American Crime inspires enthusiastic devotion and loyalty from its fans. But the critically acclaimed ABC drama, which will air its second season finale tonight at 9, inspires the same from its cast.
"I know this much," says co-star and Richardson resident Brent Anderson. "Everybody absolutely loves working with [show creator] John Ridley and Michael McDonald and the whole crew and the whole team. ... I'm just amazed watching each episode."
Anderson plays Curt Tanner. One of Tanner's sons is accused in a rape case that rocks a Midwestern town -- and all of the families involved -- sometimes in some unforeseen ways. His character, perhaps the most sympathetic and even-keeled, is looked at that way because "Curt has an agenda to take care of his family, and that's it."
Anderson, a father of two, can relate.
"That's one of the most interesting things," he says. "I feel like as I get older, acting gets ... less difficult because there's so much more to draw on. It's every parent's nightmare to find out your child is involved in something this terrible."
The stellar cast, stacked like an NBA All-Star team, doesn't hurt.
The household names include Regina King, a first-time Emmy winner for her role in the first season of the anthology series; Timothy Hutton; Felicity Huffman; and Lili Taylor.
"They're all just incredibly awesome people, very giving," Anderson says. "When you're working on material that's this strong, everybody's happy."
Rather than reprise their roles, the actors get to dive deep into a different character for each iteration of the series. That's nothing new for Anderson, who is a journeyman actor with a resume that stretches from Universal Soldier: The Return to American Crime.
Acting may be his "number one thing," but he's also comfortable behind the scenes. He's been steadily working since he graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in theater after which he started a production company. He's also president of the local SAG-AFTRA chapter and has a film in next month's Dallas International Film Festival.
He's especially proud that this was a Texas production. The show was shot in Austin.
"[Show creator John Ridley] was telling me that he was so impressed with the talent in Texas, fantastic actors from Texas who bring it every episode," says Anderson, and rattles off a list. "I have so much pride as a Texan to see my fellow Texas actors doing so well in the show. And it elevates everybody's performances."
He's proud to be in that number, too, specifically as a North Texan still repping his high school.
"Viking Fight never dies," he says, still cheering on Lamar High School in Arlington. "Go Vikes."