothing but great things about Dean, and he’s a New Yorker through and through and I love that about him. He reminds me a little bit of a younger version of James Caan. He speaks his mind and there’s something really refreshing about that. He brings that to the character and it makes for a really fun workplace.

Do you find that Milton’s optimism is kind of familiar to people you grew up with or to yourself?

Battle Creek 104 “Man’s Best Friend” – Special Agent Milton Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel) ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, photo by Cliff Lipson

It’s harder to play a guy like this because he always says the right thing. How do I make this guy interesting? He seems to be perfect. And that was also something that really of interested me about him because nobody’s that perfect.

There’s definitely cracks in that facade that I saw in the original script, and that, to me is what really drew me to it. This guy seems to have it all together, but there’s something else going on.

There’s a reason why he ended up in Battle Creek. And the biggest challenge is to make that guy interesting and not just too polished and perfect.

Did you visit Battle Creek?

I’m actually going this weekend. I’m on a redeye at midnight after work on Friday. I decided two days ago that I’ve gotta do it. Just to see it, just feel what it feels like to be there, but also just to get away for two days and focus on five months or so that we have ahead of us.

Are you bringing your wife Fergie and the baby with you?

No. I’m going by myself.

Josh Duhamel Soundbytes

After the panel Josh was asked if he too has problems in real life, being so handsome, that everyone thinks he’s perfect. Click here to listen to his answer
He was also asked how he balances being a father and working.
Battle Creek Josh Duhamel on being too perfect
Battle Creek Josh Duhamel balancing fatherhood and working

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.