By Patra Taylor
Actor/Director Terry Serpico enjoys continued success in the South.
Die hard fans of “Army Wives” remember him as Maj. Frank Sherwood. Throughout the hit cable series that aired on Lifetime (2007–2013), Terry Serpico’s portrayal of the career military officer embroiled in a tumultuous relationship with his wife (played by Catherine Bell) helped carry the shows plot through seven seasons of this popular drama series. The veteran actor with a lengthy list of professional credits was a natural to play the role of the buttoned-down Sherwood.
“My father was a 26-year army officer who retired a full bird colonel,” states Serpico, who grew up on bases across the country and Germany. “There’s no doubt about it…my father has always influenced my military-type roles. When I was lucky enough to land the role of Maj. Sherwood, I felt very fortunate that I was able to basically just play my dad.”
When “Army Wives” wrapped in 2013, the production office locked its doors and the actors and crew moved on to other projects. But Serpico stayed. His decision to move south from the Big Apple where he’d spent over twenty years pursuing his acting career and permanently relocate to the Charleston area was based on two major factors: First, he was involved in a relationship with actress (and local resident) Tuesday Beebe, whom he met on the set of “Army Wives;” and secondly, Serpico knew that the latest advancements in technology gave him a global presence no matter where he was physically. That meant he could respond to requests from casting directors in the two major markets of New York and Los Angeles anytime, day or night, without leaving the comfort of the couple’s living room. Today, their main living space features a mini-set equipped with professional stage lighting and a hi-res digital camera, allowing the couple to produce an audition tape and email to an eager casting director in record time. In fact, when demand is high, it’s not unusual for them to respond to four or five casting requests a day, and still have time for a nice dinner out on the town.
While the process can be fun and efficient, the ease of submitting quality auditions in the digital age increases the competition for any given role. “There used to be about 500 submissions for one acting position,” says the actor. “Now there’s about 1800, from which the casting director picks about 30 to forward to a producer or network.”
Serpico began his acting career playing the role of Snoopy in a high school production of “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.” “I was a three-sport-a-year athlete,” says Serpico regarding his youth. “If there was a ball, I’d chase it. So during the show when I jumped up on top of the doghouse and started singing, even my mother was shocked.”
Fortunately for Serpico, his roles have gotten increasingly better through the years. They include his 2001 portrayal of Officer Bolton in Ridley Scott’s crime drama, “Hannibal;” playing FBI Agent Lewis in “The Interpreter” directed by Sydney Pollack in 2005; and his recurring role as Cousin Eddie in “Rescue Me,” a TV series that ran from 2005-2010, to name a few.
In 2006, Serpico earned a credit for his role as “Detective #2 Tailing Queenan,” in “The Departed.” “That was the third time I’d worked with director Martin Scorsese,” states Serpico. “As I recall, that was a stunt contract for me.”
One of Serpico’s most memorable roles was his portrayal of Mr. Iker in the 2007 drama/thriller “Michael Clayton,” starring George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. Serpico refers to the scene where Mr. Iker murders Arthur Edens (played by Tom Wilkinson) as “a piece of choreography” that sprang from the mind of director, Tony Gilroy. “The scene had a creepy quality to it,” recalls Serpico. “He wanted me to be very detached, very dispassionate about what I was doing. And that’s what people remark most often about…just how creepy it was.”
More recently, Serpico starred as Mitch Ohlmeyer in 44 episodes of “The Inspectors,” a TV drama series inspired by real cases handled by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Serpico has also begun racking up director credits for his work on this series that airs on CBS. April of 2017 has Terry busy with roles on the ABC hit series, “Designated Survivor” and the much anticipated CBS series, “Star Trek: Discovery.” He then returns to Charleston to join Tuesday Beebe for their roles in “Mr. Mercedes,” a 10 part series based on Stephen King’s trilogy.
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