"It felt like, 'Oh my God, they're going to think I'm season 1 Mosley, over here' "

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated January 28, 2015 03:05 PM
Advertisement
Carrie Shaltz

Sirens returned for a second season on Tuesday, and star Michael Mosley sure hopes you watched!

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Mosley, 36, confided that he was worried he had “the stink” on him following leading roles on such short-lived series as Kidnapped, Kings, Pan Am, Last Resort and the Scrubs pseudo-spinoff.

The series, loosely based on the British series of the same name, follows a group of Chicago EMTs. Adapted by Denis Leary and screenwriter Bob Fisher, Sirens is the workplace comedy you might not be watching but absolutely should be. The comedy is as accessible as it is smart, and, as Bustle points out, it even passes the Bechdel test – ladies need not worry that the typically male setting leaves them out.

Mosley stars as Johnny, the de facto leader of his fellow EMTs Hank (Kevin Daniels), Brian (Kevin Bigley) and Cash (Bill Nunn). Having almost married his cop girlfriend Theresa (Jessica McNamee) in the first season finale, the second season sees the couple moving in with each other with mixed results.

We spoke to Mosley the day after it was announced that Benched – a USA comedy starring his former costar, Eliza Coupehad been canceled. It’s tough to be a USA comedy these days: The critically acclaimed Playing House was on the bubble for months before picking up a second season renewal, and yet the universal appeal of Sirens earned itself a second season renewal just one month after the first season finale aired in May.

We talked to Mosley about Sirens, how it’s been able to achieve success, and why he’s happy he’s not a show-killer. Plus, he confirms everything you knew about Denis Leary: He “gives zero f—s.”

To what do you think you can owe the success of Sirens, given the current climate for USA comedies?
That really sucks, about Benched. That was bad. I don’t know why we’re getting lucky. Who knows why any of these things work or don’t work? I think it just comes down to a little bit of luck and enough people showing up to the party. Sirens had good numbers in its first season, and there seems to be a lot of support from the ground. People who are fans are kind of rabid. So, that really helped us a lot.

I know that we had a blast making it. We have fun making the show and we just laugh all day, and once in a while they call “action” and they call “cut” and we just try to crack each other up, and I hope that’s coming off, you know?

Such a bummer about Benched!
It was really great. But it’s just baseball, you know? You just get a helmet and you keep going. I’ve been on a bunch of shows that got canceled. This is the first time I’ve seen a season 2 of something – I thought I had the stink on me! [Laughs] It felt like “Oh God, they’re going to think I’m season 1 Mosley, over here.” When I finally got a second season of something, I felt like I totally spiked the football. I just hope people watch the second season now!

I actually loved the Scrubs spinoff

It was kinda half the old show, half of a new show. I don’t think they even wanted to put it on without the old guard, I don’t know. It was fun, though. That was kind of when I realized how much I like doing comedy. I kind of saw myself – or maybe my agents or handlers did, or whatever – as a serious actor, but when I got on Scrubs I realized how much fun it is to make a living laughing.

The thing about shows like that, you do about six episodes in, the numbers start coming out, and if the network’s not happy with what it is, they’ll start futzing with stuff and changing sets, characters, plot lines and everything. On Sirens, we were allowed to do the whole season kind of unencumbered. They came to see us once in Chicago. By the last episode of last season, we really understood what the show was. That’s kind of rare, to be allowed to find out what the show is, as opposed to it getting tinkered with while we’re shooting and seeing numbers and all that crap. We never had to worry about that stuff. We really got to fly free, and this season, I’m really excited for people to see because I think it’s stronger. We’re a self-actualized show.

Speaking of the upcoming season, Johnny’s relationship with Theresa is ramping up. What’s their relationship going to be like in the season ahead?

Well, they move in together, and sometimes when people move in together, things need a little spicing up. All of a sudden, you see somebody in their pajamas all day and with their hair all messed up, and it’s not as exciting watching somebody brush their teeth and scratch their ass. So, they’ll learn to spice things up and have a little fun.

I love Johnny’s relationship with Hank – they’re basically married themselves. What’s coming up for them this season?

He is a big supporter of Theresa and Johnny being together. Hank ends up dating this dude in Theresa and Johnny’s building, and he ends up dating this super annoying hipster. A craft beer-drinking, fedora-wearing, alternative, trendy kinda kid with an ironic mustache. He drives Johnny insane. He cannot wrap his head around why Hank would be with this guy who is like, hatching chicken eggs in his backyard.

You guys are getting a lot of comparisons to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Do you think those are apt? Or is it just a tendency to compare?
Whatever gets people watching! I don’t remember it was who wrote something like this, but after 9/11, there was a huge fear of putting first responders and rescue workers in any kind of ironic or fallible light. What’s fun about Brooklyn Nine-Nine and what’s fun about Sirens is that it’s fun to see these folks be screwballs and messing up. I think it’s kind of a release, and it’s fun to see these people be themselves.

What’s it like to work with Denis Leary? I’m assuming lots of profanity.
He hasn’t been around as much this season, since he’s working on his new show, Sex&Rock&Rock&Roll, but last season, he was there the entire time. He would be crouched down in the back of the ambulance with a monitor, smoking a cigarette while we were shooting a scene.

In the season 1 finale, we shot in a church. It’s a real church, and he’s pulling out a cigarette, and I’m watching him, talking with the guys, and I’m like, “Denis is about to light a cigarette in this church right now.” I’m watching him and he’s not even thinking about it, and sure enough, he lights a cigarette in a f—— church and I’m like, “Oh my God. This guy gives zero f—s.” He’s amazing, hysterical.

The show is now available on Netflix – why should people watch if they see it in their recommendations?
It’s not deep, you know? It’s just fun. I just think that you’ll like Johnny and Hank and Theresa and everyone. I just think that you’ll like these people.

Sirens airs on Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on USA.