A Veteran Actor Finds a Home in 'Eureka'

Dressed in well-worn overalls and carrying a greasy rag, Henry Deacon appears to be a typical garage mechanic. However, when he is not tinkering with car engines, you might find this former NASA engineer manipulating sub-atomic particles or more than likely trying to help save Eureka from yet another mishap caused by one of the town’s other resident geniuses.

Early on in the show’s first season, this technological Jack of all trades was reunited with his one-time lover and fellow scientist Kim Anderson, who was later tragically, and mysteriously, killed while conducting an experiment at Global Dynamics. Returning to his old job at GD, Henry mistakenly allowed his heart and not his head to rule his actions where Kim was concerned. That ultimately led to some personal as well as professional troubles as actor Joe Morton, who plays the affable Henry, recalls.

“My character’s story arc last year on the show was mainly about trying to find out who was responsible for Kim’s [Tamlyn Tomita] death,” says Morton, “and if you remember, it wound up being Beverly Barlowe [Debrah Farentino]. Of course, Henry went after her and in the process discovered she was involved with an organization called The Consortium. At the end of the second season finale ["A Night at Global Dynamics"] Henry whisked Beverly away into the ether if you will, and at the same time saved Allison Blake’s [Salli Whitfield-Richardson ] son. However, in order to do all this, Henry had to put GD in great jeopardy, which landed him in jail.”

When season three of Eureka debuted this past July, Henry was still behind bars. However, thanks to Eva Thorne (Francis Fisher), a corporate “fixer” sent to Eureka to help turn a profit from its various scientific discoveries, he was granted a pardon in the second episode, "What About Bob?" Not long after, Henry was back to giving GD the benefit of his seemingly limitless talents. Morton could not have been happier to slip back into his character’s familiar overalls.

“Acting-wise, it’s always exciting to come back for a third season of any TV show that you’re working on,” enthuses the actor. “For me, the big question was whether or not, or should I say how quickly, Henry would be getting out of jail, or even if that would be possible. Happily, we resolved that dilemma, and stepping back into the Henry role has been a joy. This is a character that has all sorts of possibilities thanks to his many skills. For the most part, Henry has been the go-to guy when it comes to the science for the show, and that, in general, has been a great deal of fun for me in terms of the research.

“Aside from the fact that Henry is a genius, he’s also the kind of person who, when passionate about something, will really push the envelope to make it happen. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about playing this character.”

Henry was the first person who U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) and his teenage daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) met after they were inadvertently stranded in Eureka during the show’s pilot episode. When Carter was reassigned as the town’s new sheriff, he and Henry not only became fast friends, but also quite an effective team insofar as investigating and resolving some of Eureka’s most puzzling of conundrums. In the first season ender, "Once In a Lifetime", Carter travels back in time to stop his friend from saving Kim’s life and changing the existing timeline. This creates a bit of a rift in their friendship, but as often the case in life, time heals most wounds.

“I think all is mended between Carter and Henry, and especially after the first couple of episodes this year, any issues that both characters needed to get through have been resolved and they remain best of friends,” notes Morton.

“I have to add, too, that I especially enjoy when Colin and I are working together. There are a few scenes early on this season where Henry and Carter are dealing with particular problems that simultaneously border on drama as well as comedy, and those were fun to do.”

The actor expresses similar kudos towards Eureka newcomer Francis Fisher, who portrays the enigmatic Eva Thorne. “Francis is such a gifted actress and we like being on-camera with each other,” he says. “For a while there was a possibility that my character and Eva would get a little closer, but that didn’t quite pan out. Still it was a pleasure having Francis on the series and she’s going to be missed at the end of these first eight episodes. And I say that only because that’s when her contract is up. Whether or not they’ve extended it, I don’t know.”

Over four million viewers watched Eureka’s premiere in the summer of 2006, making it the top-rated cable program for the night and the highest-rated series launch in the Sci FI Channel’s 14-year history. The show’s popularity continued in its second year, and again this season. Back in July, Morton and some of his fellow cast mates experienced firsthand just how much audiences appreciate the show when they appeared at San Diego’s annual Comic Con.

“That was so heartwarming,” says the actor. “We sat on a panel in front of 4,500 fans who clearly love the show, which is always nice. I think most of us get the occasional person on the street who stops you and says, ‘I really enjoy the show,’ which is greatly appreciated, too. However, it’s a very different thing when you have a collective of people in front of you and they’re all expressing in unison how much they like the program.”

Having enjoyed a much-deserved respite in August, Eureka’s cast and crew returned to the show’s Vancouver set this month to continue work on the third season. Prior to their summer break, they filmed the mid-year finale, "From Fear to Eternity", which, among other things, sheds some much-needed light on Eva Thorne.

“There has been an ongoing story line this season involving Frances’ character of Eva, who’s been hiding something,” explains Morton. “We’ve been hinting at what it might be without giving too much away, and that comes to a head in this episode. There are bodies involved and Henry needs to do some autopsies, which leads our characters to make yet another discovery.”

As for what lies ahead for Henry in the back portion of season three, it is as much a mystery to Morton as it is to those watching. “I don’t think the show’s writers are totally clear yet as to where he’s headed this year or what’s going to happen to him, so subsequently neither am I,” says the actor. “These first eight episodes have really been about re-establishing the characters and, as I already mentioned, the story line with Eva Thorne, along with answering the question of whether or not Allison and Nathan Stark [Ed Quinn] would get remarried. If Henry is to face a challenge this year it probably won’t happen until later on, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the immediate future holds for him.”

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