NBC’s upcoming drama “Aquarius” will see former “X-Files” star David Duchovny return to cable television for the first time in years. Although the show is more grounded in reality and history than the science fiction series, the actor thinks the same air of mystery remains.
For those unfamiliar, “Aquarius” will focus on the infamous real-life case of Charles Manson, the man who started a sort-of cult in the 1960s and used his followers to orchestrate the infamous 1969 Tate-Labianca murders. While the true crime story culminates with the murders and subsequent trial of the “Manson Family,” the new TV drama is in no rush to get there. “Aquarius” will take place two years before the grisly home invasion and star Duchovny as police detective Sam Hodiak.
Hodiak is a clean-cut former World War II veteran that returns to California only to find the culture he once knew has been overtaken by the hippies, crime and racial unrest. In the midst of all of this self-discovery, a former lover asks him for help finding her daughter. She’s been taken in by a group of radical hippies led by none other than Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony).
“Hodiak does not see him as murderer, for sure,” The 54-year-old actor tells TVLine. “He sees him as a punk, not even as a worthy adversary. He’s a pimp. He’s a con man. He’s manipulating very young women and young boys. Hodiak knows exactly what Manson is doing and how he’s doing it. It’s not a big mystery.”
The 54-year-old actor added that the real mystery on the show is what happens in history, something his character doesn’t see coming at all. To his credit, Duchovny has made a name for himself over the years with his sardonic wit embodied by Fox Mulder in “X-Files” and perfected by Hank Moody during his 7-season run on Showtime’s “Californication.”
While the actor isn’t necessarily expanding his character repertoire, Deadline notes that his leading-man glibness leans perfectly into his character’s role as a no nonsense, fish out of water jerk that’s just looking to put bad guys away. Hopefully he doesn’t grow to dislike the detective getup as he’ll be reprising his role as the former alien hunting FBI agent when Fox brings “X-Files” back for a limited run series next year.
Still, as Variety points out, the show will not just be a vehicle for Duchovny to do what he does best. "Aquarius" will try to capture what helped make “Mad Men” so popular by never shying away from the horrible prejudices that were deemed acceptable at the time. Things like having anti-gay, anti-black and misogynistic tendencies being portrayed as normal. It will be interesting for fans to see the leading man navigate this minefield of political correctness and come out a “good guy” on the other end.
Duchovny fans can tune in to the “Aquarius” two-hour premiere on Thursday, May 28, at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.