Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN - Season 1 | ©2019 ABC/Matthias Clamer

Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN – Season 1 | ©2019 ABC/Matthias Clamer

“Stumptown” is a nickname for Portland, Oregon, coined from the city’s origins as a logging camp. STUMPTOWN is also a title for ABC’s freshman Wednesday-night series about newly-licensed private eye Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) and the people in her life. Portland P.D. homicide detective Miles Hoffman, played by Michael Ealy, has hooked up with Dex on and off throughout the season, both professionally and personally. Since Dex is in denial of her feelings for her friend, bar owner and ex-con Grwy (Jake Johnston), this further complicates things with Miles.

Having spoken with actor Ealy at the beginning of STUMPTOWN’s run, we circle back for an update.

ASSIGNMENT X: How much of STUMPTOWN had you shot at the time we last spoke?

MICHAEL EALY: At the last TCA, we had only shot the pilot, and I think the day after is when we started shooting the second episode.

AX: How much have you gone back to Portland since then?

EALY: As a production? We have not gone back to Portland. We’re an L.A. show, set in Portland. And what we’re supposed to be doing is more exterior work up there once we get a little bit more budget [laughs].

AX: We’ve had glimpses into other characters’ pasts. Are we going to see any of Hoffman’s secrets?

EALY: Oh, yeah. We meet his parents. And then there’s some other stuff that happens. So some of this stuff comes out about his past.

AX: Can you say who’s playing Hoffman’s parents?

EALY: Steven Wright and Denise Dowse.

AX: How do you think Hoffman feels about Grey?

EALY: That’s a good question, actually. I think there was Episode 8 or 9 was the first time he ever questioned Dex about her relationship with Grey.

AX: Also, just in terms of Hoffman being suspicious of Grey being an ex-con and knowing that Grey worked with a criminal that Hoffman has a particular dislike for …

EALY: I can just say that Hoffman and Grey start working together. And it’s one of those things where Hoffman kind of uses Grey’s background to his advantage, and at the same time, starts to gain a certain amount of respect for him as they work together.

Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN - Season 1 - "Rip City Dicks" | ©2019 ABC/Jessica Brooks

Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN – Season 1 – “Rip City Dicks” | ©2019 ABC/Jessica Brooks

AX: As far as Dex goes, how seriously does he take Grey’s relationship with her? How seriously does Hoffman take his own relationship with Dex?

EALY: Jake and I have talked about this numerous times. I don’t think either one of us feels like we’re treading on anybody’s territory. I think there’s a mutual understanding that Dex is not normal, and that’s what’s dope about her, but at the same time frustrating. And ironically, Hoffman at this point has never asked Grey if he and Dex have ever been together. And I think part of that is Hoffman’s kind of arrogance and just kind of like, “It doesn’t matter,” you know what I mean? [laughs] To Hoffman, it doesn’t matter if she had slept with Grey or not. So it’s not a big deal. But Grey is kind of supportive of Dex and Hoffman, and Grey – he had [a girlfriend] Liz for awhile, and he might get another girlfriend. He’s kind of moving around. So everybody’s kind of moving in their different directions.

AX: Camryn Manheim plays Hoffman’s lieutenant. How is it playing that relationship?

EALY: From the moment I found out she was my boss, I’ve had this bubbling feeling of excitement in my gut. She’s so much fun to work with, and whenever we’re in scenes together, I love the mutual respect that we have. We can be tough on each other, but if somebody messes with me, you’ve got to deal with her, and if somebody messes with her, you’ve got to deal with me. So it’s kind of a sibling relationship in that way. But she’s definitely my boss, and I do have to listen to her most of the time.

AX: What’s the STUMPTOWN scene you’ve enjoyed the most, and what’s the scene that’s been the most challenging?

EALY: The scene that I have enjoyed the most. That I was in, or that I have enjoyed the most?

AX: That you were in.

EALY: It would probably be the episode where Dex and I work together and kind of save Grey’s life, and we have a little beat on the back of a truck where she asks me to go easy on him. And it’s not a big scene, but there was so much understanding and trust, and having gone through what we just went through, there was something very beautiful about the simplicity and what was not being said in that scene, if that makes sense. In terms of the most challenging scene, I have a scene with my parents, and it’s a scene where you’re starting to see the dynamic of why Hoffman is the way he is. And that’s going to be probably my most challenging scene, because I have to bring so much to it that’s never been there before.

Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN - Season 1 | ©2019 ABC/Martin DeBoer

Michael Ealy is Detective Miles Hoffman in STUMPTOWN – Season 1 | ©2019 ABC/Martin DeBoer

AX: Do you have any other projects going on we should know about?

EALY: I have another movie coming out in October. It’s called FATALE, and it stars Hilary Swank, Mike Colter, and myself. It’s a thriller.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about the back part of STUMPTOWN Season 1?

EALY: I think we’re really finding our rhythm. I think we’re starting to define the show. I think the first couple episodes were good enough to grab the audience, but I do believe that if we finish strong, and it feels like so far we’re going to finish strong, if we can finish strong, and keep it up, I think we’ll grab the audience for the long term. I just got back from Hawaii, and everywhere I go, people are telling me how much they love the show. I think it has a little unique quality that’s kind of different. The tone is different.

AX: Well, STUMPTOWN sort of lets its characters be who they are more than most shows do.

EALY: A lot more than most shows, yeah.

This interview was conducting during ABC’s party for the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.

Related: Exclusive Interview with STUMPTOWN star Tantoo Cardinal on the new ABC detective series

Related: Exclusive Interview with STUMPTOWN star Michael Ealy on Season 1

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Article: Exclusive Interview with STUMPTOWN star Michael Ealy discussing the latter half of Season 1


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